This new year, what are you planning to do more of? Or less of? To assist with your reflections, here are ten tips to consider. As ever, the idea is to strive toward progress, not perfection. Let's make 2024 a healthy, productive, and balanced year for us all.

  1. Use technology responsibly

Media and technology are vital tools to help us stay informed about current events and better understand the world we are part of. Social media especially can be important for connection, conversation, and learning. But some sections can contain biases, misinformation, and sensationalised content. In 2024, be discerning: make sure to get your news from trusted, independent sources. By taking a moment to consider the factual basis of news we consume and share, we can help to defeat disinformation

  1. Help someone with their mental health

Did you know, Muslims believe that the human mind has an elevated status and importance? It is through the mind that each of us can achieve knowledge of Allah and His creation, and keeping a healthy state of mind ensures dignity and honour for each of us. If you know someone that might be feeling lonely, suffering anxiety, or facing a difficult time, reach out and ask how you can help. Any one of us may take on the responsibility to care for someone who needs a listening ear, or a shoulder to lean on.

  1. Protect the environment

- Did you know that a profound connection between Islam and the environment has existed for centuries? Our faith teaches us to care for Allah’s creation, which includes people, animals, and the Earth itself. This places a moral duty on us to be mindful of our impact on the planet, and make smart choices about our consumption. Let’s help to leave behind a more sustainable world for future generations to enjoy.

  1. Make smart choices with money

It is human nature to constantly crave more. Corporations have even made an industry out of tapping into our consumerist desires. But people with less are sometimes the happiest and most generous people. In 2024, instead of spending money on too many material things, take a moment to think about the line between comfort and excess. The global economy is likely to have ups and downs over the coming year. Now is a time to be prudent with finances.

  1. Learn something new 

Hazrat Ali once said that “The most self-sustaining wealth is the intellect,” which “gives one mastery over one's destiny.” Today, having access to online learning platforms means it has never been easier to learn or try something new. This year, why not pick up a new book, or several! Or you could spend time learning a new language, trying new recipes, practising a musical instrument, or learning more about our faith. Not only will you develop yourself personally, you’ll also acquire knowledge to better prepare for our next tip.

  1. Volunteer 

Service is an important ethic in our Tariqah and our Jamat has a long tradition of volunteering. Time and again, Mawlana Hazar Imam has recognised and appreciated the importance and value of such service. Volunteering at Jamatkhana or in your local neighbourhood can encourage initiative, develop leadership skills, and offer opportunities for personal development. In his literary masterpiece The Prophet, author and poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give…”

  1. Make healthy choices

Think about prioritising your wellbeing in 2024. Adequate sleep, regular exercise, and balanced nutrition is timeless and reliable advice, and will contribute to improved physical and mental health to help you feel your best. Try improving these three aspects for the next 15 days and see how you feel! For your own benefit, push yourself to sustain these healthy habits throughout January and beyond.

  1. Redress the balance in your life

Our lives today are incredibly demanding, with many competing priorities. We have our work, schoolwork, families, aspirations, and anxieties all pulling us in different directions. With so many competing priorities, how can one be calm and centred? Mawlana Hazar Imam has spoken many times of the need to balance the spiritual and material aspects of life. Think about whether your life is currently unbalanced, and strive to strike a steady equilibrium.

  1. Engage with difference

This year, try to learn about a person from a different background to yours. This could be someone from another religion, race, or culture, or someone differently-abled, mentally or physically. The Qur’an says that Allah created all humans from a single soul, and that difference adds to the beauty of the world. This is the essence of pluralism. In 2024, let’s build a peaceful world where diversity is embraced and valued.

  1. Draw lessons from adversity

Last year may have been a difficult one for some of us. Yet, we can remain thankful, as challenging times can teach us about ourselves and what we need to flourish. A dose of humility and self-awareness should be sought as we welcome in the new year. The poet, writer, and activist Maya Angelou once said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” There’s plenty about 2023 that you probably cannot wait to leave behind, but for each of us, there might also be some valuable lessons to take forward into 2024 and beyond.