It probably doesn't take much for us to realize that we all have sinned. We're not perfect, yet; but along the away towards perfection and sainthood, we need some help getting back up on the straight and narrow.
While a confession of mortal sins is only required once a year (CIC 989), we are in need of confession every time we commit a mortal sin; it is available to us weekly.
Making a good confession
Most of the work of your confession can and should be done before arriving. Take some time to prayerfully go through an examination of conscience. There are many available; we've provided some promoted by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Remember, these are just guides to assist you in preparation.
As you prepare, keep in mind that you must confess your mortal sins and approximately the number of times they were committed since your last confession. Remember, the only sin that God does not forgive is the one we do not give over to Him. Sins always make us uncomfortable, but worse is for them to remain chained to our hearts.
"Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him" (CCC 1855).
Mortal sins involve grave matter: Gal 5:18-21, 1 Cor 6:9-10, Ten Commandments, Seven Deadly Sin, etc. They must have been committed with full consent and knowledge.
"Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it" (CCC 1855).
Venial sins are like a disease, which untreated weakens the soul to accept temptations for mortal sin, thus separating the individual from salvific grace. Venial sins must be rooted out of one's heart, as also sin places distance between us and God.
Know that as you approach this Sacrament: the priest is no judge but a dispensor of God's mercy. Fear nothing except refusing to confess a sin. It was for this very moment that Jesus died upon the cross; it was to set you free from all of your sins and to enjoy the freedom of the sons and daughters of God the Most High.
Complete your penance as soon as possible. Offer a small prayer of thanksgiving for God's great mercy and forgiveness. Don't forget to ask to benefit from every grace that comes from this Sacrament. Seek to root out sin from your life by making a concrete resolution through planning a strategy. Rejoice in the Lord.
Choose either confessing behind the screen or face to face, whichever helps you to make a fuller and more complete confession.