I had to type this statement several times a day. Each time my computer would lock. Each time my screensaver with her photo would appear. Each time I would come back from eating lunch alone.
— Mauricio Estrella (2014) How a password changed my life
Beautiful story. But even more a great application of a lot of different principles:
- Behavioural Triggers
Let me expand a little bit on the reason why I value this article so much, and it’s so emblematic. He didn’t just choose password with a meaning, he choose passwords that were crafted to be pragmatic, to be triggers.
In each of the passwords he mentions, there’s a word that is the same word he will think about or use in the very moment the change needs to happen:
- her, triggers “forgive her”
- smoking, triggers “quit”
- save, triggers “for trip”
- sleep, triggers “before 12”
- her, triggers “ask for date”
And so on. Now this isn’t an exact science, but in general, it’s a good thing: each sentence was repeated and contained a trigger.
That’s probably also part of the reason why “eat” didn’t work, it wasn’t an action “on spot”, it was “two times a day”, which is both positive (eat, well, do eat) and projected (this time, no, the next time). This is pure speculation, but I’d try with something like “eat half portion”. It’s a more contextual trigger.
In the end, it’s a beautiful story. Worth reading.
Thanks to Filipe Varela for the link.