You finally wake up at 1 pm after you kept snoozing your alarm throughout the morning. Groggily you smudge your eyes, grab your phone and start scrolling through your Instagram feed.
Before you realize it, an hour has already passed, and when mum finally screams at you for still being in bed, you put your phone aside and finally get out. You go do some chores and then it feels like binge-watching that reality show on Netflix you’ve been meaning to watch after your friends started discussing it. You order some Macca’s and jump straight onto the couch with your iPad and delve deep into the show.
By the time you finish, it’s already 7 pm. A whole day has almost gone.
Is this how your average day goes by?
If so, don’t you think you’re consuming too much meaningless content on the internet?
Considering that more than 80% of all the information your brain gets is through your eyes, followed by your ears. Have you given a thought to what you’re feeding them? Is it meaningless music and social media feeds? Are you giving a thought to what kind of content you’re consuming?
I really don’t think you should stop all your time-intensive negative habits at once, because that’s the fastest way to start doing them again when you have those extreme cravings. What you could do instead is to just be mindful of where your time is spent, and take manageable steps to cut your negative habits down. Perhaps, start off by limiting yourself to two episodes of the tv serial instead of binge-watching; or maybe not touching your phone until at least one hour after you get out of bed?
As humans, our willpower can only work so much in our favor. It cannot override the biological laws programmed in us, for long. Imagine being asked to hold your breath for 10 minutes. We can’t, right? It’s because our biology jumps in, and we cannot overrule it. Similarly, if we take those drastic steps to cut down the long-formed habits at once, we’ll badly crash.
Each breath of ours is crucial. Each day that Allah SWT blesses us with is valuable. Each passing day is a chance to make incremental steps to achieve your goals in the Duniya and Akhirah.
It’s natural to feel that we cannot do things due to whatever reason. Surprisingly, even the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to seek refuge in Almighty-Allah from laziness, he (PBUH) used to ask Allah SWT in his prayers: “O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men.” (Sahih Bukhari).
So as Muslims, we’re taught to ask Allah SWT for help, have Tawakkal, and then strive for Ihsan (excellence) in whatever (good) we do.
Time for a change
For today (considering it’s close to your bedtime), write down a basic timeline of all the activities you did today, on a piece of paper. Do you think you’d rather have swapped the time spent on that random YouTube video and instead done something productive like cleaning your bookshelf (which you have been putting off for so long)?
Now, get another piece of paper, make another timeline of the 5 most important productive things you’re going to do tomorrow. Things you’ve been procrastinating for long.
After you have written the new timeline, pick up both the pieces of paper and think about where you see yourself in the future by hypothetically following each timeline? See the stark difference?
You’ve probably realized which is right for you and which isn’t.
If you keep making meaningful steps towards your goals, over time you will see that you’ve become more disciplined, attentive, and brim with positivity. Your commitment and dedication have gotten strong and you see yourself close to Almighty-Allah than ever before.
When you do slack off (which is definite) or maybe have self-defeating thoughts, think of this verse from the Holy Quran, “And if there comes to you from Satan an evil suggestion, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” (41:36)
Remember, you in control of your future and only you have the will to change it accordingly. You can keep on with that routine you follow that is not getting you anywhere or you could push yourself to follow that other timeline.
Ibn Abbas reported that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to say, “Utilize your time and health in making positive choices and changes; don’t procrastinate. And don’t wait for tomorrow, for tomorrow may never come.”
So, wake up tomorrow and achieve all the mini-goals you’ve set for the day!