First of all, I just want to say it’s great you’re looking to make a big step closer toward God!
For me, it was trying to pray always. Pray, pray, pray. Try to incorporate that in everything you do, everything you say, and everything you think. In that way, I think you might be able to avoid bad thoughts and gossip by always keeping God in mind and at the center of everything. I’m not saying God should always be the topic; when I say “Try to incorporate [prayer] in … everything you say”, I mean try to think of whether what you’re going to say is charitable or not, whether you think your words could be filled with the goodness of God, etc.
That might be a big start to incorporate God in your thoughts, words, and actions.
You can also maybe do corporal works of mercy; visiting the sick, the imprisoned, etc. Remember that faith is a response to God’s love. For me, I became a catechist.
I can definitely say I’m happier than before because of these things! I hope to one day be able to visit the sick, the imprisoned, etc. It might be hard at first to make some things a habit, but it will be worth it!