How do you usually approach changes you want to make every new year? Do you find yourself making goals, and identifying your new years resolutions?
If so, I want to ask you this: How has that worked for you?
Think of last year's new years resolutions. Did you accomplish them? Did you memorize that chapter of Qur'an that you set out to do? Did you stick to your time management goals? Did you complete that book you started? Did you gossip less like you said you would? Did you eat healthier? Did you implement your daily morning zikr (supplications) like you wanted to do? Did you reach your fitness goals? Did you wake up for Tahajud/Qiyam atleast 2 times a week like you told yourself? Did you invest in that program that you said you would invest in?
Take a moment to really think about the goals you made at the beginning of this year, before you jump to do the same thing this new year! It is very easy for us to just keep doing what we are doing without reflecting on whether our choices are actually leading to any positive and real changes!
And many of us do this!
Every year, we get excited and make goals, and within a few months, we forget about these goals or our motivation to accomplish them decreases! But then when the new year comes around again, we do the same thing, thinking that "this time it will be different."
But the reality is, we won't get different results if we continue to do the same thing!
And research actually shows that new years resolutions do not last! Studies have shown that less than 10% of people actually keep their new years resolutions for more than a few months!
So what does this tell you?
Setting a goal is not enough! And our motivation at the beginning of each new year is not enough for us to see long term changes in our lives!
So what leads to true long term changes? What leads to you actually CONSISTENTLY doing what you set out to do? What contributes to you actually committing to your goals long after your motivation to do them has passed?
Throughout the years, asking these questions have been a big part of my work! As a psychologist, I love to evaluate and reflect deeply about what truly keeps us from implementing what we deeply want to change in our lives! I love to explore all the psychological and spiritual barriers that come between us and growing closer to God, following His commands, implementing His prescriptions for us, and doing what serves our holistic health, our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health!
I set out to answer questions like:
1. What leads us to abandoning the changes that we are desperately longing to make?
2. What keeps us from achieving our goals and implementing powerful habits that serve our spiritual, mental, and emotional health?
3. What keeps us in unhelpful cycles despite the efforts we put in to change them?
4. Why do we find ourselves making the same goals every year? What went wrong?
And here is what I have come to truly believe: We want changes without doing the inner work!
You see, it is very easy to set a goal. It is very easy to do something when we feel like it. Why? Because our nafs gets a share! When we have motivation and we are excited, we feel good, and our nafs gets something out of it! But the reality is, motivation passes, and there will come a time when our nafs won't always feel good, and then we are left with the reality of our heart, the truth of our claim, and what we wanted to achieve! And true change requires that we carry our hearts and walk towards our goal EVEN when we don't feel like it! So what does that require?
DOING THE INNER WORK! This entails the following:
1. Understanding Our Design (The role of our heart, nafs, mind, on our path to growth & positive changes!)
2. Tackling Psychological Barriers to the Growth, Goals, & Life We Envision for Ourselves!
3. Building the Muscle of Presence, Mindfulness, & Healthy Habits (EVEN WHEN WE DO NOT FEEL LIKE IT)
4. Doing what Nourishes our Heart, Soul, & Path to God, and NOT Just What Serves Our Nafs!
You see, making true transformative changes that leave you happier, more free, more peaceful, more productive, more empowered, more intentional, more authentic, and most importantly, closer to God, REQUIRES WORK!
And it is this truth that led to the development of my God & Me Psycho-Spiritual Transformation Program, a holistic, long term program designed through an Islamic psychological lens, to take you on a psychological and spiritual journey where you do the work that produces TRUE CHANGE!
Infact, everything I said about what inner work requires (4 points listed above) is what I incorporate (and more) in my God & Me Program! Because we cannot change without knowing our design, how God made us, and we cannot change without tackling our barriers and implementing new habits in our lives! True transformation requires hard work!
And we understand this when it comes to anything else in our lives! We understand that making money requires work, going on that vacation requires preparation and investment, getting that degree requires hard work, but then when it comes to our relationship with God, our spiritual growth, and our mental and emotional well-being, we think it should be easy, free, and shouldn't require much discomfort!
But this is the biggest lie we tell ourselves! And Shaytan (Satan) reinforces this lie every day!
But I am here to remind you of a truth you know deep down in your soul! And that is: nothing worth having comes easy!
And there is nothing more worth having or greater to attain in this world than an internal space (mind, heart, & soul) that is nourished, liberated, and empowered spiritually, mentally, and emotionally! For if our inner world is transformed, the way we interact with our outer world transforms as well, and that is what changes the health of homes, communities, and societies! And God reminds us of this in the Qur'an:
"...God does not change a condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." (13:11)
So it starts with you and me! It starts with how you and I care for our hearts! This work is what can transform our world!
So I urge you and remind my heart and yours of this: Do not let another year pass without taking steps to do this inner sacred work! Do not let another year pass only to find yourself making the same goals again! We are not even sure if we will be allowed to live another year!
Make the decision to invest in doing the work that matters today! I invite you to watch my FREE webinar on feeling more enough, whole, and nourished through transforming the 2 most important relationships in our lives: our relationship with God & with ourselves! In this webinar, I share with you 3 key steps from my God & Me Program that you can begin implementing today to start doing the inner work that truly matters and produces beautiful changes in our lives!
Click HERE to watch my FREE Webinar!
And don't delay! Let this be the year you stop just making resolutions and start doing the work that matters!
From my Heart to Yours,
Dr. Marwa Assar, PsyD
Want to get spiritually, mentally, & emotionally UNSTUCK?
Click below to learn more about my long term and holistic online psycho-spiritual transformation program!
This inner work matters. Start your heart-work today!
Click here to learn about my God & Me Psycho-Spiritual Transformation Program, a program designed to help you feel more ENOUGH, WHOLE, & NOURISHED, through your relationship with God and with yourself. In this program, I teach you my Heart Over Mind & Ego (H.O.M.E) Approach to Psycho-Spiritual Wellness and the tools you need to transform your your relationship with God and with yourself! This is a program that takes you on a psychological and spiritual journey in which you gain the knowledge and tools you need to lead with your heart and empower your spiritual, mental, and emotional wellness!
"Educating the Mind Without Educating the Heart, is No Education at All."
About the Author:
Dr. Marwa Assar is a psychologist, educator, and founder of The H.O.M.E
Institute. She is dedicated to providing psycho-spiritual education and empowerment through an Islamic psychological lens. Click here to learn more about Dr. Marwa and her work.