Did you know that a woman’s brain is better wired to multitask than a man’s is? I’m sure that the men reading this will be thoroughly offended- no offense to my Muslim brothers, but this is just physiology. Women are fortunate that Allah Swt has given us an innate ability to juggle all our commitments. All my fellow women know that this isn’t an easy feat-just as I am writing this, I have the voice of my daughter calling out to me this very second! This is what we do- we multitask! We find fulfilment in taking care of the ones we love don’t we, but wouldn’t it be amazing to have a little time for ourselves as well? Imagine having your own ambition and achieving it. What would that be like? I imagine myself being a Muslim life coach to the community on a global level; that is my dream- what’s yours? The more fulfilled a woman is, the better wife, mother, and community member she makes. If your cup is full, you have more to give don’t you?
Being mums, wives, or professionals doesn’t always allow us to focus on our goals does it? We do need to start somewhere however, so take a look at these tips and use the ones that appeal to you.
Change your time conversation:
I have yet to meet a mum living in let’s say the USA or Europe who says that she has time for herself. I have known some who do make that time though. Time isn’t something you have; it’s not tangible. We all have an internal conversation about time. I wonder if you will recognise it as “there is too much to do” or “kids take up all my time.” Our internal dialogue about time reflects how much time we spend on things; it becomes real in our lives. So if you find that you don’t have time for yourself, then ask yourself: “what do I say to myself about time?” “How useful is it? What can I be saying to myself that will help me create some time for me?” Repeat your new time statement daily and notice how you feel. Change it if you feel that you need to. Once you can begin to create some time for you, then the reflection on your goals can begin.
Ask the “what” question:
Knowing what we want to do is sometimes the most difficult question of all. Now that you will have created some time, sit down for a few minutes every day and ask yourself the question “what do I really, really, really want?” and write the answer down. Do this for a few days and you will see a theme emerging. You may notice that it may be something like happiness, or peace of mind that you long for. This is a very good start to exploring your life ambition. This word will allow you to connect to your deeper values and give you a sense of purpose.
The “how” question comes next:
You may have some ideas emerging about what you would like to do. Maybe it’s starting a little business of your own, or making a difference in the community. The most essential question after the “what” is the “how” question. Ask yourself “how am I going to achieve this goal? What actions do I need to take? Are there any skills that I need to acquire? Can I do this by myself or do I need someone’s help? Brainstorm with a friend or colleague to get the ideas flowing.
Set a time frame:
Muslims are fortunate because we have a natural alarm clock everyday, Salat. You already have some practice around working within time lines, don’t you? Think about the times you pray on time, pick up the children, or cook dinner. Time frames keep our goals real and measurable. I wonder if you know someone who says that they “will do” something, but it never gets done? That is because they didn’t set a mental time frame for it. A time frame will allow you to work towards something tangible. Once you know what you will do and how you will do it, the question is “by when?” Ask yourself: Is this a one-off goal or something that is ongoing? By when will I achieve this goal? (Specific day and date) Is this time frame flexible?
How much time can I take out given all my other commitments? Make sure that the time frame you give yourself is realistic but exciting enough that it keeps you going.
Adjust and acknowledge:
The unexpected may happen from time to time, so make sure to make adjustments to your goal accordingly. If you find that you would like to do something else, or that the time you allotted will not be enough, go ahead and make adjustments. This will keep your goal relevant and exciting.
Take a few minutes every day to remind yourself of the things you did well. It’s the little things that we do that make all the difference, so go ahead and give yourself a moment to enjoy that. You will find yourself feeling good and staying on track too.