How To:

Achieve Your Goals by Changing Your Password

Finding the motivation to make a change can be tricky. It's difficult to resist the urge to procrastinate, or even give up when goals seem distant and difficult. If you wish you could stick to your New Year's resolutions, or maybe even just commit to pursuing smaller goals, you might want to consider making a small change to start: just create a new password.

Make Your Password Your Mantra

Our passwords are typically easy-to-remember combinations of words, numbers, and symbols. They might have some meaning to us, but for the most part, they're simply as memorable as possible. Yet by changing your password to include a motivational word or phrase, you can begin to achieve new goals.

As Mauricio Estrella writes on Medium, creating a password that reminds you of your current goal can give you that extra boost to actually achieve it.

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Estrella changed the password on his work computer account to contain the phrase "forgive her"—his goal was to forgive his ex-wife. Over the course of using the password, the phrase became a mantra, reminding him to "forgive her" each time he was prompted to enter the password. Estrella began to view his ex-wife in a new light, and thought of her in a kinder way after those frequent reminders to do so.

No matter what your current goal is, try swapping out your current password for one that focuses on your future. If you're looking for a new job, use something like "apply for jobs." Want to stop snacking throughout the day? Add a phrase like "cut out snacking". No matter what you use, just remember to make it a truly safe password.

Find Motivation Each Time You Type

Why does a simple password swap help breed change in your life? Each time you type in a goal-centered password, the words repeat like a mantra, and remind you of that goal or task.

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Because we rely on our passwords to get us into certain sites and necessary information, having to retype our goal repeatedly etches it in our minds. Say you weren't considering working out; after you type your password with the phrase "go workout" five or ten times over the course of the day, you become more focused on hitting the gym. Essentially, there's no way to hide that goal in the back of your mind.

Additionally, according to Estrella, the password plays a bit of a trick on our minds. Each time we enter our password and successfully gain access to our accounts, we feel as though we had a tiny accomplishment. That good feeling becomes entwined with the password we entered, and we think positively about what it is that we typed.

Make It a Constant—But Don't Change Everything

Before you jump online and begin applying your new goal-driven password to all of your accounts, keep in mind that your new password should still keep your information safe.

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Be sure to follow the rules of a strong, hacker-safe password: make it lengthy, with every possible character type, and avoid the usual pitfalls. Most importantly, though, utilize your new password for only one account. If you rely on the same password for multiple sites—or every site—your security becomes easier to hack.

Instead, change only the password of one of your most commonly visited sites. Log into iCloud or Dropbox daily? Use it there. Google accounts, bank websites, and password managers are also great options. As long as you choose an account that you log into frequently, the password will work as an encouraging mantra.

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