I no longer smoke.

I go the gym.

I can play the keyboard.

I know your reaction dear reader. That's an impressive list. How did you accomplish these feats?

Change is a contradictory thing. It's very easy to implement and yet surprisingly difficult to sustain. Changing even the littlest aspect of your daily habit can have immeasurable differences to your life, wellbeing & happiness. Change can be thrust upon you through circumstance; losing your job, an accident or an alteration in shift pattern or it can be through conscious decision.

Conscious change is a life affirming experience.

Matt Cutts, in an excellent presentation on Ted.com decided to take the Morgan Spurlock approach (of Supersize Me fame) and try something new for 30 days.

Take something you've always wanted to add to your life and try it for 30 days. It turns out 30 days is just about long enough to add something, or subtract something from your life.

Inspired by this I did something I've always wanted to do and bought a keyboard. I rummaged around at the parents house and found my old piano notes book and set about re-learning my scales, my semi-quavers and my melodies. Reading music quickly came back to me and I've since mastered the classics such as 'What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor' and 'Old Macdonald'. 'Speed Boat' is decidedly fun to play.

This is my third such challenge and I'm two weeks in and instead of the time slipping by unnoticed, life has become memorable again. The time spent entranced infront of the PC where the hours slipped on through eternity and nothing actually happened have been replaced by quality time with my and my other keyboard.

I may yet bore of this. I may plateau and return to my old reliable friend. But that's okay. I've only committed to 30 days of keyboard playing. If at the very least I remember to play 'What Shall We Do With The Drunk Sailor' I've a new party piece.

This same technique can be used to remove the negatives. I recently quit smoking. This was achieved purely through self control, a 30 day time frame & the help of an attractive friend.

The point was made to me that on my recent trip to the States whilst on the plane I had no great mood swings, I didn't crash out or freak out. I didn't hold the plane hostage and demand a cigarette. My desire to go on holiday outweighed my desire to smoke. As such my subconscious was able to compartilize the smoking receptors & move them to the back of my mind. This brought me to the realisation that I don't need to smoke, I want to smoke.

Empowered by this I set about quitting. I enlisted the help of my beautiful work friend Simona who agreed to distract me any time I needed a smoke. The theory being smoking was a pleasant experience during my working day, as such at my regular smoking intervals rather than stepping outside into the cold I'd head over & see her. The Mrs didn't approve but the distraction worked.

But the biggest motivator for me was knowing that if in 30 days I wanted to smoke again I could. I'd not told people I'd quit permanently. Quitting permanently adds undue pressure & expectation. It sets you up to fail. Nobody likes to be a failure. I'm now 5 weeks in and feeling the benefits.

These three little changes coupled with the feeling that I've reclaimed some semblance of control over life have had an immeasurable effect. I feel more alert in the mornings waking up energized, no longer craving that first cigarette. My eating has improved & appetite increased motivated by the gym & I've generally a greater feeling of self purpose and wellbeing. I feel like I'm achieving something worthwhile learning the keyboard.

Small changes are sustainable. Make a small change today and take the 3 minutes 27 seconds to watch Matt Cutts presentation.

The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, why not think about something you've always wanted to try & give it a shot for the next 30 days.

What will you change? Keep us updated in the journals.