A new trend reflecting how we use technology to assess and tailor our everyday lives is in the use of 'persuasive technology' for healthcare. Today, sensor-based and mobile technologies are being developed to encourage, entice or even coerce people to become healthier through taking more physical exercise. Sensing and monitoring devices are used to measure bodily functions, such as heart rate and other electrodermal responses. These responses are analysed along with the amount of exercise someone performs such as number of steps taken or laps swam.

The data can be fed into a persuasive application running on a smartphone. These can be compared to personal, peer or group targets set by people which may be hourly, daily or weekly. Seeing how you are doing relative to an agreed or shared target is thought to motivate people to do more exercise.

A range of persuasive techniques can be designed and tested to encourage other types of behaviour change, through using ubiquitous technologies. These applications can help change our habits using off-the-shelf mobile and sensor-based devices that have recently become available, including smartphones with micro-projectors that allow for flexible forms of ambient and contextual information to be displayed.

The outcomes will include new understandings of how to use computing technology to change people's everyday habits; design guidance and principles for developing persuasive technologies and a number of demonstrator applications. It is hoped that the quality of life will be improved through pro-actively engaging people in their lives with respect to values they care about.

It's part of our makeup that we like to follow a pattern without giving too much thought to the reason why we have selected this type of lifestyle. We are indeed creatures of habit; and habit is a huge influencing factor in how we eat, sleep, dress and even use our software. Realising that habit dictates much of our behaviour, Microsoft have incorporated a useful tool into Word 2007 - called the Quick Access Toolbar.

The Quick Access Toolbar is a customisable toolbar that contains your most-used commands. Recognising that many of us rely on easily and quickly identifying the commands we need to use most often, the toolbar has been incorporated into Microsoft Office Word 2007 in order that we can organise and access these commands with one just one mouse click.

The Quick Access Toolbar is the small group of icons in top left of your Word screen, just above the Office Ribbon and to the right of the Office Button. By default in Word 2007, the Quick Office Toolbar contains the Save, Undo and Repeat commands. You can move the Quick Access Toolbar from one of the two possible locations, and you can add buttons that represent commands to the Quick Access Toolbar.

To customise the toolbar, you can add in functions by selecting your command from the Office Button, then right clicking on the command - this will give you the option of adding the command to the Quick Access Toolbar.

Another way to add in any commands that you use regularly is to select the Office Button then select Word Options, here you will see the option to Customize; this will also allow you to add or delete any command form the toolbar.

By selecting the All Commands option under the Commands to choose from menu, you can find a command that relates to font styling, for example. If you prefer to use the shortcut keyboard commands to access your quick command, then hover over the command icon on your Quick Access Toolbar and these shortcuts will be displayed.

You can only add commands to the Quick Access Toolbar; the contents of most lists, such as indent and spacing values and individual styles, which also appear on the Ribbon, cannot be added to the Quick Access Toolbar. Commands can easily be removed by right clicking on the symbol on the toolbar and selecting Remove.

Now, all that time you have saved locating and using commands can be put to good use: I hear that there are some revolutionary fitness gadgets out there that can help break those couch potato habits!