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Using an ACT Exercise for Student Personal Development

Character education and personal development are crucial aspects of the school curriculum. Work in these areas is vital to nurturing young individuals and empowering them to shape their own futures. Whilst physical time travel only exists in science fiction (for now…), jumping into the DeLorean of the mind can be a brilliant task for student character education and wellbeing.

The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 80th Birthday Exercise is a creative way to reflect on values, purpose, and meaning in life. With the help of our free worksheets, young people can take part in this activity to explore their personal values and consider their future actions.

A glass magnifying glass lays upon a plain blue background, symbolising student personal development and focus on values.

This exercise involves imagining the celebration of your 80th birthday. It asks the participant to ‘look back’ on their life from the perspective of their older, future self. It prompts the participant to consider what they’d like to be remembered for - and reflect on the person they want to be.

When you imagine yourself at the age of 80, you are compelled to deeply reflect on the long-term impact of your actions. You have to think about what really matters in life, what you will have accomplished, and what you might regret.

If you imagine yourself at 80 and realise that you regret not spending more time with your family, you can begin to reprioritise your life based on this value. You can enact change and make more time for the people you care about.

The 80th Birthday Exercise is a perfect first introduction to the world of values, as it is flexible, individual, and highly imaginative. There are no right and wrong answers. As long as the values identified feel like a true reflection of the participant’s important characteristics, they can’t go wrong.

Through reflection and introspection, young people can gain insights into their aspirations, laying a foundation for growth and personal fulfilment. The ACT 80th Birthday Exercise empowers students to identify their values and make choices that align with their personal vision. By promoting self-discovery and personal development, this exercise can significantly boost student wellbeing.

Want to try the 80th Birthday Exercise with your students? Download our KS3 and KS4 worksheets for free by clicking here.

White background covered in pastel blue and pink party decorations (straws, paper plates, bows, candles).  On top of the party decorations are the three pages of the youHQ character education worksheets.

This blog was written by Jez Belas, Sales and Engagement Director for youHQ and Life on Time Ltd. Jez has 16 years of teaching experience and until recently was Head of PE and Wellbeing at an independent school in Berkshire.

For more information about our school wellbeing platform and to sign up for a free demo, please click here.

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