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New Year’s Resolutions and Muslims

{Disclaimer: Please don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy to see people make positive changes in their life. All I’m saying is that there is a BETTER way with a greater chance of success; success that balances the body and soul. It’s the Muslim’s alternative.} Read on:

New Year’s Resolutions, although so many people do it, it’s highly ineffective! We want to do it, it sounds like so much fun — why waste the chance to make a positive change? Right?

If you were at a table with ten friends on New Year’s Eve and you all made a new year resolution, studies show only ONE of you will succeed. And just barely at that.

According to a University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology study (2015), it was found that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions. Of those that make New Year’s Resolutions, less than 1 out of 10 succeed at their resolutions.

But before I dive into the Muslim’s better way, let’s be fair. There is something exciting thing about this time of year: It’s the hope of a new start; a new page. That feeling that you can do something differently and that you can tread a better path. In the Islamic calendar, you’ll find those community collective feelings around Ramadan — where people experience a renewed hope that they can overcome bad habits — and you’ll also find that in Hajj when people make life shifting decisions to come closer to Allah. And we’re reminded to ‘confirm our goals’ five times a day in Salah when we raise our hands in prayer.

The Muslim’s alternative to New Year’s Resolutions? DUA! Let’s compare the two:

4. Trust in who? NY Resolutions vs. Dua When you make a New Year’s Resolution, you’ve trusting yourself to follow through (which 9 times out of 10 fails). However, when you make a renewed Dua, you’re placing your trust in Allah! What a game over distinction right there?

3. Review Schedule? NY Resolutions vs. Dua If you’ll notice something about a New Year’s Resolution, you only set it once and then forget about it. Humans don’t work like that. We all need a constant reminder of our commitments. The refreshing thing about Dua is that every time you get in a Dua situation — whether that’s at Salah time or after making Wudu or waiting for prayer, etc. — you are regularly reminding yourself of your Duas. Not once a year — more like multiple times a day.

2. Body and spirit combined? NY Resolutions vs. Dua The top three NY Resolutions (2015), in order, are:    a. Lose weight    b. Get organized    c. Save more

There’s this inherent ‘minus the spirit’ attitude to these resolutions. However, if you look at Dua, yes you could make Dua for losing weight, getting organized, and saving more — but you’d also make Dua for forgiveness, good character, and the welfare of your loved ones. Even when making Dua to “save more” connects your soul and your finances with your Lord. Dua combines the body with spirit and is the holistic way.

And finally:

1. Success? NY Resolutions vs. Dua Studies document that the success rate of a New Year Resolution is only 8%. Allah ALWAYS answers Dua: With either yes, not now, or I have something better for you. Allah proves He alone is the Creator worthy of worship by the fact that no one can answer the Dua of the one in dire need except Him:

Who (but Allah) answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him. [Surat al-Naml 27:62]

Take a moment now to capture this New Year hope, but instead of making ‘resolutions’, establish some new and exciting Duas you want to start asking Allah for!


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