No time of the year is more precious, more awe-inspiring than Ramadan. When it comes, the spirit of Islam is never as alive and visible as this time, when you see your neighbors power-walking to the Masjid post- Iftar so that they can be the first in line for Taraweeh prayer.
It’s no secret that the prayer lines dwindle considerably after Ramadan, as many people fall back into their old routines, leaving the best of their Islamic spirit dormant until next year’s Ramadan.
But you can break that cycle, by breaking your own bad habits. Here are some ways:
Step 1: Make the intention.
Pray that Allah guide you and help you in your goal to break your habit during this time of accepted prayers. Without the help of Allah, no endeavor will be successful.
Step 2: Stay away from things that may trigger the habit.
This includes: seeing the source of your habit or reminders of the bad habit (e.g. if you’re giving up smoking, for example, don’t hang out with smokers), your environment, etc.
Step 3: Stay occupied (at least for the time being).
Indulge in the practices that make Ramadan so special. This can mean:
a. having Halaqas (Islamic study circles) with supportive friends
b. finishing/studying the Quran or memorizing a chapter
c. volunteering at a local Masjid/shelter/school/food pantry
d. listening to educational and Islamic products
f. stopping by Sound Vision for needed Islamic products, or join our storytelling sessions
Step 4: Find support.
Involve friends and family in helping you break the habit by letting them remind you how badly you want to stop.
Step 5: Apply positive reinforcement.
Reward yourself every day that you stay away from the habit. This could be buying yourself a treat, or simply setting aside a short amount of time for you to indulge in a hobby or activity.
Step 6: Take it one day at a time.
Sometimes breaking a habit or giving something addictive up forever and ever can be a hard concept to wrap our heads around. We convince ourselves that staying days, weeks, and years away from something will be impossible. So don’t worry if it’s hard to break the habit at first. Research shows that it takes an average of 30 days to break a habit (and how convenient! Ramadan is just long enough to be the perfect bad-habit-breaking time of the year). So just take it one day at a time. Get through the first day, and then get through the second, and third, and so on. And before you know it, you’ve been “clean” for a whole month (or longer)!
Photo Attribution: Vishal Dutta - http://www.flickr.com/photos/39809462@N05/3866607351/