A lot of people have a hard time getting self-motivated when success depends on a persistent and difficult effort. I had this problem myself but alhamdulillah over the years I’ve instead formed myself into a go getter.

I’ve heard so many times “how do you do it?”, “I can’t do it”, “I can never be like that person”, “I need someone else to make me do it”. I’ve got a few thoughts to share with you on this problem.

Procrastination and laziness are two of Shaytain’s biggest allies in preventing us from achieving success.  No one is born a world class champion but likewise no one is born a lazy coach potato. These are traits and actions we develop over time.

As Muslims we should be the least lazy and most disciplined people on earth. Performing Salah (prayer), Sawm (fasting) and participating in physical activity should mold us into more disciplined people. If you are stagnating it’s time for a check up, slap yourself and wake up!

Time

It’s true time is rarely on our side, it’s the one thing we can’t buy back and must use wisely.

“By time indeed, mankind is at a loss. Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience” Qur’an (103:1-3)

There’s a lot we learn through life as time goes by and unfortunately some of these things become things we should have done or things we know we could have done. I wish I could go back in time to tell myself the importance of nutrition, kick myself for being lazy and obsessed with food after marriage. The list goes on but the past is something we learn from, we must focus on the present and future.

Remind yourself that every breath you take is another second you can’t get back. Tomorrow and later are not excuses not to do something today and now. The longer you excuse yourself the further away your chances of success. It will take time to reach your goals, but time will pass no matter what, so don’t waste time. If I didn’t have a save it for later attitude I would have achieved my goals sooner. Your body will not magically change from fat to muscular by you sitting around waiting for time to pass.

I don’t have time

Time not being on our side is no reason to make it our excuse. I hate hearing the “I don’t have time” excuse. If you have a goal you want to achieve you must dedicate time to that goal. You must learn to prioritize. If something’s important to you, you will make a way to do it, if not you’ll make excuses.

“There are two blessings which many people lose: health and free time for doing good.”(Bukhari 8/421)

Unless you’re working three jobs and sleeping 4 hours a day you have time and don’t know it yet. Don’t waste your time or health.

I drive 60km one way every day to work, 10km one way to the gym, I drive the wife to work and school and I sometimes have extra errands and groceries. That’s easily an average of 150km every day and I’m no truck driver, I have an office job.

I manage to have a marriage, work, go to a 24 hour gym and despite an already filled schedule I’ve added this website as an extra chore of my to do projects and alhamdulillah. What’s my point? If you want to succeed in something, you don’t find time, you make time and prioritize.

I remember in school a course teaching us time management. A lot of students complained of not having time to do their homework. After logging all our activities for a whole week, we found out that everyone had time to spare.

How was time wasted? TV, Internet, Video Games, Social Networking, YouTube, laying around bored — you get the point.

To prove this, I want you to perform an exercise: design a table by hand or in an Excel spreadsheet with one whole week Monday to Friday with 24hrs in each day. Literally write down every activity by the minute: when you sleep, when you wake up, when you go to the bathroom, when you pray, when you work, when you eat. It will shed light on how much time you have and how much time you waste.

All I got to tell you is your excuses are running out of time. There’s absolutely no way that you can come back to me and tell me that you don’t have a single hour in a day to exercise. Even if you work 12 hour shifts, there has to be time in the week when you can.  Stop being lazy and stop making excuses. Start and don’t stop.

Negative attitude vs action

You have to make a decision. Do I want to be fat and weak? Do I want to be a scrawny weakling? Do I want to be an obese balloon? If the answer is no, you have to take appropriate actions to bring about changes. Sitting around day dreaming and imagining things is not going to make change happen. Action is necessary, get up!

Imagine how different history would be if everyone said “I can’t do it” or “I’m only one man”. I don’t expect you to be the best athlete in the world, maybe you will be  maybe you won’t. What you can achieve is the best that you can be. If you have no desire to change, how can you expect change to happen?

“… Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves …” Qur’an (13:11)

You have to have a goal, a plan of action and you have to follow through.  I can’t stress enough how important following through is. If you ‘try’ for a little while and give up, you already failed with your attitude before you even started. Positive attitude and persistence are key to success.

Yes you will encounter times where you fall down, but you must get right back up. Times where you take two steps forward and then one step back. In each instance you just keep going and absolutely never EVER stop, never be deterred and never give up! Believe in Allah (swt) giving you success and struggle on.

The very word struggle indicates it’s not suppose to be easy. Going from 290lbs obese to fit wasn’t easy for me. By design, Allah (swt) wants us to struggle to achieve good. It’s inherent in all of us.  Whether it’s this life (dunya) or the next life (akhira) to achieve success you must struggle. You will find that good things are hard to achieve and bad things are easy to perform.

You must have a positive attitude as a Muslim, our success is based on our attitude, dedication, sincerity and persistence. We also can’t expect things to happen by themselves. Striving is an inherent element of Islam.

Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that a person asked Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), “Should I tie my camel and have Tawakkul (trust in Allah for her protection) or should I leave her untied and have Tawakkul.” Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, “Tie her and have Tawakkul.” (Hasan) [Jami At-Tirmidhi]

High expectations

Attaining perfection (ihsan) is a fundamental teaching in Islam. All Muslims should strive to be the best in everything. Only Allah (swt) is perfect and we may never achieve everything but we must have this positive attitude. Problems arise when we don’t set realistic goals and expect immediate results. It’s failure bound to happen. You must take things one small step at a time, little by little. You have to set realistic goals, short term goals and long term goals.

I have two bodybuilders who’s physiques inspire me: Jaber Ali (Mr Punjab) and Peter Molnar (Hungarian BBer) and one powerlifter/bodybuilder: George Leeman (find him on YouTube). Yet I don’t look at myself and get deterred by not looking like them or being as strong as them.

Realistically? How long have they trained and how long have I trained? Their genetics and hormones (or hormone use) vs my own. The shape of our muscles being genetically determined, maybe I will never have my rear delts or chest or back the way some people do? Formerly obese vs always fit.

Trivial issues become your obstacle. Obsessing over what you have or don’t have. These are not going to help you achieve your goals. Scratch these negative thoughts out.

Obsessing over what you have or don’t have is going to make you fail and get depressed. This is not the attitude of a Muslim. Don’t worry about others or comparing yourself to others. Don’t feel down if you don’t have something or haven’t achieved something that someone else has.

What you have to do is strive to be the best you can be without being lazy or reserved in effort. There is a solution to every problem, you just have to be patient and persistent with a positive you can do it attitude.

Conclusion

You don’t need someone else to motivate you. What you need is to change your own mental state. That’s where the problem lies. Strengthen and change your inside to change your outside. It’s not the coach who pushes your body, it’s you who pushes your body. If you make a decision to do something good, only Allah (swt) can put trials upon you no one else can stop you. In the end it’s your heart, mind and soul that drives the body. Just like trying to be a better Muslim or training to be a better martial artist, bodybuilding is a you vs you. You are trying to be a better you. Maybe it will be harder and take more effort for you to achieve your goals compared to someone else. Simply don’t compare yourself to someone else and instead focus on how you can improve.

  • You will not achieve anything by doing nothing. Desire to change, put a plan in action, start struggling and keep on struggling and keep going. Be focused and determined.
  • Don’t be the person who looks at someone else and ‘wishes’ to be like them goes to the gym, finds it difficult and gives up saying they ‘tried’.
  • Don’t be the person who eats whatever they want exercises once every week or few months and gives up because they are not ‘seeing’ results. Real quality results take dedication, time, proper persistent nutrition and exercise. The caliphate wasn’t built in one day.
  • Don’t be the person who finds excuses all the time. Either you want to succeed or you don’t. Time passes by and doesn’t wait for you. Saying you will ‘do it’ and not follow through is your own fault and no one else. Start now, don’t stop and forget the rest.

No one will exercise for you, no one will be in your body and in the end no one will be on the day of judgment in your place but yourself. It’s a pretty simple concept. You are the only person that can determine your own actions and will get results according to the level of your actions. I hope this helps some of you inshAllah and I hope it builds up the desire in you to change from a negative to a positive mental attitude. Make du’a, strive and you will achieve inshAllah.

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