Do you always dream of the years ahead when you will hit your first million, memorise the Qur’an, or break some world record? Or perhaps you jump, to a few months ahead – getting published, married or launching an online business.
The reality is that tomorrow may never come. And those dreams may remain just as they are – Dreams!!! So while it is OK to dream, you need to wake up and build rewarding habits that will aid you towards your goals.
Since new habits take time and consistency, make it a priority so you can capitalize on your youth. Use it for practice upon practice. Don’t take your youth for granted.
Let’s get started with some simple actions…
1. Avoid Complaining
This world is far from perfect and you can’t always have what you want. Rather than dwell on what is wrong, focus on the good and be thankful for every blessing of your youth. And remember, this life is a test.
”We test you by good and by evil as a trial” (Quran, 21:35)
2. Shun Ignorance
You can’t worship Allah with incorrect knowledge. If you know Allah, then you can worship Him as He deserves. Seeking knowledge of Allah, the Almighty and Majestic is therefore compulsory on you. Ignorance is not an excuse.
”And know that there is none that is rightfully worshipped except Allah…” (Quran,47:19)
Be consistent with reciting a fixed amount of Qur’an daily. Read, reflect and make sure you act upon what you read.Do not be among those who forget to read or reflect.
”This is the Book (the Qur’an) whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun [The pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much]” (Quran, 2:2)
5. Keep good company
Stay with those who remind you of Allah and the Hereafter. Seek companionship of people who bring out the best in you and stay away from toxic individuals – including the haters and complain bags.
”Friends on that day will be enemies of each other, except the righteous” (Quran, 43:67)
6. Focus on the positive
Keep your intention, thoughts and words positive. And leave your affairs to Allah. It reduces negative stress levels and will keep you on the right track towards your goals.
”Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)” (Quran, 3:159)
7. Take a daily step towards your goals
Break down your goals and do one simple action each day so as not to get overwhelmed. Don’t worry about perfecting things. Just make sure you maintain consistency as you progress.
8. Set yourself up for some accountability
Get a buddy or a mentor to check up on your milestones as you try to achieve big goals. And let there be some consequence for negligence.
9. Follow up a good deed with another good one
Think of the day when you will receive your book of deeds either in the right or left hand, depending on your deeds. Then make that choice with even the tiniest deed.
Abu Dharr relates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not disdain doing the least good, even greeting your brother with a cheerful face” (Muslim).
It is Sunnah; it is also charity and makes you look good and feel good. Smile before your teeth fall out.
Aim to truly listen to others before you open your mouth to speak. Good listening is a gift you can share with others. It fosters understanding and cooperation.
13. Show gratitude for even the simplest act
Learn to say ‘thank you’ for every simple act or favour upon you. Be generous with your appreciation for every kind act.
14. Spread Salaam
Always give greetings of peace or reply when greeted first with what is better.
15. Give Charity
Give away something you have not used for a while. It is likely you won’t miss it, someone’s life will be changed and you will also get a reward.
“Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders [of it] or [other] injury will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (Quran, 2:262)
Give some charity today even with half a date.
People may hurt you with their words, actions or inactions. Similarly, some ugly memories may linger which pierce through the heart and feel just like yesterday. But still forgive and move on.
”Learn to forgive and forbear. Do you not desire that Allah should forgive you?” (Quran, 24:22)
17. See no evil, hear no evil
Your body and senses are a blessing from your Creator. Use them only for good and for what will be pleasing to Him. Preserve your mind and body.
”The ear, the eye and the heart shall all be called to account” (Quran, 17:36)
Share an invaluable part of yourself – whether it’s a skill, knowledge or time. Be among those who bring benefit to others. And remember that sharing is caring.
19. Never stop learning because life never stops teaching
And be consistent with the supplication;
”My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” (Quran, 20:114)
20. Accept mistakes and failures
Making mistakes is human. Do not allow this to paralyze your life. Make sure you take lessons from hem.
21. Check yourself
The mirror does not lie, does it? Use your inner conscience as a mirror and guide to check yourself and bring yourself to account as no other person can.
22. Stay awake after Fajr
This time is the best to do something beneficial – writing, listening to a lecture, reading the Quran or book of Tafsir. Utilise the blessings of the morning time and jumpstart your day with an active brain.
23. Make sincere du’a for someone in his/her absence
It could be for a friend who is childless or a colleague seeking to know about the purpose of creation or a neighbour who is going through a financial crisis. You will be rewarded with a blessed response, ‘And same to you’.
24. Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah
Engage in Dhikr of Allah with your tongue and presence of heart. Sheikh al -Islam Ibn Taimiyyah raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, ”The remembrance of Allah is like water to the fish. What would happen to the fish if it were separated from the water?”
25. Keep in touch
Call, send an email or SMS to a family member you have not been in touch with for a long time. Be pleasant. You will rekindle a blessed relationship and strengthen the ties of kinship.
26. Honor your parents
Whatever the generational gap, be patient with your parents. Treat them with excellence and show them love as you would want to be loved by your children. Ask Allah to guide them and to grant them the best station in Paradise.
27. Make a budget
Take a close look at your earnings and spending; are they in sync? Can you reduce your debt, save more or give more in charity? Draft a plan today and stick with it.
28. Keep silent
Button those lips if you have nothing good to say. Say NO to backbiting and gossip. Avoid the traps of he said- , she said-.
29. Apologize when wrong
Saying sorry makes you stronger not weaker.
30. Watch what you eat
Make sure your diet is healthy and permissible. And do not overeat. Your body is an amanah. You will be questioned about it. Use your diet to fuel your worship.
31. Go Offline
Stay offline for one day or at least most of one day. Check yourself, renew your intentions and think of ways to boost your faith. Terrified of falling behind on updates? Don’t worry, there will always be newer updates.
32. Pray Tahajjud
Wake up in the last part of the night and pray at least two units of prayers. It gives you a chance to have your duas answered and sins forgiven. Don’t miss out!
In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah says, ”Is there anyone asking of Me that I may give them? Is there anyone asking forgiveness that I may forgive them?”
33. Ask Allah
It is easy to ask close friends and family members for some of our needs without remembering to ask the One who provides for all our families and friends. What do you need right now? Ask Him.
”Your Lord has said: Call on Me: I will respond to you”. (Quran, 40:61)
34. Practice what you preach
Have you ever been asked by a 5 year old, ‘why do you say don’t shout at your little brother, but you are shouting yourself?’ If you can’t live by your words, mind what you demand or expect of others. Be the model you want to see.
35. Get active
Take a walk or bring that skipping rope out and get moving. Don’t wait to get to a gym for an ultimate fitness plan. Become active and keep your body healthy and fit.
36. Enjoy good decent jokes
You may have that special uncle or friend who keeps a growing collection of jokes and pulls out some new ones each time you get together or wirelessly. Lol! It’s OK to laugh it off without breaking the roof.
Take some time off to unwind and put your feet up. Don’t work 24/7 or run the risk of getting low on your physical and mental energy. You deserve some rest; your body has rights over you.
This list is by no means exhaustive.What can you add to it from your own life experiences? Which of the above actions would you recommend to others; And what other simple actions can you start today for a more rewarding youth? Take a moment to add to the list below…