Setting Goals

To each is a goal to which he turns; then strive together (as in a race) Towards all that is good. Wheresoever you are, Allah will bring you together. For Allah has power over all things. H.Q. 2:148.

Setting goals is important as they give direction, meaning, and purpose to life. Most people do not set goals. Therefore most people are mediocre in the six major areas of life. One should set simple goals in all the six major areas. On the other extreme are people who over obsess about their goals. For example; they set several goals for their financial and work life, but neglect the social and spiritual life. These individuals often experience burnout and unhappiness.

Furthermore one should not set too many goals. How many of us set numerous goals year after year but end up not succeeding at most if not all? They then fall into a state of depression over being a failure. Furthermore when one sets too many goals, this adds tremendous pressure and stress and leads to goal fatigue quickly. Do not be overly ambitious in the goal-setting department. Keep it SIMPLE. Many goal-setters are on what I call the goal setting treadmill. This is the personality that always set goals, have elaborate charts, spreadsheets, notes etc. They then have these broken down into daily small/smart goals, then hourly goals etc. I recommend setting no more than two goals for the six major areas of life. Once these are accomplished then move on to more. The six major areas are;

1. Physical
2. Intellectual
3. Spiritual
4. Social
5. Emotional
6. Financial

Setting goals in each of these areas should ensure that you lead a balanced life. How many times have you seen businessmen and professionals work on their jobs or businesses seven days a week. What about their family/social life? What about their health or physical life? Of the people that set goals, most only set financial goals. It has been ingrained in us since grade school to grow up, finish school, go to college to get a good job so we can live a luxurious life. But what school didn’t teach us is that most who take this perspective have marital problems, health issues with no social life.

One could even set too many goals in the Spiritual department as evidence from this hadith, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “ Have I not been informed that you offer prayer all the night and fast the whole day? I said,”yes.” He (SAW) said, “ Do not do so; offer prayer at night and also sleep; fast for a few days and give up fasting for a few days because your body has a right on you, and your eye has a right on you, and your guest has a right on you, and your wife has a right on you…” Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.155 narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (RA)

In other words, our life must be balanced. We cannot pursue one goal so excessively and to the detriment of other areas of our life. These other areas have rights!


7 thoughts on “Setting Goals

  1. shuara says:


    How does one know that they have accomplished a certain goal?

    For example with 1. Physical is it when you’re consistent with your exercise routine or when you start to I dunno loose weight or are in better shape??

    Do 2. Intellectual goals manifest in the receiving of good grades and certificates, jobs and praise or the deepening of ones understanding of their surroundings and their thirst for learning to be quenched in a feeling??

    With 3. Spiritual is it more dhikr and salawat – tasbih and night vigil or is the little and often that opens the hearts?

    4. Social – Is it catching up with chai with good old friends or networking with many for bigger projects or forgoing your own rights to make sure you are there for you fellow companion??

    Are you 5. Emotional-ly in control when you are resistant to the breakdowns of day-to-day life and can peservere through with patience and contentment or is it taking these emotions to Allaah with hope and fear and confiding in him of all those trapped feelings than a random shrink say?

    Ahh…6. Financial – well my answer to this one would be simple. I’ve never had to worry about money in my life. Alhamdulillaah I’ve always been provided for by Allaah and by no means do I perceive financial to be just monetary and bits of paper. Allaah provides immensely and if you were to just count your bank balance you surely aren’t doing the right math!

    Dua’as please for consistency in goals and maintaining them for His sake. Ameen

    • Salaams, I think first of all it is very important not to overthink things. Just Do It. Goal setting is and should be made as simple as possible. i.e accomplishing a physical goal…. It depends on what goal you set. If you say my goal is to loose 15lbs, then when you loose it you have succeeded. However it may be better to say, my goal is to loose 15lbs and maintain it. Yes to the other questions.

  2. shuara says:

    Wa ‘alaykum as-salaam

    Perhaps the maintaing is the hardest but alhamdulillaah being half-way balanced in our goals is better than nothing and surely in striving is great reward inshaAllaah.

    thank you for this.

    I usually print the posts so I can reflect on them but is there a way you could post them to make them more printer-friendly – I’m not very computer savvy!

    Also if there could be something on study – western and Islamic – that would be very beneficial inshaAllaah.

    JazakAllaahu khair, dua’as please.

  3. Marquis De Lafayette says:

    السلام الىكم

    As-Salaamu alaykum shuara,muslimfitforlife,guests!

    “Perhaps the maintaing is the hardest but alhamdulillaah being half-way balanced in our goals is better than nothing and surely in striving is great reward inshaAllaah.”-shuara

    Thanks for the wisdom shuara,and muslimfitforlife!I try to remember that goals in the life of this world are important,and that Islam is meant to be lived “out there,in the REAL world” and not just as theory in the masjid, or on the computer.

    However,it is our “niyyah” or intention that,I believe,should always remain priority number one.Our goals are always being challenged by external,and more importantly~internal,forces.

    A daily revision of our short and long term goals with Muslims close to us,and in our rememberence/supplication to Allah(subhana wa t’ala) not only keeps us in “reality check” about our goals,it allows us to prioritize our ever changing time-constraints and challenges in life with those very goals.

    In the U.S. we have a somewhat crude colloquialism that I’ll more politely refer to as:”STUFF happens”,meaning(to me as a Muslim) life (via Qadr through the Majesty of Allah) CONSTANTLY challenges our intentions to test our love/fortitude for Him.This IS an act of love,and the ultimate purpose of our life as Muslims.

    “Goals for the sake of goals” MUST leave us drained and disappointed,even when we MEET THOSE “goals”.
    Sometimes the things/achievements that we think we want are the absolute worst things/achievements for us to “obtain”.

    I’m 39/40(solar/lunar,so I’m “islamically 40” hahaha),and am at a very reflective time in my life,accompanied by a recent 35-40 pound weight loss(20 to go,insha’Allah) and a reflective rvision of where I want the rest of my half-over/half-left life to go.Allah knows best.Allah is “The Knower” and has ALREADY DECIDED which of my goals will be met,and which ones won’t.It is indeed in our “striving for great reward” that is the most imperative part of our lives.

    In retrospect,some of the greatest blessings that I’ve had in my “early middle-aged life” seemed like DEVASTATING hardships at the time.The self-doubt,guilt,delusion over sins or “unmet goals” can overwhelm us in the moment.

    We’ve all been there,even the youngest of the readers here have experienced this in their young lives.

    Allah remembers those who REMEMBER HIM in adversity and strength,sickness and health,poverty and wealth.
    However,I don’t want to take away anything from this post,or what muslimfitforlife is doing in general with this site:It’ DESPERATELY needed,especially for brothers(we don’t discuss excercise,diet,grooming,finance,and the like enough with each other).And it is guidance in those areas of life,in addition to the “spiritual guidance” that Islam provides,that brought many converts like myself to this wonderful way of life 13 years ago,al-hamdulillah!

    Jazak Allah Khayr(Thanks),

    ~Musa(“Marquis”,”Rooted On Clouds”,whatever…☺)

    • @~Musa(“Marquis”,”Rooted On Clouds”,whatever…☺) LOL!!, Jazaka allahu Khayr for the wonderful input. Like Shuara said, it is maintaining and being balanced that sometimes present even a greater challenge than the goals themselves. You gave some valuable input here and thanks for sharing.

  4. Beug BAMBA says:

    Just dicover this wonderful blog. I’ve been learning a lot from u brother . Like most of us we find real hard how to get a balance life and be the most productive possible. And as muslim we always have to bring down all our deeds to meet the purpose of our being created.Therefore work as we never die ,and worship as every breath is our last. These ideas on your blog do help
    Keep up the good work!
    Jazak Allah Khayr(Thanks),

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