“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
As hard as it is to believe, we’re already in the last day of Ramadan. It’s worth saying that after this great month, the challenge now is to keep nurturing all the habits that we had developed during this time.
Yes, it’s good that we made some changes in ourselves during Ramadan. But it’s even better if we could keep those changes as a lasting part of ourselves.
It’s completely normal too, to go all-out on these changes during Ramadan, only to struggle to keep them going when the Ramadan vibe has faded. Sometimes it can even feel like we’re starting from square one again.
If you experience this as much as I do, don’t you worry. Let me tell you that even a little bit of good is a lot.
Let’s go back to a brilliant piece of advice from our Prophet (pbuh), that “The deeds which Allah loves the most are those done regularly, even if they are small.” (Hadith verified by Bukhari and Muslim)
Why is this so? It’s because when we begin with a ridiculously doable baseline of a habit that we want to nurture, we would slowly build our momentum and capability to do more and more consistently. As James Clear wrote in Atomic Habits, “Success is the product of daily habits — not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”
Take reading the Qur’an as an example. If you start this habit with a super-easy baseline like one ayaah a day for a period of time (let’s say, a month), you’ll naturally want to build this habit to two ayaah a day. Slowly but surely, it would turn into a page a day, and then two pages a day, etc.
Best of all, even these small steps come with huge rewards. Our Prophet (pbuh) himself said, “Whoever recites a letter from the Qur’an, he will be rewarded 10 times. I do not say that Alif Lam Meem is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter, and Meem is a letter. (Hadith verified by Tirmidhi)
This same philosophy applies to any good deed that we do.
As Allah says in the Qur’an, “Whoever comes (on the Day of Judgement) with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof (to his credit), and whoever comes with an evil deed will not be recompensed except the like thereof; and they will not be treated unjustly.” (Q, 6:160)
So if you ever feel discouraged, always remember that even a little bit of good is a lot. You don’t have to feel bad by comparing yourself to other people, who have had different starting points than yours. Maintain your own scorecard, and remember that the only person you could be is yourself, and that the only one you’re trying to please is Allah.
I wish you a very blessed Eid — or as we say here in Malaysia — Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan Batin!