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WEEK 27 – Write about your growth

Consolidate your growth by writing reflectively

Home > #4-Reflect > Week 27 -Write about  your growth

You have nearly completed the four-stage plan of virtue education. It is now time to draw all this together into a short piece of reflective writing. This will help you consolidate your growth.

Why this is important

You may feel like you have already achieved much.  And, that is true, for if you have been constant in your habituation in the last months, you have indeed achieved much.

But there is something about reflective writing that adds a final touch.  Think about it like putting a plant in the ground.  You’ve nourished it and it has begun to take root, but putting it in the ground will allow it to go deeper and truly flourish.   Reflective writing will help you hold together what you have done and consolidate it in your memory as a part of your life and character.

The benefits of reflective writing include:

  • An enhanced ability to consciously focus on your growth
  • A better understanding of how you have moved from weakness to strength
  • A sense of encouragement and achievement
  • A stronger commitment to the process of virtue education
  • Unpredictable thoughts on where you can improve next

Is not an hour or two of your time worth reaping these benefits?

You may think: ‘Why bother writing?’  It is not the same thing to simply go for a nice walk and reflect in my mind about my growth? No, it is not.  There is something about the slowness of writing, the forced clarity of putting words together and the sense of completeness of a manuscript, that has a much different effect.  As E.M. Forster has said, ‘How do I know what I think until I see what I say?’

Practical guidelines

Reflective writing is a simple art, and here are some sample points to guide you.

  1. Provide a brief narrative of what you did, starting with your self-evaluation, your choice of a virtue and your habituation plan.
  2. Describe the results of your two Virtue Tests. Did the comparison of the ‘before and after’ match your own perception of growth (or not) in virtue?
  3. Write down one or two anecdotes (stories) from your experience in the last months that illustrate how you have intentionally grown in virtue.
  4. What helped you grow? What would have helped more? What was the most difficult part? How did your habituation go?  What might you do to improve next time?
  5. Go back to the outcomes of virtue education that you saw at the beginning #1.1 Start here.  Try writing about the following:
    • How has attention been shaped? Do you notice more and attend more frequently to situations that require specific virtues?
    • How have your emotions changed? Do you have more feelings related to virtue or vice?
    • How have your desires been shaped? Do you want more virtue? Do you want to see more virtue around you?
    • How has your will to action been impacted? Do are you doing more things that are virtuous?
    • Have there been any changes in your expression, meaning that others are perceiving virtue in you?

Length is not an issue, and your piece of reflective writing can be as long or as short as you want.  A short set of bullet points works best for you, or you may ramble and follow your thoughts for many pages, gaining clarity and insight as you progress.  Whatever you do, take the time to do it well and do not yield to the temptation of shortcuts. What you produce will hopefully be a meaningful  landmark for your growth.

You are likely to be surprised by the benefits of this activity. If you are working with a group, or have chosen to be accountable to someone, share what you have written.

When you have done, proceed to the final section where you will celebrate and make plans for next steps.

Next > Week 28-Celebrate and plan what comes next

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