Let's Talk Personal Development Reflections

5 Lessons I Learnt In 2018 And My Focus Words For 2019

Hi everyone!

As it is the end of the year, I’ve asked people on my Instagram to give me a topic to write about. This first topic is from a dear friend of mine, Miss Nakiliah aka eyeameproject who wanted me to write on:

The 5 lessons you learned this year.

If you follow me on Instagram, feel free to add to the topics because I promise to reply to every single one In sha Allah. 

The lessons I’ve learned this year is quite a heavy topic so I thought the best way to answer it is to take you all through my focus words for 2018 and my new ones for 2019.


“I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace and understanding. I am still learning.” – Muhammad Ali


I decided on this word early in January on my way home from a bridal shower which undoubtedly is one of the highlights of my year. It was such a beautiful event filled with love and warmth and I remember thinking to myself that I wanted this year to be marked by me seeking new experiences and knowledge.

Alhamdulilah, I’ve done so many new things this year and pushed myself out of my comfort zone both personally and professionally. I went on a road trip to Brighton with two of my friends which was incredible and started Bookversations with Suad which I am really proud of! I learnt how to code and the list goes on and on. One thing that I have learnt from this focus word is not to discard new experiences but also pay attention to my intuition when I hate something. In the past I’ve been really quick either in dismissing certain relationships or experiences because I didn’t think they would be for me. This year proved me absolutely wrong in terms of understanding that some things in life just need time. On the other hand, I need to get better at listening to my gut feeling about certain things especially when it relates to social events. (Note to Mahmoudat: You’re never going to love hanging out in big groups!) Lastly the prayer of Istikhara has been a life saver in making my heart feel at peace whenever I make new decisions. This is something I definitely want to carry over into 2019 In sha Allah.

“Service is the rent we pay for living on this earth, for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.” – Muhammad Ali


It’s crazy to think that I graduated from LSE this summer but Alhamdulilah I did it! There were times during my final year that were really stressful and I remember going into uni earlier in the year, being at Holborn station and thinking to myself; today your thoughts aren’t going to be solely focused on your problems or your to-do list. The only thing to focus on is this question: “How can I serve someone?”

This thinking radically changed my year because it got me out of the self obsession that I had with my problems. You would be surprised what opportunities you notice whether it’s at home, in your friendships, at work or wherever. This question contributed a lot to my happiness this year Alhamdulilah. (Note to Mahmoudat: Do more of this whenever you find yourself consumed with problems)

“I can’t see what God’s plan is. I just know I’ve got to live with it.” – Muhammad Ali


This is the only focus word that I can’t remember when it came to mind but Ya Rabb, it’s like Allah knew that I would need it this year more than ever. I’m still learning so much about what it means to surrender to God but graduating university this year with results that I was disappointed in and having my parents and family friends throw me the best graduation get together ever, plus getting the job that I wanted taught me so much about the power of surrendering and letting go so that God can direct my life. The greatest author of your life is Allah. I will be forever moved by the love of the people Allah has placed in my life.

With 2018 almost over, my focus words for 2019 are based on some of the lessons that I have learnt this year.


“Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning. At sunrise, every soul is born again.” – Muhammad Ali


In 2019, I want to discover playing again and spending time doing things that I enjoy which are creative and makes me feel alive. I want to tap into the kind of innocence that children have which links to the my 2018 focus word of surrendering and enjoying the world more. This year I spent a week with all my cousins in Wolverhampton in my Aunt’s place and I have such beautiful memories from the week. Another great moment was watching a horror film with my cousin which practically turned into a comedy show and I was laughing for two hours. I want to read more books that keep me up at night like Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I want more Brighton moments, gisting about SGIT with my love and more heart to heart Bookversations moments.

I have learned to live my life one step, one breath, and one moment at a time, but it was a long road. – Muhammad Ali


One thing that I’ve discovered about myself this year is that I make bad decisions when I don’t have the space to pause. My bullet journaling this year where I capture the small tiny moments in my life has allowed me to pause and pay more attention. In 2019, I want to do more pausing. I want to pause before I speak, I want to pause before saying yes, I want to pause by doing more yoga and meditating, I want to pause so that my speech connects with my heart and I want to pause so that I everything that I do is done with the best of intentions.

“We have one life, it soon will be past. What we do for God is all that will last.”- Muhammad Ali


I want to look back on 2019 and think to myself that I lived a purpose driven life. Life is finite and losing my Grandmother this year taught me a lot of things. There are so many different ways for us to connect with our purpose of worshipping and serving Allah and in 2019, I want to make career leaps especially through writing that makes me feel like I am living my purpose.

The quotes in this blog are all from Muhammad Ali because Soul of A Butterfly was one of my favourite reads this year!

I pray that you benefited from this post and I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic! Join the conversation below by sharing the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in 2018.


  1. Reblogged this on Olayinka Chadwick Boseman and commented:
    JazākAllāhu Khayran, I really enjoyed reading this post and especially liked the Muhammad Ali quotes with each topic.

    Great idea with the focus words! For me, my 2018 focus words are: Zcourage, boundaries and self-worth. In 2019 in shā Allāh, I want to pause, reflect and listen.

    Many thanks for your work. It gives me great insights when I read your posts. Shukran


  2. JazākAllāhu Khayran, I really enjoyed reading this post and especially liked the Muhammad Ali quotes with each topic.
    Great idea with the focus words! For me, my 2018 focus words are: Zcourage, boundaries and self-worth. In 2019 in shā Allāh, I want to pause, reflect and listen.
    Many thanks for your work. It gives me great insights when I read your posts. Shukran

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww sis Barakh’Allahu Feeki! It means so much and Alhamdulilah for your company and wisdom this year. Love your focus words for the coming year! May Allah swt make it a successful one Ameen xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The biggest lesson I learnt in 2018 was “How to make Du’a” so the part where you talked about pausing resonated with me. I shouldn’t just make Du’as, I shouldn’t just say things, I should actually process things first most especially when I am on a grill. Moving forward to 2019, I really want to be more in tune with my inner self.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Masha Allah! I absolutely loved this!

    This year I tried to focus on stepping out of my comfort zone, which saw me doing a lot of things I would have previously been too scared or self conscious to do. I’m now going to push my limits even further because I know there is so much more I’m capable of but I hold myself back with my own limiting beliefs

    Your article has inspired me to think of my own 3 focus words for the year!

    Jazakallahu khair

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you! And so happy to hear that you pushed yourself outside your comfort zone – it definitely does wonders in boosting confidence and getting you to challenge limiting self beliefs. Masha Allah love the focus words too! May Allah swt make your year a blessed and fulfilling one Allahuma Ameen x


  5. Greetings and Salaam Sis. I’m warmed you gained so much from this year. Next year is going to be a big year for everyone, especially you my love, so count me in for a few play dates ..our inner children can become friends running wild in the park, blowing bubbles, holding hands and drinking fruit infused water..See you then sis

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How am I just seeing this?! This is one of the best posts I’ve read! And I love that one of your focus words for 2019 is PLAY. I’ll take a leaf from your book and rest more 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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