Episode 12: How to Strive Towards a Life of Excellence After Ramadan

Transcript

How to Strive Towards a Life of Excellence After Ramadan 

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu, 

Welcome to the Best Versions Podcast, where I help you unlock your fullest potential to move from average to excellence in Worship, Energy, Love and Legacy.  

I’m your Host, Rushdhi Ismail. A computer engineer turned nutrition and life coach. I will use my experience of over 25 years in the personal and spiritual development field to provide you with practical tools to move from average to excellence, bi’idnillah

On that note, I have something very special to talk about today. 

Today we are going to discuss how to strive towards excellence after Ramadan. 

My focus is on helping you continue your journey from average to excellence after an entire month of fasting. 

The training we received in Ramadan shouldn’t go to waste. Allah subuhanawuta’la gave us an excellent opportunity to train our souls and achieve taqwa in Ramadan so that we can spend the next 11 months in a better spiritual shape.

The goal of this yearly training camp is that we become better than last year. When the next Ramadan comes, we should aim to be even better than today. 

With each passing Ramadan, we want to make sure that we better ourselves every year. We want to achieve the best Ramadan ever, every year, bi’idnillah

We tried hard to reach the best Ramadan ever this year. When the next year comes, we want to make sure that we improve it even better than this year. The goal is constant improvement until our last Ramadan in this world is our very best Ramadan ever. 

Now here is the thing. If we genuinely want to make our next Ramadan the best ever, then we need to start working on it from today. 

We need to evaluate our victories and failures. 

  • What did I do well? 
  • What went wrong? 
  • What do I need to improve?

Once we complete our evaluation, then we want to look at our victories and strive to make them even better and look at our failures and learn from them to improve our lives. 

And that’s what we are going to do today. 

As usual, we’ll use our WELL framework to achieve that. As you can probably remember, WELL stands for Worship, Energy, Love and Legacy. These are four major areas of a Muslim’s life.

We want to look at these areas and see where we did well and where we need to improve. And then set new goals to continue our life after Ramadan. 

I set goals for myself before and after Ramadan. After Ramadan, I sit with my Ramadan goals and assess them so that I can learn from my achievements and mistakes and continue to improve my life beyond Ramadan. 

That’s how we can go from average to excellence in our life. 

Imagine a world-class athlete. What do they do after their achievements? Do they just settle down and say, “Oh, I’ve achieved everything in my life, and I don’t need to exert any more hard work”? 

Or will they continue working hard to win even more competitions until they become the best ever in that particular sport? 

Likewise, when they lose a game, do they simply give up and not continue working hard or will they learn from their mistakes and work harder to become better at the next competition? 

I guess you know the answer, right? 

Regardless of how your fasting went, don’t give up. Plan to make the next Ramadan the best ever in your life. And start working to achieve it from today! 

As Muslims who want to constantly move from average to excellence, we don’t want to settle down with just one Ramadan. 

So let’s begin with our soul-searching with worship. 

Worship 

Ok, let’s always start with positivity. In terms of worship, what did you do really well in this Ramdan?

Perhaps you recited more Quran, prayed more Sunnah prayers, asked lots of forgiveness etc. 

Great, I want you to take a piece of paper and write it down. Write down everything that went well in worship. 

Now ask the second question, what went wrong? What are the things that didn’t go well as you planned? 

Perhaps you wanted to give a certain amount of charity, and you didn’t achieve it. Or you tried to recite more Quran but didn’t come closer to your goal. 

Write down everything that comes to your mind under this question. It’s important to be frank with yourself. If you can’t accept your mistakes, you can’t improve yourself. It’s that simple. 

The goal isn’t to kick yourself for your blunders or to publicise your mistakes; rather, it’s for your own reflection. 

Ok, great, now, let’s move on to the third question. What do I need to improve? 

Think about it. Write down everything that comes to your mind that you want to improve in your worship. Let’s say your goal was to pray taraweeh every day, and you also achieved it. But you feel now that your kushu, i.e. your mindfulness in your prayer, wasn’t good. 

So you can write all these things that you consider to improve under this question. 

I hope it’s pretty straightforward. 

After this assessment, you must take some action to improve your life. And that’s done through setting some new goals. 

Write at least one thing to practice after Ramadan so that when you enter into the next Ramadan, you are spiritually in a better shape than the last Ramadan. 

As I said before, it’s about continuous improvement.

So what one thing can you add to your list of worship?

Choose an activity you’ve been neglecting all these years but wanted to include in your daily routine. 

Perhaps you wanted to pray tahajjud regularly, be in the state of wudhu all the time, recite more Quran, or be more charitable. 

Whatever that is, please choose at least one thing and put it in writing. 

Now whatever you choose, it’s essential to make it 

  • specific, 
  • small and 
  • timebound. 

Let’s say you want to recite more Quran. Don’t just write, “I want to recite more Quran” as a goal. 

When you say, “I want to recite two pages every day”, that’s being specific. 

And then make it small. “I want to recite ten pages” is a great goal, but the chances are high that you won’t be consistent with it. 

When you set goals, it’s essential to start small so that you can be consistent. Your consistency will, insha Allah, help you expand the size of your goals soon.

Once the goal is specific and small, then decide and write down when and where you will practice that habit.   

For example, “I want to recite two pages of the Quran every day after Fajr.” 

That’s a goal that is specific, small and timebound. You’ve defined what you do, how you do and when you do it. Once that decision is precise, the chances are very high that you’ll continue this habit, bi’idnillah

Ok, let’s now turn to our second leg of the WELL framework, i.e. energy. 

Energy 

I have my own equation for energy. I say energy = eat, move, sleep, pray, breathe and be present. These six elements will energise your body, soul and mind. 

Yes, it’s not just about physical energy. Rather it’s about physical, mental and spiritual energy. 

The synergy of these elements will insha Allah help you close the gap between who you are and who you truly want to become. 

In fact, energy is the vehicle towards your best version. If you are fully energised, you can achieve anything you want faster and better. 

Now, go through the same questions you went through in worship. 

  • What did I do well? 
  • What went wrong? 
  • What do I need to improve?

Looking at my own goals, I wanted to exercise every day during Ramadan. That is my usual routine in Ramadan. However, this Ramadan, I wasn’t as regular as I wanted to be. 

So one of my new goals after Ramadan is to focus more on my exercise routine. 

Now to you. What’s one thing you want to implement that will help to improve your energy after Ramadan? 

  • Exercise more regularly?
  • Sleep on time?
  • Eat healthier? 

Pen it down! 

Again be very specific. It’s important to start small, and as I said, your consistency will lead to progress and even bigger results. 

That’s because good habits beget good habits. For instance, when you start to exercise regularly, you’ll automatically pay attention to what you eat and drink. Once you pay attention to what you eat, you’ll begin to feel more energised and will have more energy and confidence in life. And those things will open up many incredible things in life.

Perhaps, I should mention my own story here. I was once overweight and wanted to lose weight all my life. That journey of losing weight took me to so many places. Alhamdulillah, eventually, I became a nutrition and life coach and right now doing this podcast to help people move from average to excellence. 

Alhamdulillah, as you see, one good habit will lead you to another good habit, and that chain reaction will have an amazing impact on your life. 

Great, let’s see what we can do in

Love

Love is about your relationship with your family. 

I hope you’ve spent some quality time with your loved ones this Ramadan. You would have eaten your meals with them, prayed in the congregation and gotten closer.

After Ramadan, what is one thing you would like to continue doing with your family? The goal is to increase the love and bond amongst you. 

That one thing doesn’t need to be grandiose. It’s not the size that matters; it’s about the consistency. 

So what is the one thing you want to improve in your relationship with your family? 

As you know, the goal of fasting in Ramadan is to achieve taqwa. That is, we want to become God-conscious. We want to become mindful of what we do in our life. 

And that mindfulness of Allah subuhanawuta’la helps us become better in every area of our lives. All the worship we do enables us to become better human beings. If our ibadah isn’t improving our character, then there is something wrong with the way we conduct our worship. We need to reexamine our worship. 

Ask yourself whether your ibadah in Ramadan has improved your character, and how would you like to polish your character after Ramadan? 

Once you’ve specified what you would like to do in love, and then we can talk about

Legacy 

What would you like to leave behind when you leave this world? 

Legacy is about the goodness you leave behind when you leave this world. So it is about your character, how you treat others, your contributions to your family and society, and your achievements, which impact the world positively. That’s the legacy we are talking about.

So in that sense, legacy is the goodness you leave behind when you leave this world.

So, when working on our legacy, our goal should be to work on things that will, insha Allah, benefit us long after our death.

One of the scholars of the past said, “the luckiest of us is the one who reaps the rewards even after death. On the other hand, the unluckiest of us is the one who reaps sins even after death.” 

May Allah subuhanawuta’la protect us from such misfortune. 

To leave behind something, you need first to live that life. How are you going to live that life?

What one thing you could start doing today to leave a positive impact on your life? 

Put that thing from pen to paper. 

That is a small step towards a meaningful life. 

I pray to Allah to assist you in achieving your goals and help you live a life of excellence. 

That’s all from me for today. 

If you want to read the transcript of this podcast, you can find it at https://bestversions.me/podcasts/12 

Thanks so very much for listening to my podcast. I sincerely pray that this episode helps you go from average to excellence in worship, energy, love and legacy. 

And last but not least, please subscribe to my podcast, and share the podcast with your family and friends. I’m confident you can make a difference in others’ lives by sharing this information with them.

Until we meet in the next episode insha Allah next Friday, I pray that Allah subuhanawuta’la showers his choicest blessings on you and your family. 

Love you all! 

And let me end the podcast with the greetings of Jannah, Asssalamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu.