The very thought of creating a password can be such a drain. No wonder people default to what they know and re-use their passwords. Even when we know we shouldn’t do that – ever. So what are you to do?
I’ll share some tips I’ve used over time but before we get to the how, let me advise – don’t attempt to remember all your passwords. Yes. Seriously. What you want to do is have ONE master password and then store everything else into a system like LastPass (what I use) and/or RoboForm (what I used). Once you got a password manager – both are free to try, then you can utilize the following techniques to create strong passwords for each site.
1. Use The Random Words Method
I’ve written about this before and this is my favorite method. That’s because even when I don’t have access to my password manager, I can more or less recall the password. Here’s what you do. Come up with 2-3 unrelated words and separate them with a space, number or character. For example.
Pepper5Camera-Goat or P3pp3r5Cam3r4-G04t (if you really want to make it hard)
It’s still doesn’t make sense but if you make it fun and entertaining for you, you’ll remember it. One way to do so is to utilize something on the site to aid you. For example. Take a look at this Amazon screenshot.
Since Amazon’s home page changes frequently, I don’t want to use any of those but their logo – maybe. To help trigger my memory, I might create:
Femur35Smile+Giant – because Amazon’s logo looks like a smile.
Ring8Orange#Hair – because their logo has orange in it.
2. Self Motivation Method
This method has been going around lately but it’s something I’ve used for a few years with success. The whole idea is to create passwords that help you reach a goal. This is how.
Let’s say one of your goals is to lose weight. You might create:
Just30Min5Aday (Just 30 mins a day)
Want to stop yelling at your kids?
n0Ye11ing70d@y (No yelling today)
Want to be more positive?
0ut-ve1n+ve (Out negative, in positive)
Want to live your word of the year? A little background on this. Many of us have adopted a word to live by for the year instead of resolutions so, let’s say your word is “Kindness”…
Sp3ea@K1ndne55 (Spread kindness)
This type of passwords work best for frequent logins. Things you have to log into daily or even several times a day, like your computer screensaver, your mailing list, blog or website. The more often you have to enter, the better. The very first year I adopted a word instead of resolutions, I used this method and wow, it really transformed the way I lived daily.
3. Keyboard Pattern Method
The idea is a lot like the pattern unlock you may see on your cell phone. Instead of drawing a pattern on your screen, look at your keyboard and ‘draw’ a pattern on it. For example, this is the pattern I ‘drew’ on my keyboard. The passcode for this pattern could be: 57rdcukngh or rdcukn57gh or any combination hitting those keys depending how the pattern is drawn. Don’t be afraid to use the entire keyboard and remember to throw a shift or caps in there to utilize other characters.
4. Throw In Some Foreign Language
I’m really blessed to be able to speak 3 languages so when it comes to making passwords I often mix them up, all in one. To make it even more fun, I use any of the above combos in addition to non-English words. Even if you don’t speak, these days it’s not a big deal to find a translation for a word you want to use and hey – you’ll learn something new in the process. Do it often, you may even learn enough to read in that language.
Not all methods will work well in every situation. Some methods like the keyboard pattern may not lend itself well when the site requires you to use certain characters and numbers. In using the Random Words method, I’ve also found that some sites don’t allow the use of spaces so you’ll have to substitute often with a character or numeral.
Hope this has been useful and remember to share if you picked up a trick or two.