#3.3 – Just do it
Carry out your habituation plan
Ok, you’re there. You are exiting the world of theory and preparation and you are about to start practicing your habituation to educate your character. What is coming next is both the simplest and the hardest part. It is shortest to write about but the longest to do something about. Are you ready?
Here are six final tips as you set out to habituate your virtue education plan.
- Choose a time frame. Give yourself an exact start and end date of your habituation. In order to be effective in creating habits of virtue, you should practice your plan for at least 4 months.
- Set up reminder mechanisms. The easiest thing about a habituation plan is to forget about it. Typically, you start out well, and then a few weeks later remember that you’ve forgotten. At that point, it is easy to give up all together. So help yourself with reminder mechanisms. These can be a post-it on your mirror or a digital reminder from from an app. Anything works if it works for you, but set it up now.
- Be accountable. It takes a village to make a human grow. And virtue education happens best in a community. Perhaps you are lucky and you are engaging in this project with a group. In that case, work together to be accountable to each other. But if you are on your own, find at least one person to whom you can tell about your virtue education project, sharing your habituation plan and asking to be accountable. This can be a friend or a spouse or even a mentor in another country who will email you once a month to ask you how you are doing.
- Keep a journal. Some people do this regularly. Others have never done this and it will be another new habit to develop. It is a good idea to include journalling in your habituation plan. How often you journal and how you do it is entirely up to you. It can be as minimalistic as a weekly checklist (I habituated well… I was distracted… I forgot to habituate) or as thorough as a daily piece of self-reflection. The main thing is that it is regular.
- Finally, if you are a Christian, pray for your own virtue education. It is appropriate to pray and ask the Spirit to work with power in you and to make you more like Jesus.
- Return to this site and to #4 – Reflect at the end of your time frame. Mark the date in your calendar now.
An optional tip do things that focus on the virtues during your habituation. This might be further reading about them, doing further study (biblical or otherwise) or even intentionally choosing and reflecting on movies that depict virtue (and vice). The Additional Resources area of this site contains some ideas.
That’s it. Habituate well and we’ll see you back here in 4 months.
You have now completed phase #3 – Habituate, and will be ready to move onto phase #4 –Reflect after at least 4 months of habituation > #4.1 – Test again
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