As my Muslim friend (TheSisterWhoSmiles) reminds me all the time, being a Muslim is not state of being - it's a process of becoming. No matter how much of a sinner we are, we can always make conscious decisions to become a better Muslim as part of our spiritual Lesser Jihad.
"The best jihad [struggle] is the one who strives against his own self for Allah, The Mighty and Majestic." - Hadith
I've given up many things for Islam, and am currently in the process of giving up some more things. Being brought up in an Islamophobic family, there have been major obstacles which I had to fight to become a better Muslim.
Here are some of my personal obstacles:
Alcohol. My father loves it and its various forms: beer, wine, vodka, whisky, etc. Every now and then, he buys a new brand of alcohol, and he expects my mother and I to try some, and I do, sometimes. Most of the time, I make an excuse about studying for an exam. I haven't told my parents that I have reverted, mainly because I am still living with them and I do not want any arguments. But insha'Allah I will tell them in the future. I have vowed that I will not drink alcohol, but I think this is going to be one of my greatest struggles.
Pork. I love(d) it. Bacon, Sausages, Pork Pies - very British, and very delicious. Islam, however, forbids it, as it is "unclean" and is destructive towards the soul. I still sometimes eat pork, even after my reversion, maybe once or twice a month. Astaghfirullah. I hope that by the end of this year, I will be pork-free, insha'Allah. Besides, it's high in cholesterol.
Swearing. My mother loves it. I hear it all the time from my mother, my friends (and enemies), and, of course, songs and movies often contain it. These influences have surrounded and it hurts that I cannot escape from it fully. Being trapped in a profane world is not very... conducive for a moral soul. Sometimes, I swear accidentally without realising, and it is a constant reminder of my sins, and things for which I have to atone.
Forgetting to Pray. My excuse is that I've never been to a Mosque, because there isn't one anywhere near where I live, and neither are there many "properly-practising" Muslims. Because of this, I just forget to pray, and when I remember, I forget the Arabic, but I carry on in English nevertheless. Someone please teach me how to pray properly?
Not Fasting. Since my parents don't know I was Muslim last Ramadan, they made sure on several occasions that I ate breakfast and dinner. Lunches at school were difficult, but I tried as much as I could. Insha'Allah this Ramadan will be much, much easier.
Disrespect to Parents. Unfortunately, this happens all the time, due to disagreements. Astaghfirullah. I pray that this year will be a better year for my family.
... I'm sure there are many more, and I hope anyone reading this could give me any tips on how to become a better Muslim. :)
"Say: 'I seek refuge in the Lord of Daybreak from the mischief of His creation; from the mischief of the night when she spreads her darkness; from the mischief of conjuring witches; from the mischief of the envier, when he envies.'" - The Holy Qur'an (Surah 113)