Four Ways to Stay Encouraged While Paying Debt
|November 16, 2007||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized|
By: Roshawn Watson
For most, paying off debt is relatively simply but incredibly difficult and not fun, especially when the loans are large. One reason it is so difficult is because somehow we feel like since we made up our minds to pay off our loans, they should disappear immediately. Unfortunately, just like it took time to get into the debt, it usually takes at least some time to get out of it. Additionally, sometimes it seems like everyone is living the life that we feel we deserve. They are going on multiple vacations, buying clothes that would look great on us, buying colossal and beautiful homes that look like they have been ripped out of the magazines, driving cars with features we could only dream of. It is extremely difficult to stay encouraged while paying off debt. In my own journey, these are the four ways that I stayed encouraged while paying off my debt.
1)Do not shut down all fun. While you can definitely have fun without money, money does make fun easier for most. While I am definitely for aggressive debt elimination (less than 3 years for consumer debt excluding the home), it is imperative that you continue to do some of the things that you (and your family if applicable) enjoy. The knee jerk reaction is to stop all fun completely. Doing so will almost guarantee that you get discouraged and stop completely. Instead, budget a small amount monthly for fun. Realize that you are trading getting out of debt sooner for the motivation to continue. As long as your fun is reasonable (not too expensive), it is usually a worthwhile investment
2)Follow Your Net Worth. Your net worth is your assets minus your liabilities. Visualizing the large liabilities at first may not seem all that encouraging, but as you continue paying off debt, you will see your net worth increase significantly. Charting your progress can be incredibly motivating, especially over extended periods of time. In times of discouragement, review how far you have come. Additionally motivating may be computing an income statement, which is income minus expenses. Once you have made some traction in debt elimination, look at the percentage of your income that is going towards debt. Then, imagine how cool it would be if you could invest that money, save it for a vacation, or give it to someone. Once you are done with paying debt, your cash flow will be much greater, and that is motivating in itself.
3) Listen to others who are paying off debt. In my post “Do Your Friends Keep you Broke,” I discuss the old adage that birds of a feather flock together and go to the same destination. By staying in the presence of those paying of debt, you can continue to refuel your own desire to be free. Talk to people with the same goals. Listen to programs where people talk about paying off debt. One good one is the Dave Ramsey Show. Contact others via forums. Read books, blogs, whatever else is necessary to stay motivated.
4) Set goals and reward yourself. Another big motivator is setting several small financial goals. These goals were specific, measurable, realistic, and time-oriented. I would plan out how long it would take me to achieve each one, and then I would try to exceed my own expectations. I made it into a game, and it energized me. Whenever, I accomplished a goal, I rewarded myself. The rewards were usually not extravagant. I simply pulled something off of my wish list, but they were all meaningful. They were not only something that I really wanted but also a sign that I was making progress.
If you are paying off debt, remember there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it is NOT an oncoming train. Stay encouraged, and you will have the energy you need to continue.
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Copyright 2012, Roshawn Watson, Pharm.D., Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.