Your memory does not magically improve without some effort on your part. These four tips take a bit of practice and focus. However, the dividends outweigh the time it takes to make them habitual.
1. Let’s say that you believe, and constantly remind yourself, that you are terrible at remembering names. Ask yourself:
a) Did you focus intently on the person as they introduced themselves? Did you correctly hear their name?
b) Did you repeat their name back to them?
c) Make a remark about the name. (It is the same as a friend’s name, or you never heard that name before, and so forth.)
d) Did you associate something ridiculous and memorable to their face that will help you remember their name? For example, let’s say that their name is Noseworthy. You may imagine a huge nose on their face; it’s worthy of being noticed. As absurd as this may sound, the mind loves to think in pictures. The more ludicrous the association is then the easier it is to remember.
e) Be courageous, and introduce them to a colleague.
f) Use their name more than once in conversation. (Don’t overdo it.)
e) Use their name when you leave.
2. Suppose that you want to buy food for supper. You are great at writing lists; you are terrible at leaving your lists at home, or misplacing them. Here is a simple tip. Chunk your list of items into categories. The mind loves to chunk things and finds it easier to recall.
a) Dairy: milk, butter, eggs
b) Vegetables: beans, carrots, beets
c) Meat: hamburger, chicken, steak
3. How do you remember how to spell difficult words? For this example, you may pick the word “believe”. Did you learn in school, “Never beLIEve a LIE?”
The same idea works for piece-“a PIEce of PIE”.
This applies to remembering how to spell similar words.
“To be stationAry is to stAnd still, or “To use stationEry is to writE a lEtter”.
“A princiPAL at a school is your PAL, and a principLE you believe is a ruLE”.
Have you used these?
4. Let’s say that you are studying for an exam, and that you have to memorize the periodic table of elements. Research the mnemonic used to memorize it. Chances are that someone has creatively come up with a mnemonic for most things that you are studying. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Do what works.
Never believe that because you are older that your memory has declined. It is not a matter of age, but rather a matter of use. Pride yourself on practicing these four approaches. Friends and family may comment on how much your memory has improved!