Over 60% of the nation admit to forgetting birthdays and anniversaries
Loved ones’ birthdays, important anniversaries and special occasions offer the perfect opportunity for us to express just how much we care. A simple gesture of acknowledgement – such as a meaningful card or bright bunch of flowers – can ignite the warmest of feelings, enriching our relationships. We all know how much that heartfelt message means to Mum!
But what happens when the date passes, and that once-a-year chance to declare our love goes amiss? According to our latest research, Brits are becoming more and more forgetful, with almost a third letting Mum & Dad’s birthdays fall off the radar – an average of up to nine times in our lifetimes!
Busy lifestyles and pressures from work distract 61% of us from remembering that special date, while 32% blame their forgetfulness on being disorganised. And for those that rely on social media to remind them of birthdays (15% of people, according to our research), it can be just that bit too late to send a card that arrives on time. This can mean splashing more cash on last-minute gifts and express deliveries to make up for the embarrassment.
On the flip side, staying ahead of the game with effective planning can have a whole lot of benefits, including reducing stress and freeing up more time to do what you love.
We’ve been working alongside memory expert Mark Channon to learn a bit more about why we forget things, and to find out how we can help our minds to remember important dates in the future.
Mark Channon’s top tips to improve your memory for remembering dates include:
- Relate it to yourself - It can often be easier to remember something if you relate it to yourself. Think about important birthdays in relation to your own. The ones around the same time (you’ll usually find these easier to remember), the ones way before yours and the ones way after. Thinking about birthdays in this way can make them more memorable.
- Be mindful - Mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce mind wandering and improve working memory. Try a daily 3-minute breathing space to get more focused. Here’s how it works. Step 1 become aware of what’s happening in your mind and body (the key is not to try to change anything). Step 2 focus on your breath for about 1 minute. Step 3 bring your attention back to the moment. This simple practice trains you to focus on one thing and avoid distractions.
- Get creative - We all have fantastic visual memories. Try creating a short visual story for some of those harder to remember birthdays. If your Grandad has a birthday on January 22nd create a picture for Jan (sounds like Gin) and a picture for 22 (two little ducks in Bingo), now imagine Grandad drinking some Gin with 2 little ducks. This is hard to forget!
- Use a Memory Palace - We also have amazing spatial memories. An ancient strategy is to place things you want to remember in places you know well. Imagine you choose 12 locations, living room, kitchen, bathroom etc. and each of these rooms represents a month of the year. The living room is January, the kitchen is February, bathroom is March. Rather than having Grandad drinking Gin, instead, you see him in your living room (January) with 2 little ducks (22). By mentally running through the rooms in your home you’ll recall all of your important dates.
- Turn it into a game - Every time you recall a memory it gets stronger. Try quizzing your partner or friends to see who can remember the most birthdays. This will also raise your interest making it more likely that the dates will stick in your head.
- Create a habit - After you pour your Sunday coffee, think about any important upcoming dates that week. If you do this at the same moment every week, it has more chance of becoming a consistent habit. This will train your brain to pay more attention to dates that matter.
- Make technology work for YOU - If you have a busy lifestyle and want to make sure you never miss another important date, a reminder service like Moonpig is a great way to nudge your brain at the right time. The key here is to take action when you get the alert to avoid any more embarrassing trips to the garage.
So why not put our tips into practice for 2020 and make this year your most organised one yet?
Designed to help avoid forgotten occasions, our Moonpig Reminder Service gives you a gentle nudge one week ahead of the big day. That means more time to prepare and plan something special for the ones that mean most to you, so they can enjoy the celebration they deserve. Birthdays, anniversaries, sorted in advance and in just a couple of clicks.