Nafs Hack: Use Visual Cues
Assalamu alaikum, and Ramadan Mubarak! Each year, Islamic Relief sends daily inspirational videos to you during the month of Ramadan.
This year’s Ramadan Reflections are focused on Nafs Hacks, or life hacks that will help you with spirituality, productivity, and to make every day in Ramadan productive.
My name is Naeem Muhammad, and this is my Nafs Hack.
Anytime you’ve started to bring on a new, good habit or want to implement some kind of new behavior, what I like to do is to use visual cues, as well as remove all obstacles out of the way to implement that habit in my life.
So, examples—I mean normally we talk about athletes and they talk about visualizing you doing something, whether it be like Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf at the free-throw line trying to make those free throws, or someone like Ibtihaj Muhammad trying to perfect in her head the perfect lunge for fencing. That’s one side of visualization.
I take that visualization in a different direction, meaning that when I want to implement something in my life—a new practice or whatever—I like to have those visual cues really close by so it’s reminding me to do them. Say if I want to start a gym regiment in my life, I won’t have my gym shoes tucked away somewhere, or my gym card away somewhere where it’s out of sight out of mind. I want those visual reminders always there, close by, so that when I am ready to move in that direction, I’m ready to add those things.
I’m thinking about incorporating the Qur’an more in my life and trying to read more. I want to have a copy of the Qur’an really close by in the places I operate. Maybe on my desk at work or where I work at home. Not somewhere tucked away or just on display far away, or on display far away but easily within reach so that when I touch it by instance (I think) oh let me read now, let me take that moment now.
Same thing with if I’m trying to implement dhikr in my life. If I have my beads with me when I touch them or bump into them, I say, ‘Oh yeah let me do that thing now.’ So, visual cues are one way to implement these good things in your life. That’s my nafs hack.
I hope you have a good day in Ramadan.