Changing your environment is the easiest and most powerful way to change your behaviour. Developing and improving oneself is a constant process throughout the life of an individual. This is normally accomplished by developing and inculcating certain behaviours in one’s personality. The more you practice these behaviours, the more consistent you become in adopting them and making them a permanent part of your life. Allah says:
وَإِن كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُل لِّي عَمَلِي وَلَكُمْ عَمَلُكُمْ أَنتُم بَرِيئُونَ مِمَّا أَعْمَلُ وَأَنَا بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
“And if they deny you then say, “For me (are) my deeds, and for you (are) your deeds. You (are) disassociated from what I do, and I am disassociated from what you do.” (Surah Yunus 10:41)
Our behaviour plays a big part in our everyday lives and can affect how our life may turn out in the future. If you decide to live with negative behaviour, always expecting the worst and never enjoying what you already have in your life, you’ll find that your inner choices will reflect on the outside. We live and act according to the injunctions of the Quran. Allah says:
كَدَأْبِ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا فَأَخَذَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
“Like behaviour (of the) people (of) Firaun and those from before them. They denied Our signs, so they were seized by Allah for their sins. And Allah (is) severe (in) [the] punishment.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:11)
Doing good and having the right belief go hand in hand in Islam. In fact, doing good in practice is proof of having the right belief in the heart. This is why the Holy Quran speaks of true Muslims very often as “those who believe and do good deeds”. Both the Quran and the Holy Prophet have told Muslims that the best among them is that person who shows the best behaviour towards other people.
The Most Effective Way To Change Your Behavior And Improve Your Life:
- Know your motivations, and be sure they’re strong
- Seek out those who share your positive behaviour
- Identify a positive habit you’re going to do instead
- Be nice to people regardless of their social status
- Don’t underestimate the power of support
- Have strategies to defeat the urge
- Say “thank you” more frequently
- Don’t compare yourself to others
- Renew your commitment often
- Write down all your obstacles
- Prepare for the sabotagers
- Become aware of self-talk
- Treat all creations kindly
- Always act with a purpose
- Take action and then let it go
- Live in the light of the Quran
- Seek feedback about yourself
- Change how you set your goals
- Use setbacks to improve your skills
- Take action without expecting results
- If you fail, figure out what went wrong
- Be the person who speaks up for others
- Aimless activity wastes time and energy
- Stretch yourself past your limits every day
- Be the Muslim who comes to the aid of a stranger
A behaviour comes down to choice, you can choose whether to have a good or a bad attitude and whether external things can affect it or not. With this in mind, we come up with a few ways to help improve your behaviour when you are struggling to turn a bad day into a good one.
How to Change Your Behavior for Good:
- Leaving all bad and unwanted habits: The aim of leaving all bad and unwanted habits and trying to accomplish and implement all the good habits and continuing them for the rest of our lives.
- Trying to develop a good habit: The key is to keep doing a good deed and repeating the behaviour each and every day good habits, once established are just as hard to break as are bad habits.
- Motivation and Reminders: Think about the reasons why you want to form a habit. Once you weigh the pros and cons, you will be automatically motivated to repeat the action.
- Ask Allah for Help: Last but not least, the most important and significant practice a Muslim can do is to ask Allah for His Guidance and Help to let you achieve what you have set out for.
- Changing your own behaviour: Make sure the behaviours you want to change are specific, measurable, and attainable. Give yourself some freedom in the goals you set.
- Make a realistic plan: Set yourself up for success by making sure you have practical ways to reach your goals. Develop practical ways to deal with any obstacles that come up.
- Avoid making too many changes at once. Focusing on too many behavioural changes at the same time may be tempting, but it can be overwhelming.
Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:
- “Mankind is a single nation.” (Quran 2:213)
- “Allah loves those who are patient.” (Quran 3:145)
- “Bear patiently what they (abusers) say.” (Quran 20:130)
- “Serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience.” (Quran 39:2)
- “Whenever they (true believers) are angry they forgive.” (Quran 42:37)
- “Do good to others, surely Allah loves those who do good to others.” (Quran 2:195)
- “Be good to the neighbour belonging to your people and the alien neighbour.” (Quran 4:36)
- “O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful people.” (Quran 9:119)
- “Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.” (Fussilat: 42)
- “It guides to the right way, so we believe in it, and never we will associate with our Lord anyone.” (Surah Al-Jinn 72:2 )
- “Do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exultingly.” (Quran 31:18)
Our culture often encourages us to fixate on the negative. But when we are trying to implement lasting change, we have a greater chance of succeeding if we focus on solutions, not problems. Of course, we need to initially understand the root of the problem but obsessing over that isn’t helpful. Allah says:
كَدَأْبِ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَأَخَذَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
“Like (the) way (of) people of Firaun and those who (were) before them. They disbelieved in (the) Signs (of) Allah, so Allah seized them for their sins. Indeed, Allah (is) All-Strong (and) severe (in) the penalty.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:52 )
Think about it this way: if we keep our attention on what’s wrong or on our failures, those thoughts will dominate our headspace. On the flip side, if we choose to focus on what’s working, those thoughts become more prevalent. Allah says:
قَالُوا إِنْ هَٰذَانِ لَسَاحِرَانِ يُرِيدَانِ أَن يُخْرِجَاكُم مِّنْ أَرْضِكُم بِسِحْرِهِمَا وَيَذْهَبَا بِطَرِيقَتِكُمُ الْمُثْلَىٰ
They said, “Indeed, these two [two] magicians they intend that they drive you out of your land with their magic and do away with your way the exemplary.” (Surah Ta-Ha 20:63 )
When we dream of being the ‘perfect’ Muslim, we may dream of being memorizers of the Qur’an. We may wish that we have millions of dollars to end world hunger or to buy our loved ones the most fabulous gifts. Sometimes though, what takes us closer to being this ‘perfect’ Muslim is improving our behaviour.