Why do you have a bad memory? Are you using that as an excuse or is it the “real deal”? Let’s look at common excuses people use to forgo memory improvement (and whether they are good excuses or not!).
“I just have a bad memory/I’ve always had a bad memory.”
Ask yourself if you have a bad memory in every situation or just some/most. For example, can you remember something like movie dialogue and song lyrics but not things you read? That could indicate you have a good memory but you learn best audibly instead of by reading - not that you have a bad memory. There’s a solution for remembering better that involves making sure you hear the information (or use other techniques when forced to learn by reading).
Or do you remember sports scores, stats, the players on your favorite teams, or the actors on TV or movies but aren’t good at remember the names of people you meet socially? To me that means you have a good memory for things that interest you, not a bad memory! There are ways to increase your memory ability for the less interesting things in life so you can enjoy your good memory in all areas of your life - not just sports or entertainment.
If you struggle to remember in every area of your life there are a few things to look at:
How is your sleep? Do you get enough (6-9 hours)? Is it quality sleep? This is an area to focus on to improve memory. Many of my coaching clients see remarkable improvement in their daily memory abilities when they go to sleep earlier. Some have even taken the step of buying a new mattress to improve their sleep and have had great results. Experts say that as our bodies change we often need to update our beds and estimate it needs to be done every 4-7 years. Gone are the days when beds were expected to last 10-20 years. Ignore a bed’s warranty and plan on buying a new bed every 5-6 years on average. I bought a guest bed from Amazon (Amazon’s in-house brand, Riven, and love sleeping on it. It’s a bit too soft for my wife as an everyday bed but works great in our guest room - every house guest has raved about it.
How stressed are you? Stress and powerful emotions like grief, anger, sadness, fear,etc are huge issues for memory. My step-mother, dad, and father-in-law all passed away within nine months and my memory was horrible for that whole year. Yes, my highly-trained, know every trick in the book memory had a hard time keeping track of the simplest things. Look honestly at your emotional state and consider if you have a bad memory or if you’re overwhelmed in life. Work with caring people to get yourself back into balance and watch your ability to focus and remember easily improve.
How is your activity level? Your physical shape? Taking care of our bodies plays a large part in how well our minds function. What can you (safely) do each day to start, continue, or improve the process of taking care of your body? (I suggest consulting an expert like your doctor or dietitian first.)
These are three common problems I see - and help fix - when people claim the have a “bad” memory. Next time we’ll look at another one. In the meantime use the information above to ensure you’re doing what you can to have a better memory now. Life is too short for a bad memory, especially when remembering well is so simple and easy.
For more easy ways to have a better memory please check out my book. It has short, easy-to-read and understand chapters filled with practical advice on working with your mind instead of against it to remember better in all areas of your life.