Memory drawing is the regular practice of training your visual memory to retain what you see. The key words in the definition are regular practice, which effectively mean habit. In fact, without that habit memory drawing is a waste of time. So, how does one incorporate the habit of memory drawing into their daily life?
What is a Habit?
A habit is something you regularly do, often without thinking about it. Much of your entire day is spent following through with previously established habits. These are habits like: brushing your teeth, the route you take to work, when you look at email, to what you do before you go to bed, etc. What’s more, most of them were easy to create.
And, believe it or not, most habits are easy to create. You just need a habit loop.
What is a Habit Loop?
One way or another all habits follow three steps. Those steps form a loop that helps you to repeat them habitually. The steps are:
- A Cue is something in your day that leads you to a habitual action (you finish breakfast – the cue, and then brush your teeth – the routine).
- A Routine is the action (like brushing your teeth).
- A Reward is the result of the action. It can be immediate – a clean-tasting mouth, or delayed – lower dental bills.
To successfully form a memory drawing habit you should also follow the Cue > Routine > Reward habit loop.
A Memory Drawing Habit Loop
I will give you two possible memory drawing habit loops. If either one seems appealing, great. Make use of it. If neither seems appealing, use the principles that inform the examples to come up with your own.
The Coffee in the Morning Habit Loop
- Cue: Before you go to bed at night, set your drawing materials next to or on top of your coffee cup and saucer. This will remind you that you cannot have your morning coffee before you practice your memory drawing.
- Routine: Do you memory drawing for the day.
- Reward: Have your morning coffee (only after doing your memory drawing for the day).
The TV in the Evening Habit Loop
- Cue: Before you go to work in the morning, set your drawing materials next to or on top of your TV. During the evening this will remind you that you cannot watch television before you practice your memory drawing.
- Routine: Before you would normally watch TV in the evening, do your memory drawing for the day.
- Reward: Watch your evening show(s), but only after doing your memory drawing for the day.
Regardless of your loop of choice, once you are confident that it fits into your daily schedule stick with it for at least an entire month. Do not switch loops before then, if ever. Only when you clearly see that other things interfere with the loop should you consider another option.
Never Miss Twice
Missing a session now and then is unavoidable. But try to never miss twice in a row. One way to help assure this is to literally schedule your sessions on a physical calendar. Once you complete a session, draw a cross through it. Your task is to not break the chain of crosses.
Having an accountability partner will help you form and stick with your memory drawing habit. This can be your spouse, room mate, or even a friend on social media.
The subject of habits is an ever-growing field. The information above should be enough of a taste to assure your success, but if you want to go deeper the following resources will be helpful: