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I remember when I first started my debt-free journey. It was 2016, and I had no clue what I was doing! The only thing I knew was that I was over giving up my hard-earned money to lenders while I survived off scraps so I made the crazy decision that I wasn’t going to owe anyone a dime.
Like many others, I turned to good ol’ Google to learn how to go about this whole debt payoff thing. Unfortunately, the only stories that made it to the top were the ones with the big sexy headlines.
You know the ones…I paid off six figures in 18 months!
And while that’s amazing, not everyone’s journey will be so quick. After four longgg years, I finally became debt-free but this accomplishment came with a lot of jaded moments.
If you know you have a long road ahead of you, here’s how to stay motivated when paying off debt:
Practice patience and endurance
This is where a lot of people struggle, but it is literally what separates those who achieve debt freedom from those who don’t.
Being without debt wouldn’t be seen as the “impossible” if it were easy so go into this journey with the expectation of it being difficult.
One thing that lit a fire under me was shifting to a visionary. I often envisioned myself with zeroes all across the board.
If you can see it clearly then you can achieve it and what you need to do to get yourself there becomes clearer as well.
No one said that this was going to be easy.
No one said it was going to feel good.
No one said it was going to be quick. But anything worthwhile rarely comes without pain. And it’s not about avoiding those feelings and emotions, it’s about learning how to find joy in the pain when it comes to something that is of value to you. Then that pain no longer becomes pain because you’ve built up endurance.
Break up your goals into small chunks
Depending on your income and amount of debt, you may have a long road ahead of you. This means that your goal is long-term, and it may be so large that it’s incredibly intimidating. So intimidating that you feel overwhelmed and don’t even start taking action because you’re so crippled by fear.
Instead of focusing on your long-term goal, break it up into bite-sized chunks. When you do this, you’re tricking yourself into working towards the end goal by camouflaging it behind short-term goals.
For example, let’s say that you want to pay off $20,000 in student loan debt. Instead of making this your main focus, you decide to break this up into a monthly goal of $400.
Confidence is built as you hit each small goal, and you feel motivated because of the illusion that you’re making progress a lot faster.
Related posts to check out next!
The use of visuals was one of the main things that helped to keep me motivated while I was paying off my debt. When we can physically see where we can be at a certain point in time then our brain goes to work to make it happen.
This can be a:
- Vision board
- Screen saver
- Debt freeboard
- Whatever you want to use!
Visuals keep you intentional, especially with you’re spending because when you look at it you’re reminded of where you’re trying to be.
They also represent how far you have come from where you’ve started. It’s easy to dismiss your progress, but seeing it all laid out proves that your efforts are paying off.
Stop comparing your journey to others!
It’s so easy to get caught up in someone else’s journey and apply the time it took them to become debt-free to our own journey. Then, when we don’t knock out our debt during that time we feel like somehow we’re failing.
Comparison is the thief of joy!
Different factors play a role in the time it takes to pay off debt such as:
You have to understand that your debt-free journey is personal and own your story. Be confident that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing at your own speed!
To stay motivated while paying off debt, it is important to surround yourself with good energy and create an environment that will support your journey. I honestly don’t know if I would be here if it weren’t for the online debt-free community.
When you have a community of people who are all working towards a common goal it forces you to hold yourself accountable, no matter how difficult.
And I know, social media has a bad reputation but if you use it intentionally it can be a powerful tool! When I felt down or wasn’t motivated to stick to my budget I’d hop on Instagram and there would be a ton of posts where people shared their wins, failures, and tips for paying off debt. It gave me this renewed motivation, and I felt like I could make it through another day.
Have faith in yourself
If you don’t believe that you can do it then you won’t! Why? Because you’ve already declared your outcome so there’s literally no incentive to keep going.
Continue walking even when you cannot see what’s in front of you. A debt-free journey will be full of what-ifs. You literally have no idea what expense is going to pop up next or what your income for the next month is going to look like, but faith is having the confidence to move your feet even in the dark.
Stay consistent even when you fall into more debt, blow your budget, buy something impulsively, whatever. Just keep moving forward and you will eventually experience that shift you’ve been looking for.
Those balances will dwindle, your spendable income will increase, and then one day you’ll look back, realize all the ground that you have covered with those small steps, and be like dang I really did that!
Resources I’m loving!
Rakuten is one of the most popular sites that offer you cash back at your favorite stores. I’ve tried a lot of cash back sites, and in my opinion, I get the most when shopping with them.
How does Rakuten work?
You go to the website, create an account, search for your store, and then you’ll be directed to the store’s website. That’s it! You just shop after that.
When you link a card, you can also earn by physically shopping in the stores also. Here’s $40 in cashback when you spend $40!
FREE BREAK UP WITH DEBT COURSE!
Ready to start dumping debt? Take my free online course!
Here are some things you’ll learn:
- Learn how to identify and stop money leaks that are hindering your ability to pay off debt
- Learn three quick ways to squeeze more money from your budget to beef up your debt payments
- I’ll teach you the top three things that have allowed me to:
- Stay out of the “yo-yo effect”. This is when you lower your balances but turn around and run them right back up!
- Smash through my financial goals
- Easily turn making debt payments into an unconscious habit