How to develop a positive mindset in 21 days

Hello and welcome to my blog! If you have been reading my blogs lately, you’d know that I was getting really tired and cranky because I’m fasting. That’s why it was really important to me to do this 21 day positive mindset challenge. As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed it.

We are going through tough times in general (I’m doing fine, thanks for asking) and the mind has the ability to overthink and go into negative rabbit holes of anxiety, depression and paranoia. So I tried this positive mindset challenge and I won’t say it transformed me into a rainbow and sunshine person, but it really helped me battle my inner demons (hopelessness and despair).

Here’s your guide of 21 days to a more positive mindset

Day 1

Practice smiling. Smile at strangers, in the mirror, smile whenever you can! You’ll feel so much more positive.

I hadn’t realized how much I had been using my poker face or frowning until I saw the challenge. It made me very aware of my facial expressions.

Day 2

Appreciate the little things today. Someone’s smile, the sunset, your morning coffee, the warmth of a sun ray, the sky.

I often do this from time to time but it was a great reminder to slow down and appreciate the details and I carried this practice with me throughout the whole challenge.

Day 3

Instead of thinking ‘my life is horrible’, think ‘things aren’t great at the moment, but this will pass. Better days are coming!’

I’ve beendoing this for some time through the gratitude app. Everyday, they send me a quote, a thought challenge a blog post, a gratitude story and an affirmation. However, I haven’t been able to tap into the application lately because I was busy so the thought challenge followed me here, thankfully!

Day 4

Rather than thinking of the horrible things that might happen, consider the great things that could come from your current situation.

I often fear worst case scenarios and panic. Sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel or to feel that things could actually get better. This was a nkce reminder of a more positive alternative future.

Day 5

Instead of saying ‘I give up’, say ‘this is hard but I’m going to keep trying’.

Consistency isn’t my strong suit (I fluctuate between extremes) but perseverance is what brought me far into my goals and it does pay off.

Day 6

Stop caring for what other people think. The thoughts of other people are not designed to make you happy and positive.

I wish I could actually implement this in my life. There is this part of me that always seeks approval because I have always felt like I did not fit in. Part of me wants to be liked and admired and valued. This was an important reminder that “I am therefore I have value” and not wait for others to validate me. It’s a work in progress.

Day 7

Instead of thinking ‘why is this happening to me?’, Think ‘ what is this teaching me?’

This is a very important teaching and I’ve heard it in many inspirational talks.

Day 8

Trust that better things are coming if you’re open to the possibilities.

Hope in a better future is vital for a healthy mind.

Day 9

Instead of thinking ‘I can’t do this’, think ‘I don’t know how to do this YET’.

I once read a blog post that said whenever you think that you can’t do something, add YET to the end of the sentence. It makes a big difference.

Day 10

Don’t compare yourself to anybody else today. It’s a total waste of time.

Deleting instagram for a week helped with that. I feel like instagram is the homeroom of comparisons. There’s a competition about who can make their life look more glamorous.

Day 11

Remember, even if you can’t control a certain situation, you can control your response.

Struggle if my life. This is a great reminder that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it. So respond rather than reacting.

Day 12

Meditate. This will help you with overthinking, lowers your stress and can help you to be more positive.

I was working on meditation from January until March of 2021, but I did neglect it a bit until I saw this reminder. I still don’t meditate daily because it’s nit in my bullet journal, but I do meditate occasionally and I am getting better at sitting still while I’m meditating.

Day 13

Practice positive self talk. You can use positive affirmations with your meditation.

My affirmations are:

I am strong

I am smart

I am kind

I am beautiful

I am confident

I am assertive

I am brave

I am loved

Day 14

Start or end your day writing your gratitude journal.

I wrote a gratitude log prior to ramadan. Remembering what I wrote was a great reminder.

Day 15

Surround yourself with people you love and who love you back.

I have my husband and son, and my siblings and parents. I also have a few good friends. What mire could I ask for?

Day 16

Listen to music. Music can have a positive effect on your health and day.

Day 17

Practice acceptance. Appreciate everything you have right now.

This was hard, because I’m propelled to try to change what I don’t like. Serenity prayer comes in handy here.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Day 18

Listen to an inspirational youtube video/podcast (like ‘The Happier Podcast’). Fill your brain with motivation.

Or the Happy Times Podcast by Joey Kidney. Or Kayln’s Coffee Talk by Kayln Nicholson. Or even The Science of Happiness or Pick the Brain Podcast. I actually watched inspirational YouTube videos for an hour or so.

Day 19

List 5 things that made you smile today.

  • Making crepes for my son
  • Seeing my son eat the crepes
  • Painting with my son
  • Making a banana cake
  • My son’s cousin hugging me

Day 20

Instead of saying ‘I failed’, say ‘Mistakes help me learn’.

Day 21

Limit social media time. Spend more time creating and working on yourself than consuming other people’s content.

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

How are your Ramadan/April goals going?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I hope you’re having a great month, week, day. If it’s not your day, your month, or even your year, that’s okay. You can always reset and make goals and go after them. For me, Ramadan is all about resetting my soul and reprioritizing my life. It’s about self discipline and spirituality. For my non Muslim readers, have you made goals for this month April?

Fun fact: My mom’s name was April Joy before she converted from being a catholic to being a Muslim at age 20. She was also born in April, so this is a special month for me.

As for my Ramadan goals, let’s see how I did in the 1st week of Ramadan:

I’m filling out a Ramadan plannar for the ibadat part of Ramadan. It’s going well. I love ticking boxes. It’s very motivating. Different prayers (duha, sunnah, tahajjud, witr, taraweeh) and quran (reading, tafseer, and al kahf). I added the planner to my dropbox if you want to check it out. I know we’re a week into ramadan but it’s not too late to make and implement goals if you haven’t already.

However, I never made a checklist for my other Ramadan goals.

As I said, I’m working on my ibadat (worship) goals, but I haven’t started on my household projects (I’m doing housework but not as much as I’d like). I can’t start the declutter challenge until I finish 1 challenge (I’m currently doing 4 other challenges and more would be overwhelming). As for the cooking challenge, I’m still cooking once a week because I’m eating at my in laws 4 days a week and once a week at my mom’s. So I guess the cooking challenge will have to wait until after Ramadan.

The kindness challenge also is waiting for me to finish one of the 4 challenges I’m currently doing. As for the box, I keep forgetting to ask my sister. Last year, my sister told me that supermarkets were selling boxes of food supplies and you could buy one and they’d send it to a poor family. I haven’t heard of such a thing this year. During these tough times, I really want to help, but 50,000 (the cost of a box of groceries last year) won’t cut it this year. Prices are 10 times more than they were last year. Anyway, if you’re reading this and you live in Lebanon and you know of a trusted places selling boxes of groceries for poor people, let me know please.

As for parenting, I’m not having the energy to spend time with my son. I barely do 1 activity a day with him. He is getting so bored. We worked on the Ramadan worksheet a week before ramadan, when he was excited because it was new, and then again yesterday he colored 1 page. I feel my son mirrors my moods and energy levels. As for him reading quraan, he is 6 so he can’t read, but yesterday I told him I’m going to start having him listen to one surah a day as a youtube video (there is a certain channel he likes called Learn with Zakaria). I’m also working on 3 other things with him but I’m keeping them low key, especially since I didn’t write them in the goals.

As for Islamic learning, I deleted the Ramadan legacy app because it wasn’t working. I used it last Ramadan alongside a plannar but this year I can’t. It’s fine though because my plannar is perfect for this year. I didn’t watch any tafseer videos until yesterday because animated tafseer videos came up and I love animated videos. They’re short, to the point, and stick in my head longer because of the animation. As for the book Nurturing Eeman in Children, I read 1 chapter before ramadan then didn’t anymore, basically because I haven’t been going on my laptop at all, except once to convert some blog posts into podcasts.

Last but not least, in the health aspect, I am currently doing the 21 day no junk food challenge and the 21 day home workout challenge, but I haven’t been going in the sun. I’m also doing the 21 day fix your sleep challenge and the 21 day positive mindset challenge, which also contribute to my health. So I guess week 1, my focus has been on ibadat and health.

Oh and I’m not watching any movies or tv shows, except that one time I rewatched The incredibles 2 with my son because I promised him. I’m also posting ramadan related/ ramadan themed content so I’m on track with that goal too.

Which challenge should I do next?

Kindness challenge

Declutter challenge

Let me know in the comments below. Please like and share with your friends and family to encourage them to make and implement goals.

How are your Ramadan/April goals going?

Transformation Tuesday: My Fitness Journey

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!

Today I’m going to talk about fitness. I don’t consider myself to be fit, yet, but I used to be.

Growing up, I started Tae Kwan Do classes at age 5. I started riding a bike at age 6. At age 8, I used to roller blade. I learned how to swim at age 10. I played Kickboxing from age 10 until 13. Then I started playing basketball at school. I even played soccer with my brothers. When I turned 15 years old, I started taking aerobics classes 3 times a week and swimming 3 times a week. This lasted for 5 years, until I fell and ripped the cartilage on both knees and I had to quit aerobics. I even went horseback riding throughout the summer before I hurt my knees.

I never went pro with any exercises, and I was a chocoholic, but I was fit.

However, my knee injury slowed my activities down, but I still went on long walks to compensate for the less activity, and I still went swimming but not as often.

Furthermore, when I got married, I gained 18 kgs during my pregnancy, and it took me a whole year to lose 10 kgs and another year to lose the other 8 kgs. Having a baby meant not being able to go to the gym for me. I still made many efforts in the past 6 years to go to the gym, even if it was once a week for a month.

My weight is still within the normal range but it goes up and down, because my lifestyle is now somewhat sedentary (stay at home mom life) and I eat a lot of junk food, especially since the pandemic began (it’s not even a good excuse anymore) and I don’t exercise as much as I want to.

Starting November 2020, I started making monthly goals, instead of new years resolutions, and I decided to reach my fitness goal step by step.

I noticed that when I plan to diet, I tend to crave sugar and carbs more (I think I’m addicted to sugar at this point). I’m supposed to be on a diabetic diet because I have pcos (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

So I decided to focus on activity. For a while I tried yoga because for a long time I hadn’t exercised (I went to the gym for a month 2 years ago back when my son was going to school).

So in November I made it my goal to exercise 4 times a week for 7 minutes each (I had been doing yoga/walking 3 times a week but not consistently).

I achieved the goal of 4 times a week

In December, I wanted to make sure I exercised consistently so I made a timetable to measure my progress.

I eventually achieved 90% by the 3rd week

In January, I made it one of my goals to exercise 5 days a week and I accomplished it 80% (I was more specific with my calculations and I didn’t give myself the last week break like I did in December).

In February, I decided to make less goals (9 goals in February instead of 20 in January, 20 in December and 27 in November) so I can focus more on said goals. My goal this month is to exercise 6 days a week for 7 minutes at a time. So far I’m exercising 5 days a week. I know it doesn’t sound like much for those fit people out there who walk 10,000 steps a day. I’m lucky if I get in 4,000 steps a day. My average is 2,000 steps. Once it’s spring season, I’ll be walking more and hopefully doing my 6,000 steps that I used to do in summer.

I want to be fit, but from experience, vigorous exercise and dieting doesn’t work for me. I need to get out of this sedentary lifestyle bit by bit, starting with exercising daily for 7 minutes and then hopefully making it to 2 or 3 workouts a day, walking being the 2nd workout and yoga being the 3rd.

Today is Tuesday, my least favorite day, because it’s abs day on the application I use. But in the spirit of transformational Tuesday, I got up and exercised, despite feeling lethargic.

What are your fitness goals?

Do you have a transformational Tuesday story you would like to share in the comments?

Repost: What is your purpose in life?

I remember when i was in school, one of our teachers handed us papers and asked us about our ultimate goal in life. I answered: To serve God by making a difference in the world. She told me: That’s not a real goal. You need to have a specific goal. You need to know everything […]

What is your purpose in life?

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! I wrote this post a while ago and I wanted to revisit it because I feel like lately I haven’t been living according to my purpose. I’ve been keeping myself busy, and making lists, but otherwise my mind is a mess (I can’t differientiate between my true self and my anxious and depressed thoughts).

I lost sight of my purpose, to motivate and inspire.

My friends must have felt it because they stopped reading my blogs. I felt it too because I struggled with topics to write about, not because topics wouldn’t come to mind. They would, but then the voice in my head would say “who are you to give parenting advice when you don’t know how to parent your own son, or your own self” and I have become a negative nellie.

I’m not sure how to make this knot in my heart go away, or how to convince myself not to freak out and blame myself everytime my husband seems unhappy. I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness, neither is anyone responsible for mine.

My mood shifts throughout the day so many times it’s hard to keep up. I’m not sure if it’s the people in my life who trigger my negative thoughts and feelings or if I just feed on chaos.

I will try to be gentle with myself but to avoid oversharing on the internet and until I get my head on right, I won’t be posting any more blogs until February 1st,when the lockdown is lifted.

I’ll be reading blogs and thinking a lot but I won’t be using this platform as a venting machine. I have a purpose to motivate and inspire so until I feel motivated and inspired, I can’t pour from an empty cup.

Feel free to read my posts, catch up if you’re not caught up, tell me which type of posts you liked the most and which you liked the least. Let me know how you are doing in the comments. I have come to care for my fellow bloggers and readers despite not knowing them.

I will come back stronger and ready to motivate you and inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

Repost: Transformation and Growth. How Does One Become a Butterfly?

Transformation and growth. How does one become a butterfly? “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly”. If one of your New Year resolutions is to pursue transformation and growth in order to become the best version of yourself, I invite you to study the life of a butterfly and […]

Transformation and Growth. How Does One Become a Butterfly?

One of my favorite bloggers. Very inspirational. A must read post. Check out her blog. She is the author I aspire to be.

Let’s talk about self-discipline

I once read that discipline is what gets you through when you don’t want to do what you know you have to do. I was talking about it to my son this morning.

He is 5 years old, but acts just like a teenager. He didn’t want to go to school today. I went to a lot of trouble to get him out of bed, and it was a miracle we still arrived at school on time, especially in this storm (there’s been a storm since Monday) and I found myself telling him (in an effort to get him to stop moping), that I’m proud of him for going to school even when he doesn’t want to. I told him it’s just like when my muscles are all tense and I know I need to exercise but I don’t feel like it, and I exercise anyway (this doesn’t happen often but I used the example nevertheless).

So I told him “It’s called discipline” because you don’t want to go to school but you’re going because you need to learn new things. I just wish I was more disciplined with my exercising. I’m trying though…

Success starts with self discipline

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So how to become more disciplined?

One way is to participate in challenges. Fitness challenge, kindness challenge, etc… Whatever it is you feel you are lacking discipline in. I’ve tried this before but it doesn’t always work. It worked for fitness challenge and gratitude challenge but not for acts of kindness challenge.

Another way is to set clear goals and make an action plan. I have been making monthly goals since November 2020 so it’s too early to say if it’s working.

What do you do to stay disciplined?