If we were born selfless and centered, strong and virtuous character would be perfectly natural for us. We wouldn't have to think about it at all. But we were born just the opposite - selfish and self-centered. Strength and virtue will have to be acquired and developed over time and tribulation. The more stubborn and lazy we are the longer it takes, and the more we suffer guilt, regret and injured or failed relationships. The laziness refers to an aspect of human nature that's loathe to do the maintenance part of the work. Everyone "wants" to build character and integrity but few want to do the required maintenance.
Doing something that's against your ego or self-centered nature requires diligent attention. You can't just do it once and forget it. That's because your self-centeredness is still operating. And until that's overcome, you have to remain in maintenance mode indefinitely. It's like an alcoholic who can't heal his disease or change his genetic makeup - but he can stop drinking!
How frequently must this "renewal maintenance" be practiced? Every New Year? We all know that doesn't work. How about every new month - perhaps to coincide with the full moon? No. The full moon has too mystical a connotation. You may be a little eccentric but you're not loony! How about at the beginning of every new week? No. That's too infrequent to work. But at least we have the new part right.
How about starting your life anew every new day? Now thats doable - and most effective. A new day is always so full of promise and anticipation. Wipe the slate clean daily. Start fresh with the rising of each new sun. Yesterday is in the history books. Recreate or reinvent yourself every day in the image of your ideal.
Made a mistake? Said or did the wrong thing or in the wrong way or at the wrong time? No problem. Think nothing of it. Tomorrow you can correct it and it's like it never happened. That's the magic of living one day at a time. If the person you offended continues judgment against you beyond the day, that's his or her failing. Not yours. You move on to do the next right thing in the next present moment, while the "offended" person remains indefinitely stuck in his misery.
All you have to do is be aware of the error in the present moment. Once you clearly recognize the flaw or shortcoming in what you think, say or do, it's much easier to not do it again. Mistakes are not the problem, but repeating them due to lack of detached awareness is the problem, is the sin. Simply notice your denial when you're in denial. Notice your procrastination while procrastinating, your complacency, your fear, insecurity, resentment, anger, impatience, and so on - while you're in that mode.
Asking is key to getting. The first thing you do each morning is get on your knees - literally or figuratively, and ask your higher self or higher power - which is located in the subconscious part of your mind, to remove that particular defect of character by name. And depending on your degree of sincerity, humility and gratitude - it will and must do so. It's amazing! Remember that a person of character and integrity doesn't do what he wants to do; he does what he has to do. And daily renewal is what you have to do!