I thought the first and most appropriate post might be something along the lines of ‘where do I start?’. I had a similar thought when I first started looking to improve my memory.
I think an absolutely key thing to do at the very beginning is to ask yourself why! Why do you want to improve your memory? If you’re answer is, “why do I need to know why” then you’re just awkward but read on.
Step 1 – Find out why, why?
I started and stopped on the road to improving my memory numerous times until this point was addressed. The ‘real’ reasons you find are personal to you, and motivate you to keep training when the things get tough.
I say training because my personal philosophy is that training your memory can be very analogous to the kind of training you might undergo in a gym 3 days a week. There are many practical tips and tricks you can learn for memorising things day to day but to really change, to get stronger, fitter, you’ve got to log those mental training hours (Rocky style).
Now if you’re worried that you need to undergo a grueling 5hr a day training schedule to improve then fear not. I noticed improvements when I first started training logging only 15-30mins a day on the train into work. Start easy and build up from there.
So start by writing down those of reasons, wait 10 seconds and think of some more. Put a neat little star by the ones you think are really important.
Look at these reasons every freaking morning to keep yourself moving in the direction of your goals.
Step 2 – What comes after why?
Next you’ve got to figure out where it is you want to get to (what it is you want to achieve)! This is the fun bit. Go mental with your ideas. At this stage your goals don’t have to be too concrete. You can forge your ideas in greater clarity as you go along but write those things down on a separate bit of the page with your reasons!
Step 3 – Create the spark!
Now you know what you want to do and why you want to do it you’re off to a good start but you need something else, a spark! A spark to ignite that mental excitement that comes from the first time you’ve memorised something which genuinely surprised you. Something that pushes your boundaries and opens your eyes to what’s actually possible. I experienced this moment for the first time when I memorised a new system for memorising a pack of cards on the train journey home. It may sound like such a small and trivial act but at the time I remember being genuinely amazed at how easy it was and how readily the images played back in mind.
To create your very first spark you might go for something a simple as memorising your credit card number. That’s 16 digits for those that live in the UK but to do that you need your first system. Try the number shape system for measure, its very simple and its a great starting point. Next you need a method of joining those images together in sequence like a chain. For that you could create a simple story linking them together.
Step 4 – Make a plan – you need more sparks!
To keep any good engine running you need to keep that electricity flowing to those spark plugs. Setting your self mini stepping stone goals is a good way to do this. Keep them interesting and useful if possible and keep logging those training hours. As I said at the beginning you can build this up, but make it like your new religion and stick to those training sessions.
A good way to do this is to write yourself a little program. Just like a gym program my first effort was quite high level but it had enough to keep me practicing at certain times of the day (on the train in my case) and performing certain exercises (memorising a deck of cards for example).
So there you have it. A four step plan to get you up and running. Hopefully someone out there finds this useful.