The other day I was speaking on a panel at an Adult Immunization Toolkit Meeting put on by the Keystone Center, about how to approach the challenge of keeping adults up-to-date on their immunizations.

As part of an analogy, I mentioned to the audience “when we change our clocks for daylight saving time, we’re all supposed to change the batteries in.. ”

My mind went blank. I made a circular motion with my arm- “those ..um..things..”

But as a sign they were paying attention, many in the audience responded: “Smoke detectors!”

My honest slip proved my point. We collectively have learned that association and desired behavior: when the clocks change, check those batteries!

What do smoke detectors have to do with daylight saving time? Nothing!

There’s some dissonance there, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a simple memory trick to help us perform an action that should take place on a regular basis. We know it as individuals, and we have collectively embraced that convention. By making it a shared schedule, we remove some of the responsibility from the individual having to remember their specific date.

Don’t get too caught up in things “making sense”. Once things become culturally or socially ingrained, it really won’t matter and we’ll be well on our way to seeing the behavior change we desire.

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