1. Don’t Put Limits on the Mercy of Allah
If you think that your sins are too great or too many for the forgiveness of Allah, you are subconsciously limiting the mercy of Allah to human standards.
Allah is At-Tawwaab, the Oft-Returning, to those who turn to Him. The question is not ‘will He forgive me’; the question is, will you turn to Him? So don’t let guilt keep you away from turning to Him with heart and soul after you sin. Focus on His greatness instead of on your sin, and move on!
2. Thank Him and Know His Promises!
If Allah enabled you to feel you want to repent, thank Him because it is a blessing from Him to you. Allah says: Say:
‘O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Quran, 39:53)
Read the Quran so you can learn about His promises, as He does not break His promises. And His promises will motivate you in never despairing and will increase your love for Him!
3. Follow up a Bad Deed with a Good Deed Straight Away
Let’s say you just shouted at your spouse, or even gossiped. Make it a habit to turn to Allah straight away (however “fake” that might feel to yourself at first) and for example say instantly ‘astaghfirullaah wa atuboo ilayh’ ( I seek forgiveness from Allah and I turn to Him). Then do a good deed straight after.
The Prophet Muhammad said:
…and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out… (At-Tirmidhi)
So when you sin, for example, just open the Quran and read even one verse– plus you get ten rewards per letter— or (go online) and give sadaqah straight away!
4. Be Encouraged to Turn to Him Again and Again
Even if you repent sincerely and say you will never do it again but fall into the same sin the next day, you should still turn to Allah again and ask for forgiveness again and be determined again not to do it after.
This does not mean you use the fact that Allah accepts repentance as an excuse to sin; it means the sinner is encouraged to do tawbah again and again and again and to never stop turning to Allah!
The Prophet Muhammad said:
The one who repents from sin is like the one who did not commit sin. (Ibn Maajah)
5. Try to Compare Your Misdeeds to His Blessings
How to make your heart repent? Try to think about all those sins you committed from puberty until now, like the sins of your body (like lying, gossiping) and the sins of your heart (like envy, arrogance).
Also neglecting your duties (like disobeying your parents) as well as neglecting your acts of worship (like delaying your prayer). Now try to count the blessings of Allah regardless of all your misdeeds and you will realize what a beautiful Lord you have! Inshaa Allah this will open your heart to tawbah nasooha (sincere tawbah)!
6. Pray the Tawbah Prayer
The Prophet said:
Whenever one commits a sin, and then performs ablution perfectly, and prays two rakah wherein he seeks the forgiveness of Allah He will forgive him. (Ahmad)
What a treasure! When you sin, try to pray these two units of prayer (salat ul tawbah) straight away or at least as soon as you can and don’t let Satan tell you differently!