According to a non-scientific survey I just conducted, the most common question this time of year is “How were your holidays?” The second most common question is “Have you broken your New Year’s resolutions yet?”

Here’s a trick to help keep at least a few of those resolutions by choosing stronger passwords. As we’ve talked about before, passwords are fairly easy to break because most of us pick an English word, capitalize the first character and add a number at the end. That’s a statistically common trend among English-speakers. It meets the minimum complexity rules but will fail to a password cracking tool in 30 seconds or less.

If your New Year’s resolution is your passphrase, you’ll get a strong password that is hard for an outsider to break. (Microsoft’s password rules allow up to 127 characters and permit any character on the keyboard, including the spacebar. You can pick a whole sentence including spaces and punctuation for your password.) And by typing it several times a day, well, maybe repetition will help me actually live up to the resolution. For example, I need to eat less and exercise more. If my password for the month is “Take the Stairs.“, I’m reminding myself several times a day that I shouldn’t be lazy – that those extra steps are good for me.

A couple of thoughts, though. First, don’t make your password obvious to others. If your password is “Spend more time with your Kids!“, don’t make a poster with the same phrase and hang it in your office. Second, add unusual capitalization or swap a letter for a number in the middle of the phrase. For example, “Give more time 2 Charity.” Even if someone does guess your resolution, they won’t know what little change you’ve made to the way you type it. Put together, you’ll have a strong password that’s easy to remember and might actually help you keep that resolution a little longer.

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