Why You Keep Forgetting Things: 6 Answers & 5 Practical Fixes

Why you keep forgetting things feature image of Anthony Metivier thinking about the questionWant to know why you keep forgetting things?

You’re in the right place.

I’ve been studying memory and teaching people how to improve it for over a decade.

And the answers couldn’t be clearer.

You do face the mystery of why it’s so hard to change, however.

That’s why in addition to explaining why forgetfulness in your 30s and 40s starts happening with such soul-sucking brutality, I’ll give suggestions for fixing the problem.

Spoiler alert:

A small amount of personal effort will be required to turn things around.

Frankly, it’s the lack of effort a lot of us have been seduced into by the modern world that needs to be addressed, along with a few other lifestyle issues.

Ready to fix your memory problems practically?

And enjoy improvement while setting the path for lifelong maintenance and personal growth?

Let’s get started!

Why You Forget Things: 6 Reasons We All Face

The problems begin when we’re too general about the topic of exactly what we’re forgetting. We often ask, how can I remember things, for example.

In reality, we need to be much more specific. There are several main types of memory, and each needs to be addressed specifically.

By the same token, most of us benefit from holistic learning. So as we go through this list of factors that cause forgetting, keep in mind two things:

  • All of these issues are well worth addressing
  • To truly retain information better, make a person list of what you keep forgetting

By combining these two approaches, you’ll see improvements faster. By progressively changing your lifestyle and applying the right memory techniques to the information you need to remember, lasting memory improvement will result.

You don’t have to take my word for it. I’ve been building the longest wall of testimonials on the Internet and many students are enthusiastic about the results they’ve enjoyed. I’m confident you will be too.

To get you there, let’s explore your lifestyle factors reading

One: Digital Amnesia

Like all of us, you live in an era where ads interrupt just about everything we read online. Digital amnesia is my slightly more optimistic term for what scientists call digital dementia.

In this study, researchers argue that the data is clear. If you spent too much time online, you’re highly likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

The solution?

Read physical books without a smart phone in sight to interrupt you. I personally work to get in at least 2-3 hours on uninterrupted reading every day.

Language learning has been shown to help preserve cognitive skills in later life. Here’s one study of many discussing the benefits.

Because researchers have found that memory loss can begin even in your 20s, I suggest you invest in time offline and start learning a new language as soon as possible. I’m currently working on Mandarin, Latin and Sanskrit myself, as I maintain my German.

Two: Unaddressed Stress & Anxiety

We all deal with stress. But if we fail to address it, anxiety will promote memory loss.

You have many options in this department. Spending time away from computers is a start, especially when you get into nature and read.

You can also explore concentration meditations and go through guided visualizations.

Or, you might need to tackle our next cause of forgetting.trans fats in food have been proven to kill your brain cells

Three: Poor Nutrition

Not long ago, I noticed I was struggling with more stress in my life. That led to me fumbling for words and forgetting more often than I like.

Turns out that I just needed to get some B1 supplements.

For you, the issues will be personal and I suggest you always consult a doctor.

For general information, it might interest you to know that most foods that improve memory are also healthy. But you should still run any dietary changes you make across a medical professional.

Four: Lack Of Exercise

Everyone knows that fitness and health go together.

Certainly, some people have reasons for why they cannot get regular exercise.

But if you can, we have great research showing that regular exercise boosts cognition and memory.overwhelm while completing PhD and MA

Five: Allowing Distractions & Overwhelm

One of my best success strategies, both when I was in university, and in my research and writing work now is challenging to set up.

But once you work out how to reduce distractions, it’s so much easier to focus. And where focus goes, memory flows.

In addition to finding places where you can study without interruption, use chunking to break big topics down.

Sometimes people see polymathic learners and build illusions in their minds about how they learn so much.

Sure, there are some polymathic personality traits that might help them naturally. But overall, the true talent they have involves breaking complex tasks down into smaller pieces. Then, whenever required, they use deliberate practice, which is a specific learning approach anyone can use.

Six: Substance Consumption

Whether it’s drinking too much or feeling the effects of prescription medication, you could be forgetting things due to what you’re consuming.

Sometimes you can ask a doctor for alternative medication that won’t affect your memory so much. I discussed how I did that in this video about my own pharmaceutical memory issues.

As always, you need to consult a physician, but the solutions I worked out with my doctor helped and I’ve never gone back.

Added to the fact that I cut drinking, worked on my diet and started getting regular fitness, my holistic approach improved my memory and thinking skills quickly.

5 Practical Things You Can Do About Forgetting At Any Age

In addition to all the lifestyle suggestions above, there are a number of specific memory hacks I suggest.

As we go through each, it will be helpful if you have written down that list I suggested above. The one with the kinds of information you keep forgetting listed on it.

If you haven’t done that, it’s not too late. You’ll get more from these suggestions by getting some clarity first on exactly what you want to remember. Whether it’s remembering names, numbers related to math or computer programming, there are specific mnemonic devices that will help.

One: Get More Social Interaction

Many people suffer memory issues because they don’t speak with enough people often enough.

Scientists have linked what they call “social cognition” to memory and the evidence is clear. People who socialize more tend to have better memory skills.

Personally, I’m a bit isolated where I live at the moment. But I regularly interview people and hold Zoom calls for people in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass.

I have an even more ambitious project I’m working on for increasing my social activity. More news on that coming soon.Anthony Metivier with a playing card to express a concept related to memory games for dementia

Two: Play Memory Games That Actually Work

In addition to the digital amnesia issue we discussed above, there’s the problem of brain games that don’t really work as advertised.

If you truly want to combat cognitive decline, you can choose meaningful activities and add in some legit memory games.

In cases where you’re specifically concerned about dementia, make sure to choose games that address this problem.

I suggest you also expand your notion of what counts as a “game.” For example, in this tutorial, I show you how you can use movies you’ve watched as a form of fun memory exercise.

Three: Use “Recall Rehearsal” Strategically

It’s well known that people find rote learning tragically boring.

I don’t blame them.

But the fact remains that we need a certain amount of repetition in order to learn things.

In addition to educating yourself about spaced repetition, which reduces the boredom rote creates, explore ways to use flashcards differently.

You can also recite information by singing, as suggested by Luke Ranieri, a military pilot who became a skilled polyglot and teacher of classical opened book on wooden desk

Four: Self-Test

A main reason you forget things is that you don’t regularly challenge your memory.

Although it is true that frustration causes many people to give up, a little bit of failure is needed in order for memories to form.

Scientists call this principle active recall.

Here’s a very simple process to follow:

  • Commit something to memory
  • Get a pen and paper
  • Bring the information to mind
  • Write it down

Even if you only partially remember the info, write out as much as you can get. If you get nothing, repeat the process.

The point is that you’re challenging your mind.

If you’re not ready for this challenge, as an alternative, Dr. Gary Small has suggested one of my favorite passive memory exercises. It’s a simple brain boosting routine that works like this:

  • Notice four details of a person you see
  • Let an hour pass
  • Practice recalling those four details

The reason this kind of exercise is called “passive” reflects that you’re not using any kind of memory technique. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use mnemonics. Far from it.Mind mapping for business feature image of Anthony Metivier creating a mind map to reflect on the next steps in his entrepreneurial career

Five: Become A Master of Your Memory

Many people benefit from exploring the world of mnemonics. Whether it’s to participate in a memory competition or explore the Memory Palace for language learning, mnemonics can substantially boost your memory.

The trick is to take this field of practice as seriously as you would any sport or profession.

The key mnemonic strategies you’ll want to pick up involve a small list:

All of these techniques are well-evidence in the memory science available to you.

Not only does adopting these mnemonic strategies help your memory. It will increase your visualization skills too. You can also apply them to critical thinking, which itself is an activity that can boost memory.

Now, it’s a fact that learning memory techniques can create a lot of resistance for some people. One way to get yourself to take action anyway is to explore your roadblocks using mind mapping.

In this video, I give you three mind mapping exercises that will help you figure out your path forward:

Give each one a go and enjoy the mental strength and long-term stamina they help you develop.

You Really Can Stop Forgetting In Its Tracks

As you’ve seen, there are two main answers to the question, “Why do I keep forgetting things?”

Lifestyle changes are important. Adding dedicated memory techniques directed at the kinds of information you want to remember better is also critical.

Whether it’s committing a speech to memory, deeply absorbing a poem or remembering your family tree, everything will get better when you take action.

To help you with that, feel free to get my free memory improvement kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It gives you four video lessons and three PDF worksheets.

Just going through the course will give you some much needed memory exercise.

I know because I use my own training myself.

This is important to understand because memory always needs exercising.

Treat your memory like a journey, not a destination.

I’ve known some of the best memory competitors of our time and studied the historical memory masters in-depth (like Giordano Bruno and Robert Fludd).

They all have one thing in common:

The quality of their memory is connected to the amount they regularly challenge it.

Seize the day and if you’re worried about getting into a memory course, I suggest you also read or listen to my Memory Training Consumer Awareness Guide next.

I created it to help inspire more people to take memory training seriously, without worrying about the sharks and charlatans.

After all, they rely on people forgetting. But now you don’t have to forget. You know how to stop forgetting things once and for all.

Just put in a bit of effort and soon your memory skills will rise, potentially higher than ever before.

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Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

His most popular books include, The Victorious Mind and… Read More

Anthony Metivier taught as a professor at:

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