Morning rituals are a hot topic at the moment. People are beginning to come around to the idea that the earlier you rise, the more purposeful and productive your days can be.

I used to be a night owl. I always believed that I was most productive at night, but the truth was that I felt busy all day (not productive) and by the time the kids would be in bed I’d be whipped and nearly ready for bed myself.

The single most transformative thing I did was to start getting up earlier. It has literally changed my life!

One question I get quite frequently is “What do you do when you get up early?” So I want to take the time to share my current ritual with you.

Over the last few years my life has shifted, like everyone’s does, and I’ve tweaked and changed my routine as I’ve found suits my life best. For instance, back when my husband was still working his 9-to-5, I had to get up early in order to get any work done. Everything in my business was relying on me because I did not have the income to support a team. Once Brian was home, I still found it very difficult to write while the kids were around, so I started getting up early to write. I’d knock out 1,000 to 2,000 words before their sweet little heads would rise from the pillow.

However, I am now in a season of life when I still want to wake up early, but I can now use it for dedicated self-care time. Over time, this is how I’ve condensed my morning ritual down to a science that works really well for me.

I want to share it with you—each step, how I do it, how long it takes me, and how I make it happen every morning—in hopes that it will inspire you to take action on creating the morning that you desire.

01 Make Coffee and Get Quiet

I typically get out of bed between 5 and 5:30, and the very first thing I do is make a cup of coffee. While it’s brewing, I get quiet and sit down on the floor, which allows me to feel centered.

I focus on the things around me, like the silence, how good the coffee’s going to taste (That first cup of coffee is such a small, simple joy for me.), or maybe the smell of the candle I’ve lit or the crackling of the fireplace. I simply let my mind wander. After a few minutes pass, I allow the time to leak into meditation.

02 Meditate

Meditation is so powerful. It’s also very biblical. It depends on what you’re thinking about and how you’re going about it, but for me, meditation looks like reciting something (sometimes out loud, sometimes in my head), a word or a phrase, possibly a scripture, with my eyes closed. Closing my eyes allows me to stay present and not get distracted from the meditation.

If I feel that a word is really speaking to me, I’ll focus on that and just keep taking deep breaths while I continue reciting the word over and over again. I’m focusing on intentionality. I choose to focus on that word and then I invite the Lord to join me in my morning routine and to be present with me throughout the day.

Occasionally a distracting thought will come. I acknowledge that it’s there and then purposely let it go. I stop worrying about it and go back to repeating my word or phrase.

Doing this for 10 to 15 minutes has been proven to reduce cortisol levels, so I encourage you to meditate, even if all you can spare is five minutes. Set a timer (one without a jarring alarm) and then close your eyes and begin.

03 Pray

After I’ve finished my coffee, I will go into prayer. I give God the day and I talk to Him about what’s on my heart. If anything came up while I was meditating, I give it to God and talk it out with him and pray through it. Whatever the day may bring, I’ll pray about it.

04 Morning Pages

Morning pages is a type of journaling in which you write at least three pages a day. The first page is all about your thoughts. Basically, you want to do “stream of consciousness” writing, which may be what’s going on in your life, what’s bothering you, or anything that is going on in your head. It doesn’t matter, just let it out. If you struggle to begin, I encourage you to just start writing. Usually, if I’m unable to think of what to write, I’ll just open my journal and write “I’m sitting on the couch. The fire’s going. It’s really quiet.” And then the next sentence just begins to flow out. Try it!

The second page is all about what’s going on that day. Use this page to determine your plan for the day, collect your thoughts, and mentally get ready for the day ahead.

The third page is all about gratitude. When you’re writing this page, don’t be vague or obvious—get specific. Instead of just writing that you are grateful for your husband, you could write something like “I’m grateful for the color of my husband’s eyes, or my husband’s mild temper.” Those are just examples, but my point is to just get specific.

05 Read the Bible and Read Personal Development

I start with my Bible and focus on that for 10 minutes or so. I might read my devotional, or wrap myself up with quiet self-growth time with the Lord.

Once I’ve finished that, I wrap up my morning ritual by reading whatever personal development book I’m currently involved in. (Right now, it’s The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.) It’s that simple.

My entire ritual usually takes about an hour, and I realize that may be a lot of time for some, but you don’t need to dedicate an hour if you don’t have it. Dedicate what time you have and feel strong with the decision to begin making your mornings more purposeful.

For me, this routine has become non-negotiable. I don’t throw it aside. It doesn’t matter how busy the day is shaping up to be. I can always get up earlier to make it happen.

The reason it is such a priority is because it has deeply affected my mindset throughout the day. I start in a different place and I feel better, lighter, and more confident. This time also allows me, as a Christian, to invite the Holy Spirit to speak with me, and at the end I invite Him to be with me throughout the day. Doing this is so, so powerful.

Not only that, but it makes me a more patient person and improves my attitude. If I’m 100% honest with you, my biggest weakness is that I can be very impatient and can struggle with anger. But, when I follow through with my morning ritual, I find that I don’t struggle with these emotions very often.

Finally, it provides me with a sense of gratitude in the midst of any difficulties I may be experiencing. It allows me to step back and look at the situation and ask myself, “What is good about this?” and bring my focus there.

I hope that you find this encouraging and that you go and make your own morning ritual that serves you and makes you feel better and more together, confident, and peaceful throughout your day.

What follow-up questions do you have? Please share them in the comments! Also, you can hop over and follow me on Instagram to see how I practice intentional living in real life.

By Allie Casazza