How do I change my life? This is the question many of us ask at some point in our lives, but the sheer enormity of our question often scares us into submitting to our persisting state. But before we jump to label such an attempt as futile, we need to first of all define what we mean by changing our lives.
I describe changing my life as the ability to live a better life that allows me to easily or naturally adhere to the core principles of Islam, while at the same time sets me up for a lifetime of personal growth.
In light of this definition, I would like to invite you to engage in an experiment with me. Life is, after all, built upon several of our personal experiments whereby we succeed or fail, but perhaps most importantly, we learn lessons and hopefully grow from our experiences. The experiment I am currently conducting and would like you to conduct if you have the drive to change your life for the better, is based on the ideas put forth by a motivational speaker by the name of Darren Jacklin. I feel like what he suggests fits beautifully with what Allah SWT expects of us.
Good Morning Gratitude
“…and Allah will reward the grateful.” (3:144)
Morning is the best time to start to make any changes in your life. By morning, I mean the first two to three hours after waking up. If you delay new changes to later on in the day, it is very likely you will lose willpower or get busy in other activities and therefore miss your chance to instill an important change in your life.
Keeping this in mind, you must make it non-negotiable every morning after waking up, to consciously thank Allah SWT for your blessings. To give you an example from my own life experiment, I often start thanking Allah while still in bed, thanking him for giving me life again, for providing me with sleep to recover my body and mind, for giving me a comfortable bed and a blanket, air conditioner, hands to open doors, and so on. As you can see, there are so many things to be grateful for and so even if you spend a total of 1 to 2 minutes actively thanking Allah SWT for His blessings each morning, it will make a huge difference over time. As the Quran states, “If you tried to number God’s blessings, you could never count them. God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (16:18)
Plus, in my experiment, the results are already astounding, as after just 3 days of consistently working on this, I found that I started to remember to thank Allah SWT more often during my day for other blessings. Hence, the morning or the start of your day is an extremely powerful time to make necessary life changes if you take advantage of it. You could even thank Allah SWT while making breakfast, or taking a shower, or even write or type your words of gratitude. The idea is to make it non-negotiable to consciously thank Allah SWT by letting Him know what specific things that you are grateful for. By specific, I mean do not just say thank You for giving me hands, but go further by specifying why you are thankful for your hands, so go over what you use your hands for. You do not have to list every little thing, but instead focus on as many as keep you in a state of awe and humility.
Allah SWT’s law concerning sincere gratitude is revealed in the Quran:
“If you give thanks, I will surely give you more.” (14:7)