23 Birthday Resolutions (1/2)

This blog is about sharing, this is why I am dedicating this post to my birthday resolutions. Those who know me know how organized I am: I love having planners, writing down to-do lists, planning everything coming forward and keeping track of my evolution and reflecting on it.

My birthday cake ! Delicisous is not strong enough to describe how it was !

I make tons of resolutions on the go, but the two major periods when I write these down are: my birthday and the new year. I think those are perfect occasions to reflect on everything -good and bad- I have been doing over the last 'year'. The two lists usually have a lot in common, the new year's one serves as a milestone to check what I have achieved and what would require more work! In fact I like to prioritize. Consequently, in order to keep my resolutions feasible I choose key numbers, for example for my 23rd birthday, I have made 23 resolutions. I am sharing with you the first half of this year's resolutions, and would love to receive feedback. How do you set objectives? Do you make resolutions? How often? and how do you evaluate your achievements?

The order stands for my perceived importance of each of the resolutions. The order and the frequence in which I will execute them is a totally different story.
  1. Learn more about Islam. Knowing more about my religion is my number one resolution. It usually comes at the top of my resolutions' list because I believe there is much to know and as it is a 'fard' that each muslim seeks knowledge about his/her religion, I should plan on dedicating some time to knowing more about the different facets of Islam. I am also aware that I should be seeking concise and correct information that goes along with the Maliki Madhab followed in Morocco, verifying the 'hadiths' I hear and ensuring I understand the different angles of the topics I explore.There are many subjects of interest to me and which I think I will be sharing with you as I do further research such as Leadership in Islam. (Your suggestions are more than welcome)
  2. Spend more time with family: I value family very very much. I realize that as we grow up, we have more things to take care of and consequently less time to spend with our families. I refuse to let go of those bonds that link me to them. (Please note I am not talking about parents, siblings and family-in-law only, this includes aunts, uncles and cousins from my side and my husband's). This year, I will not say no to visiting a relative, will try to keep in touch and strengthen my relationships with those close people. The best thing about this is that it also falls under following the instructions of Islam 'silat al rahim'
  3. Reconnect with friends: I am happy to let you know I have a lot of friends from around the world. (I will share with you my definition of friendship at a later time) Long story short, I am surrounded by SUPER girl friends with whom I share different passions, discussions and even some meaningless girl talks. It is sad that sometimes, because people are busy (yes this is what people are, in case you didn't know ! :D), I tend to spend a long time without asking about or hearing from a friend of mine. This does not mean I do not care about them anymore, or I forgot them: absolutely not... It is just an awful mixture of lazyness and tight schedules! This year, I want it to be different. I will try to have at least one skype reunion per week with one of my lovely friends abroad (I am thinking France, Germany, Italy, Egypt and USA; and since I am moving it would be interesting to explore this option for friends in different cities in Morocco). 
  4. Share some of my research: I remember telling you that I am a software engineer, who has just graduated. For my master's thesis I chose to work on the quality of human-computer interaction (HCI) in e-commerce sites. Too many ugly words for my non-geek audience, I know. Bottom line, I reached interesting conclusions that might make a difference (a very positive one) in the way you shop online. I would love to share some of these and introduce you people to some of these concepts. Plus I believe that knowledge is not the property of people, it belongs to everybody and is an excellent 'sadaka', so Yes I am going to be investing in this.
  5. Read a lot: I love reading, and it goes from random articles published online to huge books that have shaped the history and made today's world. I read in the French, English and a little in Arabic. Please don't take me wrong, I have absolutely no problems with Arabic, I love it, respect it as it is the language of Quran and even used to be excellent at it at school (Yes Yes :D). I have not yet decided what books I will be reading this year, so please do not hesitate to share your thoughts with me. 
  6. Volunteer with an association: I am from Fes originally but will be moving to Casablanca in August, so I definitely need help with this resolution. I would like to find an association, seriously acting to enhance the socio-economic situation of Moroccan citizens through different actions. I believe that giving back is a very rewarding experience and that it is a way to be thankful to God for all He has given me. Please Please people living in Casablanca, help !! I would prefer the members to be youths from different backgrounds in order to make the sharing experience as rich as it can be. 
  7. Decorate a beautiful house: It is not a secret anymore, my husband and I are renting an apartment which we'll be calling 'home' -hopefully for the few coming years-. We are planning to start from scratch and what I like the most about this is being able to personalize all the pieces of the house, choosing the colors, mixing the textures and the materials and building up something beautiful. Meanwhile, I am studying under scrutiny all the home decor ideas I come across. (Try Pinterest to check some brilliant ideas and dreamy pictures)Also, I do painting on glass and fabric and I will soon show you some of the things I will be hanging on my walls. If you have addresses to give me for good deals, go ahead !
  8. Explore fashion: I have made it clear from the very beginning, I am passioned about fashion, haute couture, design and all that has to do with creativity, creation and involves clothes, scissors... I have been taking classes about Moroccan fashion design and would love to carry on. I would love to learn more about the history of costumes, the styles that distinguish countries and cultures over the world and how the trends are moving the fashion industry. 
  9. Learn how to cook: Cooking can be a hobby and a passion if you do it with love. I have always loved making pastries. The thing is, being a very neat person, I need the kitchen to be so clean and organized before I start preparing anything. This is why I have been waiting to have my own place in order to learn how to cook. In addition, although I like Moroccan food, I think that the world has so many dishes and recipes to explore. I will definitely be trying meals from around the globe, adding spices and experiencing different tastes. The challenge I'd like to set then is to cook healthy
  10. Exercise regularly: I am not starting this resolution until September inchaAllah. It is more a plan than a resolution because I have taken the decision to find a nice gym and to schedule my workouts as mandatory sessions to attend rather than leisure or free time programs. I would love to get back to Yoga, but would also be happy to do some aerobics and swimming.
  11. Manage stress: I shall recognize I get stressed out very easily and sometimes for unsignificant reasons. The problem is that it affects more than my mood and my health, it propagates to the people around me, and I hate bringing negative energy. This year, I will remember to use the rule of 7 which I've been taught in the Study of the United States Institute's program on Women's Leadership back in 2010. Basically what this consists of is that 7 is enough to get past a crisis or a difficult situation (7 seconds, minutes, or maybe weeks, months). The important is to set the time measure and use it to calm down, get over the bad emotions, heal from the inside if something is really hurting. I will use this rule to calm down and ensure myself everything is under control and I can do it.
This is the first half of my birthday resolutions. I will be happily sharing updates about how I manage them. The other part is coming soon...

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