Before setting your sleep number for the evening (mine is 40, by the way), it’s a good idea to perform what’s called an “examination of conscience.” “Basically, an examination of conscience is looking back over your day and thinking about what you did right and what you did wrong.
The examination of conscience sounds a lot like the examination of self we perform in line awaiting Confession. It’s not the same thing, though they’re somewhat similar. Confession is a sacrament. A regular examination of conscience is a tool that will help you avoid having to confess what happened after that third margarita (or having that third margarita in the first place).
A trick that helps make your nightly examination more pleasant is to make a resolution in the morning to overcome a particular fault with which you’ve been struggling. “Oh God, please help me to not talk bad about so and so because they’re so…oops.” (Mulligan, anyone?)
Before your feet hit the floor, make a decision to do your best in the areas you struggle. Then in the evening you can review how well you did (or didn’t). Don’t worry if you find yourself asking God for help with the same thing over and over. Bad habits take a long time to root out. Simply thank God for what went well, and pray for grace to correct the weak spots.
Do you use an examination of conscience? If so, has it made a difference in your life? Leave a comment and let me know!