Assalamu alaykum (peace and blessings upon you)
Ramadan is just around the corner! I couldn't be more excited for it :)
We have less than a month before Ramadan begins, it is essential to start preparing for it from now to get the most out of this blessed month.
I find that in the past few years we learn so much about Ramadan during the actual month...unfortunately that means by the time we get into a routine and we are motivated to read Quran and pray, Ramadan is about to end :(
I want this year to be different, so let's start from now! The companions of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to prepare for Ramadan 6 MONTHS BEFORE IT CAME!
Ramadan is the month of the Quran, many people try to complete the Quran within the 30 days of the month. From my own experience, unfortunately, I've seen many people fail at this. If you do not regularly read the Quran on a daily basis before Ramadan, it will be near to impossible for you to complete the Quran in one month. So start from now, and if you already read on a regular basis then increase the amount you usually read.
Ramadan is also all about controlling your desires and abstaining from food and drink. If you wish to make this easier on yourself during the month so that you do not feel fatigued and exhausted in the first few days, try abstaining from over eating in the coming days. For those who are addicted to coffee and NEED their coffee to survive, try slowly reducing your intake of coffee from now so you can stay strong in Ramadan!
Don't forget that Ramadan is also all about giving and becoming more aware of those who are less fortunate in the world. Start thinking about which charities you wish to donate to throughout Ramadan, and how much you wish to give on a daily basis. Perhaps go out and buy yourself a nice money collection tin and start putting your loose change in it from now.
A MAJOR part of Ramadan is prayer, in Ramadan there is SO much more prayer involved, with tahajud and taraweeh. There is no point in involving yourself with these nafl prayers if your 5 daily fard prayers are not perfected. ensure that your currently dedicating enough time for your 5 daily prayers, pray on time and take your time. Think about what you are reciting in the prayers and sit after each prayer contemplating and doing some dhikr. I found a great app on iPhone called "Did You Pray" it reminds you to pray and rates your prayer, I have been using it lately and I recommend it for everyone seeking to improve their praying habits!
My final advice would be to purify our intentions, we want the most rewards out of the coming Ramadan. So sit with yourself and ensure that all the ibaadah you do is purely for Allah's sake. Don't forget that actions are judged based on your intentions.
May Allah allow us to gain the most reward out of this Ramanda, may he make it easy on us and guide us to the best way to approach it; may He keep us on his right path and forgive all our past and future sins AMEEN!