As important as goal setting is in most aspects of your life, one of the biggest challenges you might face is staying motivated throughout the process. The implications of this can have a serious impact on your life, especially when it comes to reaching your financial goals.
If you have lingering debt that’s slowly eating away at your bank account, paying off debt fast may be near the top of your list of priorities. The problem is, depending on your situation, this process may not always go as fast as you’d like. If this is the case, you’re going to want to find ways to not falter along your road to become debt free. So, with that in mind, here are five tips to help keep you motivated throughout the process of paying off debt.
1. Brace Yourself for Personal Sacrifices
As motivated as you might be at the start of the process of paying off debt, the truth is, it’s a long game for most people. And in order to achieve your long-term goals, you’ll have to get comfortable with the idea that you’re going to have to make some sacrifices for the foreseeable future. This can include things like:
- Cutting back on subscription services.
- Trimming your grocery bill.
- Eating out less.
- Spending less on entertainment.
As tricky as this can be, having some idea of what to prepare for at the beginning of this process can help you see things through. And remember, these sacrifices don’t need to be permanent fixtures in your life, and the ultimate goal of paying off debt will be worth the hard work you’ve put in.
2. Set Expectations that you can Achieve
One of the keys to an effective debt management plan is to maintain consistency as you’re paying off your debts. As much as you’d like to get all this debt off your plate in a year, this may not be possible. You’ll need to consider the amount of money that you owe, and how much of your income you can afford to commit to this particular pursuit.
Depending on your situation, it may be more feasible to maintain small but consistent contributions towards your debt so that you can continue to maintain the lifestyle you’re comfortable with, keeping in mind that you’ll still likely need to make some sacrifices. It’ll also allow you to continue contributing to other important things in your life, like your savings, your retirement fund, and/or your emergency fund. Don’t completely cut out all the entertainment in your life. It can become easier to achieve your financial goals when you haven’t fully shut yourself off from things you enjoy.
One thing that can help you in the short- and long-term is to ease into the process. If you’re trying to make some room in your budget to contribute more to paying off debt, start integrating some simple changes to your spending, like getting rid of one or two streaming services, or going out for lunch one less time a week. Once you’ve become accustomed to these changes, you can start to incorporate one or two more at a time. These small changes can start to add up over the course of time and can be a big part of your plan for paying off debt.
3. Find Someone to Hold you Accountable
When no one is watching, it can be a lot easier for us to skimp on the promises we’ve made to ourselves. But when you have a trusted friend or family member to hold you accountable, it can be just what you need to make sure you follow through on the pursuit of paying off debt.
So, with this in mind, pick someone like your partner, a family member, or a friend, and inform them of what you’re trying to achieve. See if they have any goals that they’ve set for themselves and see if they’re open to being your accountability partner. They don’t need to have the same goal as you, as long as they’re looking to achieve something specific and are willing to help motivate you to pay off your debt.
One thing that can help is to make sure that this person is someone that you’re frequently around. It can sometimes be hard to turn down social plans, even if they’re more expensive than you’d like, but if the person making plans knows about your goal, they may be more open to coming up with plans to suit your budget.
4. Put Reminders in Place
When you set yourself a long-term goal, it’s sometimes easy for it to get lost in the shuffle. So, to counteract this, try to put things in place that are going to remind you of your goal. The more you’re able to hold that goal in your mind, the easier you might find it to follow through. You can do things like:
- Set yourself a reminder on your phone to pop up at the same time every day to make sure you stay focused on your goal of paying off debt. Or change your phone background to a picture of some sort of reward you’re going to give yourself once you accomplish your goal.
- Put a little note in your wallet to remind yourself of your goal. Every time you go to spend money, you’ll see the note, which could make you think twice if you’re about to buy something you don’t necessarily need.
5. Give Yourself an Occasional Break
As we’ve been preaching this whole time, paying off debt is going to be a long process for most people. With that in mind, as long as you’re committed to the cause, it’s okay to take the occasional break from your pursuit.
One way to do this is to break things down into smaller amounts. For example, make a pledge to yourself that every time you manage to pay off $500 of your debt, give yourself some type of reward. This can be something that you’ve had to sacrifice to make more room in your budget for debt payments, like going out for lunch or going to your favorite coffee shop. You don’t need to pick something that’s going to break the bank, but you can find something that reminds you of what your life could look like after you get out from under the mound of debt you currently have.
Stay Patient When Trying to Pay off Debt
Dealing with debt can sometimes be a tricky topic to confront. When you’re staring at whatever amount you currently owe to all your creditors, your situation can start to feel a little hopeless. In these moments, it’s important to remember that the situation you find yourself in doesn’t need to be permanent.
With the right information in hand and a willingness to put in the work, paying off debt can be an achievable goal to strive for. If you need some help coming up with a debt management plan, you can look for financial advisors who deal in these particular areas. Otherwise, there are all sorts of resources online that can help you on your journey!