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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation

11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation

How do you motivate yourself? We all want to maximize our time and do more of the things we love to do but sometimes we get stuck in the ‘getting ready’ process.

We want to live every day with a clear intention to get closer to achieving our goals and living a happy, successful life. We want to get better every day but we never actually jump off.

The most powerful form of motivation comes from self-motivation. You can light your own fire.

It is not enough simply to wait for inspiration to start you moving forward. It doesn’t have to be something that happens to you, it can be something that you create.

All progress and motivation starts with taking action. One action will lead to another. Action will create better outcomes and new experiences for you.

When my coaching clients are suffering from distraction, I simply get them to start taking action. To get fired up. To do something specific.

This may be getting up earlier, or committing to doing exercise daily. Even if it’s doing something for just 5 minutes, it’s often that little push that it enough to get them going.

If you focus on a small number of things to create the change you want, it can have a dramatic effect on your business and life.

Here are 11 things you can do right now to take that jump and in the process of increasing brain power, memory and motivation.

1. Simplify Your Life

By creatively planning your life, it allows you to simplify. Delegating and eliminating activities that don’t motivate or excite you ensures you maximise your time and focuses your energy on achieving your goals.

It’s really hard to stay motivated when your mind is confused and cluttered with all of the projects and tasks you need to do. But if you can simplify, if you can carve away the unnecessary, your life will become more focused. And more focus leads to more motivation.

What areas of your life could you simplify?

One way you could do it is to combine tasks. Think about two things you want to do and see how you could combine them into one activity.

The author Marilyn Vos Savant takes this one stage further in her book Brain Building in Just 12 Weeks. She recommends that we make a list of every small task that has to be done, say, over a day or a week-end and then do them all one after another.

Essentially, you are fusing lots of smaller tasks together into one task and completing them all together. So rather than doing one task on one day and another task on another day, it becomes a focused blitz to get lots of little things completed all together.

This frees us more time and gives you a sense of accomplishment, that increases motivation.

2. Focus on How Far You’ve Come

One of the things that stops us being motivated and causes procrastination is that we measure our success not from how far we’ve come, but how far away we are from our dreams and ideals.

If we can change our thinking and become more conscious of how our brain is working, we can set ourselves up for success.

We’re often at our happiest when we use our brains to problem solve, visualize, achieve and measure our progress.

If you talk in specifics rather than generalities, there is an opportunity to feel happier and more energized.

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One way to do this is to start training your brain to measure specifics, which grounds your feelings in reality and can boost motivation.

Rather than focusing on your ideal, think about what you’ve achieved from a specific starting point.

If your goal is to lose 14lbs in the next 6 months and you’ve lost 3 lbs in the first 3 months you have two choices. You could focus on the fact that you’re still 11lbs away from your goal or you could focus on the fact that you have lost 3lbs since you’ve started.

The second option will allow you to celebrate success and build motivation and refocus your mind to lost more weight whilst the first option may focus your mind on how far away you are from your goals.

Let your brain set your own goals and have your own experiences.

3. Set Measurable Goals

This follows on nicely from the previous point. When I work with coaching clients we always set specific, measurable 90 Day Goals.

This is great for motivation and training the brain to focus only on things that are specific and measurable.

When we are making real progress towards our goals, it makes us a lot happier. We are motivated and inspired.

We all sense where we are in the present moment. The past has gone and the future is well, the future.

In this present moment, we feel like we’re making progress, moving forward in the right direction or we’re not. We can’t stop time. We can only make better use of our time.

If you’re not happy with the progress you’re making, you may start comparing with others which can make you feel a lot worse and stop motivation in their tracks.

So, think about what goals you want to achieve for the next 90 Days. Ask yourself what is the meaning/purpose behind each of the goals.

Write the goals down. Put specific measurements against each goal and visualise what achieving the goals will mean to you in terms of your own personal progress.

4. Shift Your Motivation from Getting to Giving

Some people only focus on what they can get out of life and relationships. It’s all about me, me, me.

“When you change the way you look at things; the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

However, if you come from a position of serving and helping, and being more consciously awake to the world around you, your mindset can shift from merely receiving to giving.

And when you create this shift, coming from a space of giving, your brain starts coming up with more and more creative ways to spread more and more abundance.

It’s far more satisfying to focus on giving. If you really focus on this, it can become a true purpose and focus for you.

Rather than focusing on simple transactions, you focus on deepening relationships and doing things that will genuinely make people happy.

If you focus on giving and gratitude and surround yourself with people of a similar mindset your motivational energy will always be high.

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There are also additional benefits. When givers come together the results can be so much bigger than on an individual level as everything has the capacity to be multiplied.

When your motivation is to give your brain will think of more and more creative ways to do that. Random thoughts will pop into your head and you’ll find more creative ways to improve other people in both your business and personal life.

If you aren’t sure what truly motivates you, this will help:

What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

5. Create and Repeat a New Habit

Sometimes, the smallest shifts create the biggest results. When you start a new habit, whether that’s going to the gym, creating videos or improving your speaking the key is consistency and repetition.

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you create incremental improvements.

If you want to start a new morning routine, the key is repetition. If you want to start meditating, the key is to stay with it. If you’re gearing up to run a 5k, the key is to run every day and build that strength and stamina.

If you have a vision of yourself as someone who doesn’t complete projects, then you think of yourself as that person. But if you tell yourself every day you’re a world class ‘project completer,’ you’ll begin to think and act like that person.

If you’re procrastinating on a big project, just start small and do something to move it forward, even if only five minutes. The next day work on that project again.

The key is deciding what you want to improve and then working on that thing every day. A 1% improvement every day can produce big results in the end.

Bonus tip: Here’re How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop

6. Direct Your Subconscious Mind Before Sleep

Many successful people never go to sleep without a request to their subconscious mind.

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious” – Thomas Edison

Your brain is a fantastic problem solving tool. If there are decisions you are struggling with or a project you’re looking for answers on, just spend a few minutes before you go to sleep visualizing the challenges, ideas, questions and experiences.

You can follow a similar process with your goals. Visualize your goals every night and visualize what the achievement of those goals will look like.

Your subconscious mind will then go to work, creating different connections and ideas. When you wake up, write down everything that comes to mind and then put things into action.

You’ll be surprised how amazing your subconscious mind is: Why Sleeping on a Difficult Problem Helps You Get the Answer

7. Focus on Your Environment

The people who you spend time with will change your life in one way or another. Surround yourself with people and things that support you in your business and life.

Cynics can pull you down with them but supportive people will motivate you to becoming even more happy and successful.

Throughout every day, we have choices regarding what we spend our time on and who we are going to spend our time with.

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You can be with people who stifle and bring your energy down, or be with people who inspire your creativity and celebrate your success.

Spend more time with people who make you feel more alive and happier and see where that takes you.

8. Express More Gratitude

When you come from a place of expressing gratitude both to what you have and the people around you, the change can be immense.

If you express gratitude for what you have, you are less envious and fixated on what other people have.

When you express gratitude to the important people in your life, it changes how you perceive them and how they feel about you.

Gratitude increases your energy and your feelings of abundance. With gratitude, everything is appreciated.

Gratitude also makes you a lot more creative and deepens your motivation. Handwritten notes, more expressive feelings, instantaneous notes or calls to the people that matter most become commonplace.

The thing about gratitude, though, is that it requires an active pursuit in all areas of your business and life. It’s not about what that person has done for you. It’s about how you feel about them, and their value to you.

Here’s a quick exercise:

Think about the people that are most important to you.

Next, write down 5 things you are grateful for, or appreciate, about that person.

You could tell them the 5 things or just keep it to yourself and sense how you are with that person the next time you meet.

Another important focus for gratitude is yourself. What are you grateful for today?

Taking the time to look inwardly and appreciate what you have built momentum and motivation and makes you a lot happier.

If you want to learn more ways to practice gratitude, check out these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

9. Increase Your Energy

Energy is a huge motivator. If we are fired up or excited about someone or something, we are usually very motivated.

Think about the last time you achieved something important. I’m guessing your energy and motivation was high?

If you’ve beaten your best time on the track, or lost the weight you wanted, or won a big piece of business, your energy will be sky high and you will want to dive back in again to improve your previous performance.

When we are excited and motivated about the things we are doing, we bring high levels of energy.

If you could spend more time doing the things that excite and motivate you, what would that mean for your business and life?

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High levels of energy produce continual growth and give you higher levels of confidence.

Try this:

Pick three things that give you high levels of excitement and motivation. Commit to spending at least one more hour on each of the things every month.

See what you can achieve. If it brings in the results you want, aim to spend more time on those 3 things and remove 3 things you want to spend less time on.

10. Visualize Your Ideal Future

If your motivation is lacking, try focusing on the purpose behind what you are doing or on how it plays into the larger goal of what you want to accomplish.

One great way to increase your brain power and motivation is to start thinking bigger and then challenge yourself to think bigger and bigger about your vision of your ideal future.

Where would you like to be in 3 years or 5 years’ time? What is your bigger purpose in your business and life? What would have to happen to make you happy with your progress?

Identifying and then focusing on your bigger vision gives you the feeling of working on something greater and being part of something bigger than yourself. It gives deeper meaning and purpose to your daily life.

If you are putting long hours into something or making a lot of sacrifices to achieve something, it will help put things into perspective and ensure your motivation stays strong.

Want to begin again with your life and live your ideal future, but you really don’t want to give up what you have now?

You don’t have to! Here’s the proof.

11. Take More Actions

If you’ve been resisting taking on a big project for a while, be that at home or at work, everything else in your life can begin to suffer.

Sometimes, you just have to face your resistance and fear and do what you’ve been avoiding. That one thing, could make a real difference to your life.

We all have lots to do and sometimes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand.

The key is to prioritize so we make the best use of our time and make an internal commitment to just get started.

One of my clients was very close to finishing a new online course but there were some things she was avoiding and procrastinating over. It was very easy for her to fill her time with social media updates, shiny new things and check out the things her competitors were doing to avoid taking action. She knew she was neglecting something really important to her personal goals and putting off things that mattered to her.

I got her to focus just half an hour at the beginning each day for a week on this project. That amount of time grew as her excitement and motivation increased.

She felt more excited and motivated by just getting started again and doing the work. This newfound energy also impacted other aspects of her life.

She felt more in control and knew she would succeed. Just by taking one small step and getting started.

Conclusion

Here are some things for you to consider as you reflect upon this article:

  • What’s motivating you right now?
  • Are you as inspired as you want to be?
  • Are you open to new experiences?
  • Are you continually learning new and better ways to live?
  • Are you putting those into practice?
  • Do you want to be more motivated and inspired?

Hopefully this article has provided some insights and you can use some of these tactics to help you live every day with a clear intention to get closer to achieving your goals.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pete Bellis via unsplash.com

More by this author

Mark Pettit

Mark Pettit is a Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs and business owners who want to achieve more by working less.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

Forgot a name? Misplaced your keys? Taking longer to find the right words? Don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do to improve your memory.

You’re probably expecting us to reveal 7 little known and newly discovered herbs from the forests of the Amazon, the peaks of the Himalayas and the Arctic tundra. No such luck.

Despite Americans spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on Ginkgo Biloba, Ashwagandha, Periwinkle, Bacopa, Vitamin B’s, Omega 3’s and memory boosting supplement cocktails, there is very little scientific evidence they actually work. [1]

So, how do we remember?

The first process in remembering is creating a memory.

This is where our brain sends a signal, associated with a thought, event or piece of information our mind is processing, over our brains neural pathways, called synapses.

Think of our neural pathways like roads and information like trucks. The better the roads, the more trucks can be driven.

The second step in remembering is memory consolidation.

Consolidation is when the brain takes that thought, event or piece of information and actually stores it in the brain. So now we’re talking about taking delivery of the trucks and storing its contents in the warehouse.

Consolidation helps us store information and label it properly, so its organized and easy to retrieve when needed.

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The last step is memory retrieval.

That’s the step whereby we try to retrieve the information stored in our brains. You know when you have the name of someone on the tip of your tongue.

You have the information; it’s been stored, but you just can’t find it. Our memory recall is typically better the stronger the memory is and the more often we’ve used it.

Memory decline is a normal part of aging. However, new scientific research is discovering many new ways for us to improve memory creation, consolidation and retrieval–no matter our age.

I’m going to offer you 7 completely natural memory boosters, backed up by scientific research. It may take a little more effort than a magic memory pill, but the benefits will transcend your memory and improve your overall quality of life as well, making you more fit, energetic, happy and sharp.

1. MIND Diet

Healthy eating, particularly more dark colored fruit, vegetables and oily fish has been shown to improve memory and stave off cognitive decline.

The MIND diet is proven to reduce the risk of dementia. It’s a mix of the popular Mediterranean diet and the low blood pressure DASH diet.[2]

The study kept track of the diets of almost 1,000 older adults. They were followed for an average of 4½ years.

The study concluded that “people whose diets were most strongly in line with the MIND diet had brains that functioned as if they were 7½ years younger than those whose diets least resembled this eating style.”

The study also showed that people who followed the MIND diet in the study reduced their chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease in half.

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So what does the MIND diet consist of? Lots of vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, whole grains and wine.

2. Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic activity is about as close as we get to a magic pill for our memories. Exercise helps your brain create new capillaries and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which creates new brain cells and connections. To put it in plain english, aerobic activity changes our brains and helps it grow.

Studies have shown that exercising increases the size of the hippocampus and improves memory. In fact, even if you start exercising as an older adult, you can reverse cognitive decline by 1 to 2 years and protects against further decreases in the size of the hippocampus, which is essential for memory.[3]

In another study, reviewed by Dr. Ian Robertson of the University of Dublin, they looked at a group of people of 60 years and older, who engaged in “active walking” for four months.

They compared them with another group of people who only stretched over the same period of time. After testing both groups before and after the 4 month period, the walkers improved their memory and attention considerably more than the stretching group.

So which exercises are best and how much do we have to exercise?

Turns out, it doesn’t really matter whether you run, swim, row or bike. What does matter is that you push yourself beyond your current abilities, keep doing more, keep getting better. Set yourself short term goals and keep pushing the goal posts.

3. Sleep

You need your sleep. The deeper the better. Sleep helps improve your procedural memory (how to do things, like how do I navigate my iPhone) and declarative memory (facts, like what’s my password).[4]

Even short naps from 6 to 45 minutes have been shown to improve your memory. In one Harvard study, college students memorized pairs of unrelated words, memorized a maze and copied a complex form. All were tested on their work. Half were then allowed to take a 45 minute nap. They were then retested. Those who took a nap, got a boost in their performance.[5]

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Another study showed that getting REM (deep) sleep can increase your memory and mental performance by 33% to 73%. Getting a deep sleep helps the brain consolidate memories through dreams and “associative processing”. However, the study also revealed that heart rate variability in deep sleep also contributed significantly to increased memory performance.[6]

4. Relax

We all know that stress is bad for our health. It can raise our blood pressure, impact our immune system and interrupt our sleep. Stress also impairs our memory.

When our body gets stressed, it releases cortisol into our blood stream, which can cause short and long term physical changes to the brain. While cortisol has sometimes been shown to cause increases in short term memory, it can actually decrease our long term recall memory.

To help reduce the stress in your life, try relaxing with meditation, yoga or breathing exercises. Unplug–even for just a few hours. Stop checking your emails, social accounts and news. Release some endorphins with some exercise.

Bottom line, the more anxious and stressed we are, the less clearly we think, the poorer our memory works.

5. Continuous Learning

The mind is like a muscle. The more you challenge it, the stronger it gets. The more you learn, the more you can learn.

Research shows that learning can actually change the physical makeup of your brain. Not too long ago, we used to think that you were born with a fixed amount of brain cells, which declined with age. New research now shows that we can actually increase the number of brain cells we have throughout our life.

Aside from staying physically active, learning new skills and studying can actually keep our brains healthier. Consider taking a continuing education class, studying a new language, learning a new instrument, playing new card games.[7]

Studies show that the more complex the task, the more benefits for your mind. Simply showing up to class is not enough. You need to be actively engaged. Anything that forces you to focus and learn something new and get out of a rote routine will help you sharpen your mind and boost your memory.

Try these 15 Ways to Cultivate Continuous Learning for a Sharper Brain.

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6. Stay Social

The more deep and meaningful social connections you maintain, the more you protect your brain. Bottom line, the more friends you have, the more people you work with, the more you’re forced to use your brain.

Social isolation and loneliness are significant risks of dementia. Without interacting with others, our brains wilt. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression, physical and mental decline.[8]

In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, seniors with a full social calendar did better on memory, reasoning, and processing speed tests.[9]

What to do?

Party! Seriously, get together with friends as often as possible. Have family dinners. Choose social activities or sports like tennis, golf, cards or go for walks with a friend. Bottom line have fun, build meaningful social relationships and stay connected. Not only will it make your mind sharper and your memory better, you’ll be happier, too!

7. Wakeful Rest

This one is getting harder and harder to do. In a world where we can’t sit on a bus, go up an elevator or go to the bathroom without our phones, doing absolutely nothing to distract our minds is becoming increasingly difficult.

But, the results are in. Doing nothing is great for your memory. Quietly resting for 10 minutes, after you learn something will help you remember and help you create more detailed memories.[10]

What we do minutes after we learn something new has a significant impact on how well we retain the new information. In another study, it didn’t matter what you did after you learned something new, as long as you weren’t distracted by outside factors. In other words, you could be thinking of your day, making a grocery list, or thinking of a story.

In either case, wakeful rest for a period of 10 minutes helped the brain process and consolidate your memories so that you were better able to recall the information at a later date.[11]

Bottom Line

You don’t have to spend a dime on cocktails and supplements promising a quick boost to your memory power. There is very little conclusive scientific evidence suggesting supplements will help improve the memories of healthy individuals–not for Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B, fish oils, Vitamin D, Folate or other supplements claiming they a secret formula.

There are far cheaper and more effective ways to boost your memory: exercise, rest, eat well, learn, love, laugh and relax. Who wouldn’t want that prescription?

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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