An important habit that we all need to cultivate in ourselves is that of assessing ourselves and our actions constantly.
We need to ask ourselves whether we are engrossed in certain sinful behaviors but our habits, a carefree attitude, our intoxications with certain desires, or not fearing Allah has made it difficult to escape the traps of those behaviors.
In such situations, use whatever light of truth that remains in your heart to pause and assess the gravity of your behaviors.
Follow that light an
d you will find a way out. Consider the following advice by Ibn Al-Qayyim:
When the servant becomes heedless of the consequences of sin, he finds pleasure in satisfying unlawful desires.
This pleasure in disobedience is evidence of his ignorance of the Greatness of the One whom he disobeys, and his ignorance of the evil consequences of sins and evil actions.
His pleasure with sin has concealed all of this from his sight. In fact, his pleasure with sin is more harmful to him than perpetrating the sin itself. The believer can never have any pleasure from sin. He cannot have complete satisfaction with it.
On the contrary, he would not even pursue it, except with grief in his heart. But the intoxication of the desires obscures one from feeling this remorse.
When the heart becomes empty from such grief and one is happy with sin, then one should question his faith and weep for the death of his heart. If it were alive, he would be sad for the perpetration of any sin, big or small.
The evil effects of sin, more often than not, go unnoticed in us and in our brothers and sisters in Islam.
Diligence in constant self-evaluation is necessary in leading us away from sin and its destructive ends.
One can do this by focusing on the following:
1. The fear of dying before making tawbah.
2. Remorse about the good that was missed because of the disobedience of Allah.
3. Working seriously to regain what has been missed.
If one becomes completely heedless then one becomes persistent, which results in constant disobedience with the intention of performing the sin again and again. This by itself is another sin that could be far greater than the first.
Part of the punishment for sin is that it leads to a greater sin, then another, and so on until it completely and certainly destroys the person if he does not repent.
Source: The State of Repentance Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah, Madaarij as-Saalikeen)