Eid Mubarak everyone!! Ramadan is officially over and Muslims around the world are celebrating this week. As we commemorate our month of fasting and spiritual growth, there’s a topic that I’ve noticed comes up every year around this time. Many of us are thinking about how to maintain the transformation that we’ve felt over these last four weeks. And in today’s post, I want to expand on this conversation.
One of the most unique aspects of Ramadan is how it inspires more than a billion people to completely change their lifestyle for it’s duration. And Muslims aren’t only fasting from food and drink during the day. This month is also meant for paying closer attention to our thought and behavior patterns. It offers us the chance to untangle ourselves from those patterns that don’t serve us and replace them with reflection, prayer, and other acts of goodness, But when Ramadan comes to an end, our newly developed practices often follow it.
Since we’ve just begun transitioning out of this special month, I thought this week would be a great time to talk about keeping up with habits. Whether or not you observe Ramadan, you can probably relate to the experience of struggling to maintain a new one. Especially when other parts of your routine happen to be changing at the same time.
The ending of Ramadan is always bittersweet for me. I can’t wait to get back to my typical eating and sleeping schedule. But I’m sad to let go of the extraordinary spiritual connection that this month enables. One that’s impossible for me to sustain all year round.
Ramadan is a month like no other. It’s entire purpose is to develop this elevated spiritual connection within us. And when it’s over, that high will inevitably come to an end as well. But this doesn’t mean we have to lose all of the month’s benefits.
Over these last few years, I’ve found an approach that’s been helping me carry a little piece of Ramadan into the rest of my year. And today, I want to share it with you!
It’s a simple idea, but it’s had a pretty big impact on me. My years of experience have made it clear that I can’t stick to every extra spiritual practice that I begin during this month. But I can hold on to at least one or a few of them.
So rather than beating myself up about what I can’t do, I’ve been trying to focus on that which I can for the past few years. Usually, this looks like picking out just one or two habits that I really enjoyed during Ramadan to keep practicing for the rest of the year. And, honestly, they’re often things that don’t take me very long. Because these “little” habits are easier for me to keep repeating on a regular basis.
The “little things” add up. And, all together, they turn into the big things that make a difference in our lives.
Choosing just one or two spiritual habits to commit myself to has been a game-changer. It’s given me the room to grow at a pace that feels both doable and progressive.
This is actually a technique that I use every time I find myself embarking down a new path… spiritual or otherwise. I always start small. Because I can be consistent with small steps.
It’s our small and consistent steps that matter most. They build the foundation for us to take bigger ones.
I’m still trying to decide which Ramadan practice(s) I want to keep up with this year, but I do have two that I’m leaning towards. Quiet time and mindful eating. Both of these have been important to me for a few years already, but their relevance felt magnified over this past month.
I’ve had “quiet time” in my routine for quite a while now. But even during this quiet time, my mind feels busy. I’m usually journaling, reading, praying, or doing a tapping meditation in these precious minutes. The quiet time I’m craving lately though is actually “nothing” time. I’m seeking stillness. A chance to just be. To just sit with God. Not doing any homework. And not showing up with any agenda. I’ll probably start this off with two minutes of conscious breathing each day. Because I already know what a difference just two minutes can make.
As for mindful eating, this has also been a practice that I’ve been working on for some time now. It’s a tougher one for me though. I struggle with not giving into the temptation of certain foods… especially when I’m fasting. But this Ramadan, I felt really good about my food choices on most nights. And I found great alternatives for some of the stuff that I love, but my stomach doesn’t. My goal with mindful eating right now is to meal prep more thoughtfully and thoroughly so that eating feels simpler and more enjoyable.
When it comes to new habits, I’m all about making it as easy on myself as possible. I can always add more components later. But the most important part is starting!
Have YOU added any new habits to your life recently? Got any good tips to share? Leave a comment below this post or send an email on over! We’d love to hear your input!
Peace and blessings,
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