Motivating yourself to become debt free takes… a lot. You see, knowledge alone won’t get you far because knowledge does not automatically translate into action. Action will probably get you results but without a good strategy, you’ll waste valuable time and effort. Motivation can give you an extra boost but without an effective way to motivate yourself, your fire will fizzle out.
Why doesn’t knowledge automatically translate into action? What separates those who realize their get-out-of-debt goal from those who remain in debt for years or even decades?
Below we take a look at some of the missing ingredients in our get-out-of-debt plan.
Lack of knowledge or willingness to listen
You have no idea where to start; you’re practical efforts are born out of common sense doesn’t seem to be working at all. What to do next?
Fortunately, no one is hiding some secret knowledge about getting out of debt from you. This knowledge is out in the open. People talk about it; experts share their experience on the Web, on radio or on television. You might have heard about the different debt reduction strategies or debt relief options available for debtors like you.
For many, all it takes is a little bit of education to be able to take action. For others, however, pride (and embarrassment) is the biggest barrier: only when debt becomes too much too handle will they admit that they have a problem and need help – even though they knew that financial trouble was ahead.
Inability to see the gravity of the situation
When you’re looking at things from the same angle, no matter how long or hard you try, you’re going to miss other details. You’ll fail to appreciate what truly is happening. Maybe you’re simply looking at your debt this way: You have credit card balances; you wait for your next pay cheque. You pay the minimum and think that everything is under control.
But that’s hardly going to be a sustainable practice over the years, given the limited time and resources we all have. Minimum payments are small expenses but as Benjamin Franklin once wrote:
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak can sink a great ship.”
If you keep paying the minimum, you will be tied to your debt for decades and you will have less, if any, money saved at the end of the month. This could result in financial stress, and a smaller nest egg than your income can potentially produce. Have you ever looked at a debt problem this way?
Lack of a road map or an efficient strategy
Debt is a problem and problems, if they are to be solved, have to be tackled strategically. What should be in your toolbox: Knowledge, a budget, a target and a map to get you there.
When paying down debts, you’d want to be strategic and efficient so as not to waste time, money, and effort. You can’t just shoot in the air and hope birds will fall on your lap. In paying your debts, for example, you should concentrate your efforts on a single account first then work your way towards the rest, as opposed to sporadically paying cards whichever you feel like paying.
Lack of drive and the motive power to become really debt free
Finally, you can have all the strategies about getting out of debt but if you don’t want it badly enough, knowledge won’t translate into action.
Becoming debt-free could be a long journey. You need to continuously pump fuel into yourself in the form of motivation to be able to carry on. Find that all-consuming reason why you badly want to get out of debt.
- “I want to live a truly wealthy, not a credit card-financed life.”
- “I don’t want to be forever poor.”
- “I want to start a business.”
- “I want financial freedom at age 40.”
- “I want my family to have a better future.”
Set your eyes on that one goal and whenever you feel tired…feel free to rest but don’t ever give up.
Ways to Motivate Yourself to Become Debt-Free
Write down your goal to become debt-free
Writing down your goal is one of the most powerful ways to crank yourself up. When you see a goal written down, your mind begins to seek ways to achieve it. And as you know, when you actively seek something, it’s only a matter of time until you find it. So get a Goals Notebook and start writing down “Become Debt Free” as a goal. Start your day by writing your goal and reading it aloud to yourself.
Mark your calendar
Look forward to that date when you finally conquer debt. Say: “On this day I will walk free from debt.” Setting a date makes your goal time-bound, which is a crucial success factor in goal setting. When you set a time frame, you will have a sense of urgency and a way to check your efforts against your destination.
Put some emotional energy into your get-out-of-debt goal
Get mad at your debt — mad in a good way, I mean! It is okay to feel that emotional intensity as it fuels your drive to get out of debt. Have you ever remembered getting so mad at a certain circumstance in your life that you gave everything you got and ended up beating all the odds? Turn that emotional energy into fuel and you will get “there.”
Join an online support group
On the Internet, you’ll find people who care to share their experiences with debt. You might even find out some of them had a worse situation than you do but they were still able to get through it. Listen to their experiences and pay attention to their tips. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Cut your goals into bite-sized chunks
Paying down huge debts might seem to be an insurmountable goal, making you lose your motivation to plough forward. One brain trick is to cut your goal into bite-sized chunks so it won’t seem impossible to handle. If you have R7, 000 debt, say I will pay R3, 500 this year. Divide that by 12 so you have to pay roughly R300 a month (interest included). Divide that again by 4 so you only have to save R75 a week! R75 a week!?! Make that a hundred, please.
Don’t forget to look at the bright side of life
Find something to be grateful for despite all the challenges you are facing. Being negative will not solve your situation. Stay positive and you will be able to see possibilities and welcome other alternative solutions.
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