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What Was That Again? Improve Your Memory

Here’s a few tips to improve your memory, or appear to.


Why do we never remember peoples’ name? I mean, they just told us their name ten seconds earlier and yet we forget. Here's why. When we first meet someone we both usually say our names first. "Hi, I'm John, and you are?" In those first few seconds of meeting someone our brains are busy sizing them up so we may or may not hear their name, and we certainly can't recall it.

Knowing this helps, but it's hard to overcome. The simple solution is to ask the person to repeat their name. "I'm sorry, can you tell me your name again?" It shows you care enough to want to remember it. Or, write it down at some point and ask them to spell their name. Lastly, ask for a business card and glance at the name when they hand it to you. Hearing it again, writing it down, getting a business card will all help you recall their name for the longterm as well.


We need to s-l-o-w down to recall where we put something. To do that, take a mental picture (or real photo), say out loud where you are putting something, or simplify by putting things you want to remember to take with you in a place where you will pass by it (or trip over it) when leave or need it next. 

I like to put things in or on my car that I need to remember to bring with me when I know I will need them the next day. I also believe grouping things together helps us forget less (all of gym stuff is put in one place--a bag you can grab--so that you aren't looking for ten things in ten places.) 


If we want to make a change and create a new habit, we need a reminder to remember. A small sticky dot on the face of our phone (or the screen saver) can serve as a reminder. A bracelet works well. A different ring tone can serve as a reminder. A sticky note on your rearview mirror means you’ll see it daily. Leaving an object or photo out that serves as a reminder also works. 

Many of you know I posted on Facebook my mission to lose weight . . . a lot of weight. Now, when I see people THEY remind me of my goal. By the way, I’ve lost 20 pounds so far. Not great, but better than if I didn’t make the public pronouncement and post it on social media.

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