It certainly helps to create a story in order to remember certain words, but you’ve probably noticed that it’s also possible to quickly forget one or two things or mix up the sequence.

To briefly demonstrate the greater capacity at which your brain can perform, I’ll show you another reliable method that virtually guarantees that you’ll remember everything you want to remember. It is called the “route method,” but before you try it, you will need to tackle another small task.

Walk around your home and make a note of ten markers (objects) to remember in the order that you see them. You can begin at the front door and walk through the rooms in whatever direction you wish. Select ten conspicuous objects that have been in the same place for a long time, and remember to note the order in which you select them. For example, you can choose a chest of drawers, the hall closet, a mirror, a stool, the bathroom sink, a table, a closet, a plant, a shelf, an armchair, or a carpet. Every home is different, of course, but you get the idea. Th e point of this exercise is simply to demonstrate how to designate a route using objects in your house as markers.

Before you continue, imagine the points on your chosen route in the correct sequence once more. Th is time, instead of composing a story, attach a word you want to remember to each object on the route you’ve created. I’ll explain how this works using the words cat and note.

Assume that the fi rst route marker on your tour is a chest of drawers. Now imagine a picture of a small tabby cat sauntering across the top of the chest. The cat lifts its legs carefully so it doesn’t knock anything off and then settles down, purring in contentment.

Th e second marker on the tour is the closet. To remember the word note, I would imagine that small notes are attached to all the coats and jackets hanging in the closet.

Th e most important thing about this method is that you must create an original link between the route marker you’ve chosen from your home and the specific object to be remembered. Make the images concrete in your mind. And don’t forget, the more colorful, odd, and crazy your associations, the easier your memory will store those links.

If you want to recall some keywords, imagine that you are walking the route in your mind, from the first marker to the last and recall the images you’ve associated with each. If you think of the first route marker, you will see a small cat before you, treading gingerly across the chest. Therefore, the first word to be remembered is cat. Then your thoughts follow the route to the closet, where all the notes are stuck on the coats and jackets. You’ll then remember that the second keyword is note and so on. Initially, this method will seem fairly time-consuming and you’ll need to use a great deal of effort to remember just ten words, but just wait and see. Ten words can certainly be learned by rote and retained over a lengthy period. So why do you still write out a shopping list if it is so easy to remember? The route method has another advantage— you are more aware of whether you have really remembered all the keywords, and you have an opportunity to access them again through the additional information that you’ve memorized, even if you can’t recall them all the first time around.

If you want to memorize the contents of a book, key points in a lecture, or just several facts, you will love the route method. You can give your mind plenty of help by allowing your imagination and creativity full scope to link the information you want to remember to your route.

Are you ready to test this technique? Then memorize the selected keywords (Do It Yourself) using your personal route.

Here are a few more tips for using the route method

Quietly read through the keywords several times. Give yourself time to memorize them, and have faith in yourself.

Don’t be afraid of forgetting something. If you can imagine and visualize important images, it will be easy for you to remember ten words.

The more elaborate and the funnier the images are, the more they will stick in your memory. You’ll immediately notice how easy it is to remember words that you might have found difficult to remember during the initial test.

Go through the ten route markers again quickly to warm up.