The Secret of Remembering

NLP techniques

The secret of remembering!  My memory is not what it used to be.  How often have you heard that?  

Ninety-nine per cent of the time it is an excuse for not being bothered to remember.  

The act of remembering takes a little effort and practice.  It is merely a question of organising your life and adjusting your mind and you can soon make matters very much easier for yourself. 

I remember, I remember

The house where I was born

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn

Thomas Hood

Don’t worry so much about kidding others that you are unable to remember; worry more about kidding yourself.  

Unless you are suffering from some sort of illness – when you should be receiving medical attention – there is nothing wrong with your brain or your mind.

The secret of remembering - interest

A member of our wider family says she is no good at remembering numbers but can always remember faces.  

That is, of course, a gloss on the truth.  Some people appear more naturally to remember some things than others. 

I kid myself that I am better at remembering words than some other things.  But what it really comes down to is interest and attention. 

The person who remembers faces is likely much more interested in faces than numbers.  I am certainly interested in words so that is where my concentration is likely to go.

If you believe you don’t have the ability to remember well, please keep an open mind at this stage. 

I assure you that if you wish to improve, you can if you are prepared to commit a little time and effort to it. 

What I can tell you is that most people are stuck in one or more areas of their lives because they are not prepared to make any effort to improve. 

They sit around waiting for something or other to happen, and they wait a long time!

The secret of remembering - tips

Here are a few general tips for helping you to remember everyday tasks.  I use post-it notes a lot to aid my memory. 

I have one stuck on my computer now that reads:  Vaccination at 2.10. 

Apart from the constant reminder while I am looking at the screen, it also helps to embed the message in my brain so that when I break off for lunch I have a greatly increased chance of making my appointment. 

I wonder what we ever did without post-it notes.  The great thing is you can stick them almost anywhere so you could, for example, stick them on your shaving mirror or your dressing table mirror.

I recall as a child being told to tie a knot in my handkerchief if I needed to remember something later.  

Then, when I pulled the handkerchief out of my pocket the knot would jog my memory.  

It may be you use tissues rather than handkerchiefs (not so good for knots perhaps!), but an alternative might be to put a rubber band on your wrist or, if you wear a wrist watch, wear it on the other wrist. 

Whether you look at the watch on the wrong hand or the bare wrist where you would expect your watch to be, it will be a powerful trigger and you will find it very difficult to forget that which you needed to remember.

The secret of remembering – memory joggers

Keep a notebook and pen by your bed.  Vital things to remember seem to drift into your mind just as you are going off to sleep or waking up. 

If you are really too tired to note it down, throw a pillow, handkerchief, hot water bottle, or some other handy item, on to the floor.  It will jog your memory when you wake up. 

Anything which is in an unusual position when you spot it, will prompt you to ask yourself why it is there and that is the trigger you need.

If you have to remember because you are studying for exams, then there are other articles on this website that can help you, but there are certain key matters you should keep in mind. 

The first is to show an interest in the subject you wish to learn.  

The more interest you can show in the topic, the more likely you are to remember it well. 

When I was reading law I found land law dull and uninteresting and, try as I might, it difficult to muster enthusiasm for it. 

It was one of four subjects we studied in the second year of university and I calculated that I spent twice as long on land law as I did on the other three subjects together.  I did get there in the end, but it was a struggle.

The secret of remembering - understanding

So try to be interested.  Next make sure you understand the material as you go along.  Ask yourself the question:  Could I explain this to someone else? 

If you couldn’t explain it, then you don’t understand it.  If you don’t understand it, you won’t remember it.  

And, if you don’t understand it, you certainly shouldn’t try to explain it to someone else.  

When circumstances like these arise, the temptation is to blame your memory when, in fact, it is your lack of understanding that needs correction.

Paying attention

Pay attention while you are listening to a talk or lecture on your subject or when you are reading about it.  

Think about the words and think about the concepts.  The more you do so, the more it aids your understanding and memory. 

Take notes.  Don’t put them away immediately.  Read them over immediately afterwards.

Discuss them with friends on the same course.  Look at the notes again the following day and review them at least weekly. 


Be sure to keep a diary.  You may like an old-fashioned paper diary or you may prefer to use the diary facility on your cell phone or ipad if you have one. 

One of the great things about modern electronic devices is that you don’t even have to think about post-it notes or knots in handkerchiefs. 

 All you have to do instead is set an alarm on your device. 

This article has presented just a few tips on the secret of remembering but it should be enough to raise your awareness of your own possibilities and encourage you to read other articles and books that will help you still further.

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