I posted to Facebook recently about infusing a reminder of living life intentionally into my modern routine. So many people responded positively that I thought I should share more widely here.
My computer’s settings require me to reset my password frequently, and every password needs a number, a capital letter and a special character like a punctuation mark. It won’t let me recycle passwords and at some point several months ago, I felt stumped trying to think of something I’d have half a chance of remembering.
On the spur of the moment, I picked a motivational phrase and tarted it up with the required number, capital and punctuation.
I found I really liked having to type that phrase several times a day, using the act of logging into my computer to pause from my to-do list to remember how I want to live my life. It became a sort of technological mantra.
Now every time my password requires changing, I think about what affirmation I’d like to be with for the next month. Instead of struggling to just think of something that will hit all the password requirements, it’s more of a spiritual and lifestyle check in.
I shared on Facebook because I was curious if I’d invented something or stumbled onto an idea others were doing. Turns out I’m not alone.
- I’ve done this for years, at least on my personal accounts. They are affirmations of various things.
- I’ve been doing the same thing for years!. I never realized it, but you’re right..it’s the perfect use of technology as a mantra.
Then a friend shared an inspiring first-person account on Huffington Post, written by a man who changed the dynamic of a painful divorce by choosing a password to remind himself to let go.
My password became: “Forgive@h3r”
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.
In my mind, I went with the mantra that I didn’t type a password. In my mind, I wrote “Forgive her”every day, for one month.
That simple action changed the way I looked at my ex wife. That constant reminder that I should forgive her, led me to accept the way things happened at the end of my marriage, and embrace a new way of dealing with the depression that I was drowning into.
After that worked and he felt the benefits, he began a campaign of using his passwords to focus on life goals and changes.
Forgive@her ← to my ex-wife, who started it all.
Quit@smoking4ever ← it worked.
Save4trip@thailand ← it worked.
Eat2times@day ← it never worked, still fat.
Sleep@before12 ← it worked.
Ask@her4date ← it worked. I fell in love again.
No@drinking2months ← it worked. I feel better.
Get@c4t! ← it worked. I have a beautiful cat.
Facetime2mom@sunday ← it worked. I talk with my mom every week.
It’s a beautiful piece and I encourage you to read Mauricio Estrella’s whole journey.
It makes so much sense to me. If we take the time to decide what we want, to prioritize the most important change we want to make and remind ourselves of that goal regularly, it will help keep us on track.
I hung my description of my perfect mate on my bedroom mirror and realized when I started dating John a few months later that I’d found him. I posted my description of my perfect job while I was interviewing after business school and was thrilled that my job at the AP lined up so well with my ideals. John made me a life vision painting for my 40th birthday and so many of those images are part of my life.
This is even more distilled, though, and it’s active. It’s not looking at a vision, it’s typing a short mantra repeatedly.
How could you type repeatedly that you want to quit smoking and not feel like you’re self defeating if you have to log in after going on a smoke break?
Several friends wrote on Facebook that they’re going to start using their passwords as technological mantras. I’d love to hear from you if you do it and how it works for you.
Related blog posts:
- Decide what you want and declare it in no uncertain terms
- Setting my goals for 2011 as a comprehensive view of my life
- Setting my 2013 goals with help from friends
- Focusing on one change at a time for two months each
- Do you plan your life with the same diligence as a work project?
- HBR: Developing rituals can help achieve your goals
- Christine Kane: How to Create Anything (Even When You’re Scared, Inexperienced and Don’t Believe in Yourself)