Quote of the Day

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“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” -Emma Lazarus, as engraved on the Statue of Liberty

Quote of the Day


“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goals vs Resolutions

Happy 2017 peeps! May this be the most successful, rewarding, joyous and blessed year yet Insha’Allah!

As I went through my previous rants of years past, I found one I had written over eight years ago for my career development blog on goal planning. Now as you’ve set resolutions for 2017, let me ask you, when was the last time you actually went passed February with any of your resolutions still in mind?

That got me thinking about how we go about our new year’s resolutions. Can my idea of goal planning from eight years ago be applied today? I took a hard look at it and realized that yes it can. With that in mind, here’s a fresh take on how to apply an old habit for new year’s, and quite frankly, all year round.

Goals vs Resolutions
Goal Planning for 2017
by Ms. Hala

First week of January and I’m sure you’ve got your new years resolution set. Maybe even started working on it? What’s your new years resolution this year? Is it to lose that holiday weight? To graduate college? To save enough money? To travel the world? That all sounds good but is it tangible enough to actually be accomplished?

Let’s start by understanding the word “resolution”.

– a firm decision to do or not to do something.
– the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.

A quick Google search of the definition shows us that it means to solve a problem, making a decision towards an action. Not sure if that’s the route you were thinking of when you were coming up with what you’d like to accomplish this year.

May I suggest using the word “goal” instead?

-the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Goal is defined by understanding your ambition, the effort you are willing to take, the end result you actually want.

Your new year’s resolution is to fix your weight problem. Your new year’s goal is to lose that extra 15 pounds by working out and changing your eating habits. Do you see the difference?

If it’s a problem, then it’s a resolution but if it’s an ambition, then it’s a goal. Either way, let’s plan it out together. I’ll use one of my own personal goals as an example. However, this method applies for almost anything you have in mind.

I didn’t read as many books as I should in the last two years and that to me is a problem. My new year’s resolution is to read more books. Now let’s take that and start planning my tangible goal, focusing on the ambition here. To help me break it down to a tangible goal, I’ll ask myself a handful of questions:

How many books do I want to read? -One each month.
What genre of books do I want to read? -Both fiction and nonfiction.
Do I have all desired books to read on hand? -No
Can I read around my busy work schedule? -Yes
Where can I find the best books in this part of the world? -Online if not at the local bookshop.
Do I want to read just English language books? -No

You’d be surprised how much it can expand out and sometimes become a bit complex. The destination is only as great as the journey.

Take out a sheet of blank paper (yes paper, or at least type it out and print it out) to create your goal plan. On top, put your tangible 2017 goal. Underneath that, write your monthly goals towards the main goal of the year. Then again, break down your weekly goals for each month.

This break down is to help you see how you are progressing and what you still need to complete towards your goal. You can even break it down further to daily tasks to achieve the weekly goals towards the main goal. What do I need to do every day to achieve my goal? I need to do some research on the books I have in mind. Go to the local book store. Purchase books online, either physical or digital. Plan out my reading schedule for the week.

Here’s what mine looks like thus far which includes the book I started reading last year.

Put that sheet of paper somewhere visible to you every day. The constant reminder will help you stay on top of your goal plans. Note your daily tasks in your calendar so that you can be reminded of it. Mark off what you’ve completed so you’re motivated to keep going. Missed a task? It’s OK, reschedule it. Didn’t reach your goal for the week? That’s fine, add it on to the rest of the month. Life happens and  you will need to reevaluate those small tasks and weekly goals for feasibility from time to time. These little changes are OK, don’t be bummed out about it. If anything, it’ll help you regain your focus and keep you motivated towards the end goal.

What does Ms. Hala do?

With the sheet of paper up on my fridge, I’m reminded of what my ambition is for the year. My weekly goals and daily tasks are listed in my Google calendar where I’ll get push notifications straight to both my phone and tablet. I even keep a private journal of my main goal for the year and months, note down any changes and progress.

When I started my MBA many years ago, by goal was to graduate by 2010. I had the wallpaper on my phone of my college graduation picture. This motivated me every time I looked at my phone, especially on those frustrating days working on an assignment, of what I was working towards.

What’s your goal for 2017? What’s it going to take for you to achieve it? Will you be working on it past February?

Good luck peeps!

Treat Yourself on Your Birthday!

When my family called me from back home to wish me a happy birthday, I was either on the plane or half asleep on the beach. We got to talking about how we don’t treat ourselves enough and how happy they were that I was treating myself with this trip to Muscat, Oman.
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I had a pattern of always working or studying on my birthday. Moving to Qatar and celebrating my first birthday alone in the midst of the roughest year of my adult life put a lot of things in perspective.

I started treating myself as often as possible, especially on my birthday. Every year, I’ve taken my birthday off from work (paid or otherwise) to enjoy a spa day, shopping spree, fancy meals, complete utter laziness and this year, headed on my first semi solo trip.

I took a short trip to Muscat, Oman where the first two days was spent between getting pampered or sitting on a private beach basking in the glory that God created. When my gal pals landed, we head off to a full day of sight seeing villages, beaches, sink holes and canyon walk/climb. When the hell have I ever freaking walk up a canyon peeps? That was exhausting so we ended our long weekend on the beach and a birthday cake filled lunch before we said “ma elsalama Oman”.
Treat yourself peeps because you deserve it… Alhamdulillah.
I promise my Italy rants are coming up as well as my birthday weekend in Oman to follow soon after. =)

Quote of the Day


“There are some people who could hear you speak a thousand words, and still not understand you. And there are others who will understand – without you even speaking a word.” -Yasmin Mogahed

Quote of the Day

photo“But there are many millions of people who did not vote for Donald Trump because of the bigotry and hate that fueled his campaign rallies. They voted for him despite the hate. They voted for him out of frustration and anger — and also out of hope that he would bring change.” – Senator Elizabeth Warren

Thoughts: I may not agree with the individuals that voted for Trump out of frustration despite his hate rhetoric but I do understand. With this, I want to start a dialogue with those individuals that don’t like Trump but still voted for him. That don’t believe his rhetoric for a second but still voted for him. That are just sick and tired of the system as of late when they voted for him. 

Read Senator Elizabeth Warren’s entire Medium post here.

Your Right to Vote…

Your Right to Vote… and my right to be dumbfounded.

I respect your right to vote for what you deem is best for you whether it’s a presidential candidate or a state policy. However, I have the right as a minority to be dumbfounded by those who voted for someone that ran their campaign on hate or a policy that marginalizes a population.

If anyone one of my American friends voted for Trump or didn’t vote at all with the excuse of “it’s rigged” or “my vote doesn’t count”, please unfriend me.

Your vote for Trump or lack of a vote has put a huge number of the American population such as many of my family and friends at risk of deportation, injustice, violence and death.

Your vote for Trump or lack of a vote also means a win for the KKK, which in turn will undermine the efforts taken to try to bring the discussion of race relations on the table.

Your vote for Trump or lack of a vote just determined a supreme court judge that will push Trump ideologies not just for your generation but generations after you.

Your vote for Trump or lack of a vote is partially responsible for all the wrong that could happen in the next four years and it will not be making America great again.

I hope you can sleep tonight.