Hakim al Umma Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) once mentioned:
The purpose of self-reformation is to acquire the pleasure of Allah. In order for one to gain self-reformation, one requires two things; knowledge of the path and correct application of this knowledge. Self-reformation will be obtained through one adhering to the laws of Shariah in accordance to the Sunnah, regardless of whether the laws pertain to our external actions or internal.
In acquiring self-reformation, there are two things that will assist one greatly; remaining in zikr at all times, and remaining in the company of the pious servants of Allah as much as one is able to. If it is difficult for one to remain in the company of the pious all the time, then the substitute is for one to study the lives of our pious predecessors and their advices.
One should refrain from two things as they are the cause of impeding one’s progress; falling into sins and becoming involved in futile activities.
Together with the above, one will only be able to derive full benefit if one regularly reports his condition to his spiritual guide and sheikh (person under whose supervision he is carrying out his self-reformation).
After adopting the necessary procedures in self-reformation, each person will progress and receive blessings from Allah in accordance to his capacity and the level of commitment and dedication he shows. This is the essence of the path of self-reformation.
(Malfoozaat Hakeemul Ummat 23/56)