Meditation, Meals & MOOCs: A self-development plan

self development plan

Although I’ve written very personal posts about myself before, my experiences with (ongoing) anxiety and depression, and some of my hopes and fears, this post seems the most… probing.

Perhaps this is because it is showing me as a work in progress, not a reflection after the event has occurred, or the phase has passed. Perhaps it is due to the accountability factor, as by sharing my personal goals with you, there is one more area of pressure to achieve them. Or, perhaps, it is simply because I HAVE a self-development plan, which a) makes me a bit of a nerd, and b) means I’m not perfect already (for brownie points, please feel free to debate this statement in the comments!)

My self-development is in the areas of Body (exercise and meal-planning), Spirit (meditation, yoga, and creativity), and Mind (MOOCs, reading and discussion).


This is a goal seeping in from last year. If you read my New Year’s ‘Resolutions’, you’ll know I’m aiming to keep four habits every day – to read, write, meditate and exercise. While I am not doing quite as much of each as I would like, I am just a little bit proud to say that I am sticking to these habits. Going forwards from here, I am keeping a careful eye on my nutritional needs, exercising every day, but also listening to my body – though I am training for an 8.4km run in a fortnight, I took last week off training as my body was feeling weak. I also added more red meat into my diet. Essentially, my self-development goal for my body is to be fit and well, which I am achieving through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and responding to my body’s needs. Back to the basics, really!


Yoga and meditation are the most obvious factors in the development of my spiritual self (for some ‘beginner’ type meditations, click here) though I think this is a good time to consider what I actually mean by my spiritual self. Spirituality, according to Psychology Today, “means something different to everyone.” Personally, it is about feeding my soul – the very essence of my humanity – and at the same time going beyond my ‘human experience’. For example, meditation helps me to realise the connectedness and interconnectedness of my self with other consciousnesses, and the physical world around me, while also allowing my to transcend my human worries and put faith in what is beyond me. For me, creative pursuit (be it writing, visual art, or other problem-solving) is another way to develop my spiritual being, so I am deliberately pushing myself in new directions through writing, art, and two particular online courses: A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers and Creative Problem Solving.


This leads me to the subject of MOOCs. I had heard bits and pieces about them, but friend & writer Amanda Staley suggested two sites: Coursera and Open2Study. I’ll be doing a post soon with my thoughts on these, but overall have found them interesting, informative, and exactly what I needed. This year and last, I had begun to miss studying (yes, really) and was craving more intellectual stimulation. Sure, I tried to read a lot, and engage in discussion where I could, and one of my daily affirmations is: “I am open to improvement of myself and my craft.” (This one really gets me sometimes – I’ve had to deal with more criticism more effectively!). What the MOOCs give me is a guided learning course, with assessments and a certificate of accomplishment – the structure keeps me organised in my pursuit of learning, and I have chosen a range of topics (Education, Arts / Humanites, Business / Management, Science / Technology) to keep me on my toes – and it is doing just that!

At the start of this year, after reading this post from Christine Campbell, I decided my One Word for the Year was ‘Balance’. I was wrong. I think I was still stuck in last year’s search for healing and security. My One Word is ‘DIRECTION‘.

4 thoughts on “Meditation, Meals & MOOCs: A self-development plan

  1. It is the year of the horse afterall, “direction” is a perfect word and it sounds like you have really done a great job of mapping out the way! And you are very close to perfect 😉 because being nerdy is totally awesome…from one nerd to another. Xo


    1. Brownie points for you, lovely lady!

      It’s the year of the Horse, and I’m year of the Dragon, so it’s all energy and direction and other exciting (read: scary) stuff!


  2. Maybe I need a word for this year as well? What a great idea. Having goals and a sense of direction really helps to keep us on track. If not we are shooting arrows in the dark. Where is the fun in that?


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