Why did I walk into this room?
Are you looking for proven memory loss solutions? Being a speech-language pathologist working with people who report memory concerns, I hear this almost every day. “I never used to be this way! Why can’t I remember why I walked into the room? What did I need to get or do?” Believe it or not, there really is a simple solution.
External recall strategy
There are really two types of memory recall strategies – Internal and External. Within these two types of memory recall strategies are slews of techniques. This article targets one of the most foolproof external memory strategies – writing it down! Wait! Hear me out! I KNOW you know this! But I am offering a new perspective of how to effectively use a simple technique that will SOLVE your problem of forgetting why you walked into a room for something! Here’s how it works.
Proven memory loss solutions
This article is the first in a Series to Remember. It is important to understand there can be multiple medical reasons behind short-term memory loss. Not all solutions will meet everyone’s needs. If neurological deficits are the cause of worsening memory, basic recall strategies will only temporarily be effective. We are also learning more about Long-Covid symptoms. With some people, attention and concentration skills worsen, which can lead to memory deficits. For more information on that topic, please refer to my article “Are brain exercises for memory proven to work?”
Here is the bottom line. The brain CRAVES cognitive stimulation. At ANY age. Internal recall strategies will be addressed in future articles within this Series to Remember. Internal strategies are also considered brain stimulation exercises. But, I digress. I want you to know what is coming up in this series so you return for more knowledge!
The crazy-easy solution
The number one external proven memory loss solution is yes, writing it down. But here is the secret! How many times do you say “I wrote it down but I can’t find where I put it!” Read on my friend, we will address this down the road in the Series to Remember. For now, this is the “secret” to never again forget why you walked into that other room!
Please keep in mind, even though this is a super easy solution, it does not mean it doesn’t take a few extra steps, time, or energy. In this world of instant gratification, we sometimes now get annoyed when things don’t happen swiftly. For example, how many websites have you visited searching for that magic pill that claims to rejuvenate your mind and help bring back your memory! I see the commercials every day! A couple in their 70s and 80s, who walk 5 miles a day, are active in their community, eat well, and look physically healthy. Then they claim this one daily pill is the reason for their great memory skills! Have you noticed they don’t advertise with older adults on oxygen, physically debilitated, depressed, and living in poverty? Take a good look at that commercial next time you see it. You know to which one I am referring.
The solution already!
I hope you are getting the point that using memory strategies, no matter what they are, does take extra effort. Now for the reason you are here! In order to never again forget why you walked into a room, you need to plan ahead! If you want to make changes, you need to make a simple change. It is understandable why people place such negative feelings towards the simple act of writing things down to help them remember. Perhaps the truth of the matter is you are just frustrated about being forgetful, not about using a tool to help you remember. Let’s see how this technique can help relieve these frustrations.
BEFORE you stand up and start walking to that room, look to the table nearest you. Most of us have a favorite chair in which we sit consistently. Many of us have a place near those favorite chairs where we set things down. Such as the television remote. Our drinks. The smartphone, tablet, our glasses. Speaking of, most of us don’t ever go anywhere without our smartphones. But, believe it or not, there is still a generation of people out there who still rely on good old fashion pen and paper.
How to use proven memory loss solutions
Here are the rules. Prior to standing up and leaving your chair, take no more than 30 seconds (and that is really a LOT OF TIME) to either type in the item you are planning to retrieve into your smartphone, as you know it will be in your hand anyway. OR, grab that scrap of paper (we will talk about this) and jot down the word, and place it in your pocket.
Was that so difficult? No. What was difficult? Stopping yourself from immediately standing up and walking. Why do we forget such simple things in such a short amount of time? We live in a world of distractions! If you live alone, it is a myth that you have fewer distractions. Of course, you don’t have a partner asking where you are going. There may not be kids calling your name. But you might have pets, you might have intrusive thoughts (thoughts that interfere with mindfulness). You might experience shocking pain as soon as you stand up, causing you to already forget what you were about to do!
What about those scraps of paper?
Alright, here is the nitty-gritty part of your challenge. Oh, I didn’t mention there is a challenge? What good is a memory strategy if you do not use it? Here is your assignment. First, take a moment to think about the places in your home you tend to hang out the most. Now, picture a place in every room where you can place either an organized pile of small scrap paper, a small pocket-sized notebook, or colorful sticky notes. Next, place at least TWO writing instruments next to the papers. Why 2? Because 1 will invariably walk off.
Finally, you are now ready to start the TRAINING phase of this proven memory loss solution. It is not good enough to just have the papers in place, pens available and smartphones ready to go. Now comes the hard part. One must dedicate themselves to consistently practicing this technique. What we are actually doing, is starting a new habit that will turn into a mindless routine, that will help you remember what you need to remember.
Here is how you do it. The secret to starting a new habit? Effort and consistency. You will have to place purposeful energy towards telling yourself before I leave this room, I MUST write this down. After you write it down or type it in, you then MUST purposefully, place that paper in your pocket, or carry that phone in your hand. We do not want to build a new habit, only to do it half right. Sounds like work, doesn’t it? But don’t you want the results of never again forgetting why you walked into a room? This external strategy truly is foolproof, if you use it the way it is intended.
Proven memory loss solutions at your fingertips
As you see, there is no secret to remembering why you walked into a room. Are there other recall strategies? ABSOLUTELY! Will I reveal those too? ABSOLUTELY! This is why I developed the Series to Remember!
How long will it take you to use this memory loss solution before it becomes a new habit or routine? Research has discovered that time alone is not a factor when determining when a new behavior becomes a habit, but the frequency at which you practice is the determining factor! One of my favorite books that talks about developing habits is called Atomic Habits by James Clear. I highly recommend this book!
So the journey of memory recall begins
There is no memory pill that will help you remember why you walked into that room to get that thing. A memory pill cannot shelter you from both external and internal distractions, take your pain away, and bring back that one word we tend to forget at that right moment. Yet, with purposeful intent and consistent behavior of making yourself write down or type in that specific item you want to retrieve, it will be with you at the moment in need.
I challenge you to implement this strategy starting today! Make your plan! Decide if you will use your smartphone or paper. Then make sure you have access to these tools in every room you frequent. Then, make the decision to purposefully stop yourself before standing up or leaving a room and make it a point to use this strategy! If you do this repeatedly, consistently every single time, it should eventually become a mindless habit that will keep you on track! Do this and start enjoying the positive results! Good luck!
Please leave a comment about your success with this challenge! Come back for more memory tips on a Series to Remember!
Looking for some brain exercise challenges?
Check out my neuro-rehab puzzles that target attention and concentration. One is called Easy to Moderate Mazes for Neuro Recovery – an exercise in attention and concentration – phase I and the other is Master the Maze – A healthy alternative to road rage and spree killing. Keep your brain cognitively challenged for better brain health!
See you next time!
Looking for extra funds to spend on travel fun? Check out my post on Making Money with a Side Hustle – the Top 15. OR learn how to write a blog! Read Blogging 101 – tips for starting a blog! to get you started.