Personally, I think that it’s extremely important for one to conduct daily examination of conscience. Unless one begin to examine his own conscience on a regular basis, he will not change for the better. Sometimes the sins we have committed are so small, we fail to recognise it. It is indeed the most important means of attaining Christian Perfection.
During the examination of conscience, one will begin to reflect what he has done throughout the day. Have I sinned against God ? Have I sinned against my neighbors ? Could I have done something better ? Have I practiced charity to everyone around me ? After reflecting, proceed to do the act of contrition or the Confiteor and/or read one of the Seven Penitential Psalms.
Check if your doings throughout the day were against the Ten Commandments, the Precepts of the Church and the Seven Capital Sins. If they are of grave matter especially with full consent and knowledge, receive the Sacrament of Penance as soon as possible.
Fr. John Baptist Scaramelli, S.J., mentioned in his Directorium Asceticum the following quotes made by the Church Fathers.
St. Basil – “At the close of each day, when all our labours, both of body and mind, are brought to an end, each one, before retiring to rest, should set himself to an attentive examination of his conscience, in order to discover the faults which he has committed during the past day.”
St. Gregory the Great says, that whoever fails to examine daily into all that he has done, said, and thought, is not at home with, and present to, himself, but lives an outside and chance life, and is consequently losing sight altogether of his perfection.
St. Ephrem – “At night-time, withdrawing into the closet of thy heart, thou shouldst question thyself, saying, ‘Have I this day, offended my God in any one point? Have I spoken idle words? Have I through neglect or contempt omitted to do any good action? Have I wounded in any particular my neighbour’s feelings? Has my tongue given way to any kind of detraction? And when morning comes, examine again how thy business and thy spiritual merchandise have proceeded during the past night. Have I had any bad thoughts, have I been negligent in dwelling upon them?’”
St. Ignatius of Loyola, not content with examining his conscience twice a day, conformably with the instructions of the ancient Fathers, never let a single hour pass by without recollecting himself, and searching minutely into all his thoughts, words, and actions, during that brief space of time; repenting of every slight imperfection which the pure eye of his mind could discover, and renewing the spirit within him by a freshly-formed purpose of spending the coming hour in a more faultless manner. He was unable even to understand how any one could aspire to sanctity and not keep constant watch over his heart by examining all its movements.