Good intentions followed by making it a habit equal’s good action – simple. It really is, or so it should be. See the recipe below:
1) One Whole Sincere Intention
2) Bite Size Good Wholesome Actions (to start with)
3) An Ounce of Planning
5) Plenty of Perseverance/Persistence
6) A Ton of Patience
7) Big Smile
1) Start by making your intention – to become a better person and a servant of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Remember actions are judged by intention.
2) Choose a bite size action (*Note your list is relevant to you, your lifestyle and current habits. You could choose for example, waking up 15 minutes before Fajr to perform 2 rakats of Tahajjud prayer).
3) Take your bite size good action and work out a simple easy to follow plan. (If we take the above example, you may need an alarm clock, a family member, a friend, your spouse etc. to help wake you up)
4) Add implementation to your mixture of ‘good action’ and ‘planning’. In other words FOLLOW THROUGH!…daily!
Our Prophet Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) told us that the deeds most loved by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) are those that are done regularly even though they may be few. [Bukhari]
5) Persevere with the mixture. It might be tough to stick to it daily, but you MUST persist. Perseverance and persistence is key to this recipe. It takes 3 weeks to form a habit. (*Note leaving this ingredient out will be very harmful to the success of your habit materialising).
6) Depending on how strong willed and patient you are as an individual, you will most likely need to add a ton of patience to the mixture.
Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to Ashajj ‘Abdu’l-Qays, “You have two qualities which Allah loves: forbearance and steadiness.” [Muslim]
7) Finally add a big smile…..literally. This attempt of yours does not automatically give you permission to be grumpy. You might be trying this recipe out for the first time, possibly in secret (just you and Allah knowing about it), it’s important then that you maintain a smile at the beginning, throughout the process and long after it has been accomplished.
The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Do not abuse anyone, do not look down upon any good work, and when you speak to your brother, show him a cheerful face.” [Sunan of Abu-Dawood]
8) Pat yourself on the back, treat yourself and start again…with a different good habit of course.
If you follow this, it works out that in one year, you’ll acquire 17 new habits you didn’t have before! If you do 2 habits at a time, that’s 34 habits a year! SubhanAllah.