How To Instantly Improve Your Memory

Five ways to remember more stuff.

You have a great memory.

You may feel like you don’t, but that’s probably because you were never taught how to actually use it.

Despite the emphasis on memorization in schools — often at the expense of actual education, but that’s a story for another post — there’s virtually no time spent teaching people how to optimize their ability to remember things.

But it’s not too late learn.

Here are five ways to instantly improve your memory…

  1. Stop Telling Yourself Memorization Is Hard

Memory is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you repeatedly tell yourself you have a bad memory, dread memorization, or fear you’ll forget something important, you set yourself up for failure.

The opposite is also true.

Studies have found your attitude about memorization has a direct impact on your mental efficiency.

Convince yourself your memory is fine and that memorization can be fun, and your ability to retain information will increase.

This is true even if you “fake” the enthusiasm.

As with most things in life, the story you tell yourself is incredibly powerful.

You can read more about this concept here:

10 Ways to Improve Your Memory | The Art of Manliness

  1. Take A Break

This is the simplest of all memory hacks.

When you learn something that you want to remember, take an immediate 10–15 minute break after learning it.

Don’t browse Instagram, run errands, or talk to anyone during that break — just sit and contemplate for a few minutes.

Giving your brain a few quiet moments to process what you’ve just learned has a dramatic impact on your ability to remember it.

One study found people who took a break after studying a list of items recalled 50% of them compared to just 28% recall for the group who didn’t take a break.

You can read more about this concept here:

An effortless way to improve your memory

  1. Do What Spies Do

Ever wonder how a spy remembers vital information when they’re undercover and can’t write it down?

One tactic they employ is the “family home technique,” which is something you can use to help you remember just about anything.

It involves connecting the new “unknown” information you want to remember with “known” information that’s already stored in your memory — specifically, you place the new information into the layout of your family home or some other location you know well.

Then, you walk through your home in your mind, taking note of where each bit of new information resides in the home.

Placing new information into a known space you remember well increases your ability to recall it.

You can read more about this concept here:

Former British MI6 spy reveals how to remember information without writing it down

  1. Play A Musical Instrument

You don’t need to join a band to improve your memory, but a little time spent strumming a guitar or playing a piano will definitely help.

That’s because the act of playing music — and the repetitive nature of practicing it — activates the areas of your brain that also drive your working memory.

This leads you to not only be able to hold more information in your working memory, but also trains you to ignore distractions and remain focused.

You can read more about this concept here:

Working memory is key to focus, and you can improve it it in 3 simple steps

  1. Tell Yourself A Different Story

This last tip is less about how to improve your memory and more about how to influence what you choose to remember in the first place.

It’s important to recognize your life memories aren’t the things that actually happened — they’re your interpretations of them and the stories you create about the things that happen.

As Seth Godin explains, your memories are the stories you rehearse over and over again.

They’re malleable and you have the ability to change your memories by telling yourself a different story.

You can read more about this concept here:

The memories we rehearse are the ones we live with