I Want a Better Memory
We all know how frustrating it can be when you can’t remember something. Maybe you’re taking a test, and all of a sudden all of the material you’ve studied is gone. Or maybe you’re walking around a parking lot, trying to remember where you left your car. Or maybe you don’t even realize you have something to remember until your boss asks about that deadline you’ve just missed.
Memory issues can have a profound impact on your life, not only creating trouble during daily tasks but possibly even causing long-term damage to your ability to grow in your career.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Society tells us that having a good or bad memory is innate, just something a person is or isn’t born with, but that’s not true at all. You can work out your brain just as you might work out your muscles, and a good memory is just a skill that you can hone through a properly designed training regimen.
Root Causes of Memory Issues
Memory problems stem from the underdevelopment of a group of interrelated skills. These skills affect how you form, maintain, and recall memories in different ways, and depending on the specific sort of trouble you’re having, some of these skills may need more work than others. These skills include:
- Classification and Categorization is how you separate and group ideas, objects, actions, emotions, and time periods. With memory, this means effectively organizing incoming information and prioritizing it, filing it away, or discarding it as unimportant.
- Environmental Awareness is building mental templates for experience and how things in the environment are related to each other. Training this skill lets you better stay aware of what’s around you so that you don’t later find you can’t remember things because you didn’t really take it all in at the time.
- Pattern Recognition, or as we call it “rule induction,” is similar to environmental awareness in that it also has to do with building mental templates for different information. The purpose is to start being able to see information in patterns, so that you only have to remember the pattern instead of remembering each piece every time. This reduces the amount of memory used, enabling you to remember more things and deal more easily with complex information.
- Short-Term Memory is being able to cope with more basic units of information at once through strategic management. This allows you to assemble them into a concept network that gives you a better idea of the big picture, and also to manage how this information is transferred to medium- and long-term memory.
- Tracking is the process of how your eyes and brain follow and interpret incoming streams of information without deviating. By being able to follow something all the way through to the end without distraction, you can keep your eyes and brain from processing and mixing in those distractions and confusing your memory of the information.
Training these skills is the path to improving your memory, whether you’re forgetting things people tell you, things you need to do, or where you left some object.
Improving Your Memory
There are many ways to train your memory, but to have the biggest effect you need to target whichever of those above skills are the ones holding you back.
After we’ve helped you figure out which skills those are, we start assigning you weekly and daily exercises to help train your brain in those skills. Oftentimes, these take the form of games and logic puzzles, ones which focus in on skills like pattern recognition, sorting, and memory.
We also help you develop ways to apply these skills to your daily life. By developing processes for planning things out, organizing information, and more, we help make things easier on you. All the tools at your disposal are just extensions of yourself and your brain, and learning to use organizational tools like planners more effectively can take some of the burden of memory off of your brain.
So if you want to improve your memory and make everyday life easier for yourself, give Critical Thinking for Success a call today—before you forget!