How to Start the New Year Strong
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How Muslims Can Start the New Year Off Strong

If you’re wondering these days about how to start the new year strong, hold on. Take a deep breath, and lean into this conversation with me because you don’t want to repeat the same broken patterns again for this upcoming year.

The reason why you need to pause is that you’ve made that same list before. It’s not like you’re going to write something entirely different or new. Most probably, you’re going to write the same exact list with different words. 

And, you don’t want to do that of course, right? You’re already sick of trying over and over again, feeling like you’re playing a losing game. 

But here’s the thing: You’re fighting the wrong battle. 

Yes, even though your list seems perfectly curated, it’s always filled with so much junk that ultimately distracts you from the real tasks that matter to you — the ones that you really should be focusing on.

And this is exactly why we’re tapping into this matter together. 

In this post, you’ll discover how to start the new year strong so that you can finally feel that you’re living your life with a definitive purpose and that your actions are aligned with it. 

But before we start, hold that thread because it’s going to help you make it to the finishing line:

As a Muslim, you can have the best of both worlds, this life and the next one.

You can fulfill all your worldly dreams, hustle and bustle, have fun, and make memories with your loved ones without compromising your relationship with Allah. 

Because the truth is, you can do both. And when you do, you’ll start to realize how it’s like to have a fulfilling life.

You’ll feel Allah’s presence around you, guarding you, calming you, and pushing you to the best version of yourself while still not missing out on the little things that matter to you in this life. 

Start the New Year Strong
Unsplash, Nicola Fioravanti

How You Can Start Off the New Year Strong as a Muslim

1. Get Clear on What Matters to You

As you’re reading right now, you’re mindful of the fact that you want to have the best of both worlds. You know that you have things that should be done for your life here and things for your hereafter, and you’d like to be clear on all of them. 

And because you really want to start off the year strong, grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started. 

Step 1: Divide your paper into two columns

The first is for your duties toward Allah and the other is for your worldly aspirations.

Step 2: write down your duties and aspirations 

Make sure you write them in bullet points so you can skim through them quickly as much as you want without taking so much time on them.

Step 3: Order the bullet points in each column (separately)

You want to start from the most important point to the least important one.

Step 4: Make a note of why you organized your duties and aspirations the way you did 

In other words, what makes the first point the most important, and why is the last one the least important for you? (This will help you get clear on what you believe to be your core mission and vision.)

Step 5: Reorganize your worldly aspirations’ column as follows: 

  1. The “Do-or-Die” List
  2. The “Want-to” List
  3. The “Maybe? Why Not?” List

Step 6: Put the last list aside 

These are distracting thoughts right now. You need to have one and only one end in mind. 

Step 7: Question your second list

Does it serve your top list? Or is it going to distract you from giving that top list your full attention? In most cases, you’ll find that it doesn’t serve the top list. So you need to set it aside as well for now. 

Step 8: Combine your top list with your duties’ column

You want to be realistic here. You have 24 hours a day. So you need to fulfill your do-or-die aspirations while still fulfilling your duties toward your creator. 

Step 9: In a separate sheet of paper, Create an action plan

And by saying an action plan, I mean one that’s based on small, consistent, daily steps. You don’t want to start your year with huge leaps and fall apart later.

In fact, great transformations happen with the little habits that a person adds as they move slowly, yet steadily, toward their desired results. (Remember, slow and steady wins the race.)

So here, you essentially want to ditch perfectionism and just focus on the little actionable steps that won’t burn you out while still making you hit the bullseye when all the good little habits are firmly established. 

Remember, 1% per day is 365% by the end of your upcoming year — which is an incredible amount of achievement in a single year.

2. Hang a Vision Board on Your Wall

Not to ruin the aesthetics in your room, but since you want to learn how to start your new year strong, you need to see the plan that you just made every day the first thing before you do anything.

And this is something that we mostly don’t pay attention to. A lot of people write down their new year resolutions, plans, and aspirations, and then forget about them completely. 

Why? Because they close their notes, put them on the shelf, and forget that they even wrote anything in the first place — which you don’t want to do as someone eager to start off the new year strong.

So you want to wake up in the morning, thank Allah for blessing you with another day, and look at your vision board. That way, your brain will start to process the idea that you have a plan that’s going to be put into action over the day. 

3. Plan Ahead for Pitfalls

Now a lot of people skip this step, but it’s essential that you know what you can expect so that you get prepared, right?

So what you want to do in this step is that you want to look at each point on your vision board and ask yourself one simple question:

How can I mess this up? 

The reason why you would want to know how you can mess it up is that you will mess it up. It’s just human nature. Nobody’s perfect. So you want to know the temptations that if you submit to, you’ll screw everything up.

For one, you need to be mindful of the fact that you’re one-step-being-screwed away from entirely falling off track. 

And that’s exactly what happens every year. Once you screw one thing, it causes this domino effect where everything else just falls apart automatically, one right after the other. 

So you want to think ahead about the exact steps that you can take to mess each point up. That way, you’ll become aware on a conscious level of the steps that you should avoid so that you won’t form the same pattern that ruins everything for you every time.

Because just as success depends on building little habits, failure also depends on building little habits. The only difference is that the former relies on good habits, whereas the latter relies on bad ones.

So, your goal for this upcoming year is to prevent little bad habits from sneaking into your life as much as you can by focusing on what truly matters to you — your duties toward God and your do-or-die aspirations.

Start the New Year Strong
Unsplash, Isaac Smith

The Bottom Line On How to Start the New Year Strong

Starting off the new year strong can be an extreme sport for many people. It gives them an overdose of epiphany and ecstasy that eventually leaves them drained and depleted for the rest of the year. 

And it’s almost a vicious loop that draws them in every single time, hoping that they’ll get different results from it.

But you’re different. 

You now know exactly how to start the new year strong in a way that’s going to keep you fulfilled for the rest of the year and beyond. 

Because it’s applicable in any year, on any day, at any time.  

You also know the exact steps that you need to take so that you can get clear on what matters to you, create a robust vision board, and plan for any unexpected and unwelcomed setbacks. 

Remember, it’s now or never.

So if you haven’t gone through the steps yet, take five minutes to do your future self a favor by committing to nurturing yourself so that you can become who you truly want to be as an individual without compromising your Muslim identity. 

So, go get a pen and a sheet of paper, scroll up and take the time you deserve to go through the steps that will set you free from the repeated broken patterns so that you reach your desired transformation this upcoming year.

Be sure to read MuslimGirl.com’s other article on how to finish out the year on a strong note.

Muslim Girl's Content Editor. For submissions, email either Editorial@muslimgirl.com or Jummanah@muslimgirl.com.