Where do I start? At the very beginning I suppose. They say it's a very good place to start. Let's turn the clock back 3 years (cue dreamy harp music)...
Sometime back in early 2011, while I was enjoying a few months of hard-earned leisure time, I came across a TED Talk by Matt Cutts called 'Try Something New for 30 Days'. At 3'27" it's not very long but of all the TED Talks I've watched (which is quite a few) I feel that that this one has had the biggest, or at least the most measurable, impact on my life.
Matt's proposal is that if you want to try something new, or give something up, you can do that without too much pain for 30 days. That's about the right length before it becomes too much of an effort. He calls it The 30 Day Challenge. It's not completely his original idea, he openly references Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me which in turn led to the 30 Days TV series, as an example of others before him playing with the same idea.
So, I thought I'd give it a try. Something easy at first. Or so I thought. I went for ‘No Facebook for 30 days’. Turned out to be nowhere near as easy as I thought as well as quite revealing about the way I interact with my friends and how I spend my free time. After completing that successfully I thought I'd try something hard: 'A gym-level workout every day for 30 days'. That actually proved to be easier than I thought.
And then I went to work in the Far East for a while and forgot about the 30 Days thing completely.
Back to the present. Sort of. (Sound of needle being removed harshly from record)
I've always been one to make and, for the most part, keep New Year’s resolutions. This New Year’s Eve, on a drunken whim, I declared that I would do 12 back-to-back 30 day challenges. Before I had a chance to change my mind my good friend Claire said (as she was topping up my glass with an unknown cocktail) that if I succeeded in the first 3 she would donate £200 to a charity of my choice!
Whilst I have always maintained that I don't do this kind of thing for charity (a discussion for a later date) how could I, in good conscience, then back down? Answer: I couldn't.
We were on, as they say, like Donkey Kong!