So much on hold, use the ‘swiss cheese’ method to get going, now…

swiss-cheese-13827105What’s on hold for you? I’ve lots on hold, stuff I want to do, things I want to learn, places I really want to visit, but when? Why do I keep putting things off, procrastination and personality aside, I can make a start and here’s how.  First, for some context, here are three things I wish I could get to:

Learn the Irish National Anthem beyond the first few and last lines (not ‘Ireland’s Call’, although that would be an additional bonus).  Teachers take note, teach the national anthem to your pupils while they are young. I can still recite reams of Macbeth, the hymn to St. Angela and lots of lots of poems, from my time in school (and that’s quite some time ago, 1979 in fact) but I do not know the basics such as our national anthem. 

Read up on Irish History, are we proud of our history or not? A lot of countries are very proud and knowledgeable. It’s a huge question for us in Ireland where the Irish flag has some negative connotations due to the struggle in N. Ireland.  When I saw the Irish flag hanging as a backdrop on St. Patrick’s Day (17th March) on a well-known English shopping channel, I was really shocked: how far we have come in our relationship with England and still a lot of Irish people have no real grá (love) for our green, white and gold flag.  I want to read up on Irish history especially given the historic date Ireland will reach next year in 2016.

Help my children to get to know their own country. They know France quite well, better than Ireland, from camping holidays, and we are not alone in that.  If only we had warmer weather in Ireland, well just less rain, then I think we would be staying in our own country especially while young to get a deep-rooted feel for the archaeology, history, natural and social wonders of such an amazing island.  When we travel abroad and away from home, we carry our deep love for our own country with us. I believe that this helps us in our yearning for understanding of and immersion in other places and peoples, because we know who we are and are proud and happy in our identity.

To move me in the right direction towards my three personal goals, I am taking a ‘one for now’ approach or what we call in time management training, ‘the swiss cheese’ method.  It’s about taking a step in the right direction towards your goal or milestone: make a small hole in the goal which is your cheese until lots of small holes or steps are taken, and you find that suddenly you are there. 

With that in mind I have:

Got the words of the Irish National Anthem. Printed them off and pinned them up on my kitchen wall (the place, unfortunately, I spend most of my time when not working)

Purchased ‘Irish History for Dummies’ on my Kindle.  It’s a start in the right direction as I want to be immersed in Irish history and then choose an era to explore more deeply.

I have booked a weekend away in Galway/Mayo for us as a family and I am thinking of Dublin next year for the commemorations around 1916.  So I had better start reading, and learn the anthem by then (three goals for the price of one!).

They are all ‘ones for now’, and once active on any task or goal, we tend to taste the feeling of success and movement, energy increases and we keep going.  Whether that’s a difficult project that you have been putting off because it’s overwhelming or your full email account where you cannot create messages anymore because you have reached the memory limit.  Make a start, any start, no matter how small and keep going.  And remember:

‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin’. 
(There’s no fireplace like your own fireplace i.e., There’s no place like home).

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Crowley, based in Cork, is a free-lance Coach and Trainer in the field of behavioural change for individuals and business.  Anne Marie is the founder of Crowley Personal and Business Change.

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