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WEEK 9 – A plan for practice

Develop an intentional plan to grow in virtue

Home > #3- Practice > Week 9 – A plan for practice

Ok, you’re there.  You are exiting the world of theory and preparation and you are about to start an intensive stage of practice through which you are intentionally educating your character. What is coming next is longest and the hardest part.  Are you ready?

A multi-faceted tool set

There is no one single tool to educate your character for virtue. Rather, multiple elements can work together to have a powerful shaping influence on you.

Three tools have been selected to help you intentionally work on your character during the coming weeks. These are: habituation, character friendship and virtue literacy.  You will learn more about each in greater detail in the weeks to come, but here is an initial description.

Habituation is the intentional repetition of virtuous actions to create habits of character.  Although it may seem paradoxical in some ways, habituation presupposes that doing is a prelude to becoming.  That means that you can shape what you are through habits of what you do.

Character friendship is the intentional pursuit of a relationship of accountability.  Character is not shaped in a vacuum but in community, and in particular through friendships marked by the shared commitment to virtue.

Virtue literacy is the intentional engagement with concepts and stories of virtue that will shape your character by modelling your mind and by generating desires of emulation.

As you can see, the word intention is a recurring feature of these three tools. None of them, in fact, are automatic. Each will only be effective as you continually and deliberately choose to use them.  So your will to change is the key.

This site is set up to support your will, and the coming weeks will hopefully contribute to a pattern that you will hold onto for life.

Progressively using these tools

Habituation. Character friendship. Virtue literacy.  How will these tools be used?

Rather than beginning to use all three tools at once, in the coming weeks you will incrementally be introduced to their practice.  You will start with habituation, then you will add character friendship, and then you will add virtue literacy.  As you add each new tool, you will continue practicing the previous tools, generating an incremental effect (first one tool, then two and finally all three together).

The weekly plan in this site follows this strategy:

  • In Week 10 and 11 you will be led to develop a habituation plan.  You will then practice it for 13 weeks.
  • In Week 12 you will add the element of a character friendship contract. You practice this for 12 weeks (in addition to practicing your habituation plan).
  • In Week 14 you will add the third element of virtue literacy. You will engage a different virtue every week for 9 weeks (in addition to practicing your habituation plan and your character friendship contract).

This is what the plan looks like in diagram form:

Do not worry at this stage if you don’t understand the strategy completely.  You will be led through it step by step as the weeks progress.

Next week you will begin with habituation.

Additional resources

You are working on phase #3 – Practice.  Here is the next activity >> Week 10 – What is habituation?

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