After joining The Debt Movement, you should be excited and ready to conquer your debt.
Not to suck all the excitement out of your, but paying off debt is often long-term process.
Just like any demanding task in life, there will be times when you want to give up.
Finding the motivation can be challenging, and the boost you’re feeling now from just getting started may wear off.
That doesn’t mean there’s no hope. Instead, you simply need to give yourself every advantage to stay motivated. Whether or not you’re struggling to stay motivated to pay off your debt, here are five strategies to keep moving forward.
1. Set goals you can accomplish immediately.
Aiming to pay off $10,000 in debt by the end of 2013 is a great goal. But instead of focusing on such a big number, break it down to a series of smaller, more manageable goals so you can achieve little victories right away.
Instead of trying to pay off $10,000 this year, how about putting $200 a week towards your debt? It’s the same goal, but you’ll be able to manage it easier and feel like you’re making progress every week.
Luckily, The Debt Movement is set up perfectly for short-terms goals. One option could be to pay off the first debt account by the end of the April, the finish line for The Debt Movement. Even if it’s a $300 credit card card balance that’s just a small portion of your overall debt, getting the ball rolling now can can be a huge benefit.
2. Utilize public accountability.
You may be tempted to keep your debt-related goals private to keep others from finding out in the case that you fail. But this is the wrong approach. Having public accountability will keep you from giving up easily.
You don’t have to plaster your goal on a billboard or start your own blog. You can start by just telling one person as long as they’ll hold you to your goal.
No matter how you choose to be accountable, you should feel more pressure to succeed and avoid letting yourself or others down. That’s the whole point of accountability, so use these feelings to stay motivated.
3. Get excited for the future.
Chances are one of the reasons you want to get out of debt is life is stressful when you have it. Maybe you constantly struggle to pay off bills, or you can never get ahead to save money or fund your retirement.
Studies have shown that imagining the positive effects of achieving your goals are actually helpful for accomplishing them, too.
Take a moment and visualize how your life would be improved if you paid off your debt.
Would paying bills be easier and less stressful? Would you get fewer calls and notices from debt collectors? Will life just be more enjoyable and fun?
Experts say this is more effective when you contrast a bright future with the negative aspects of the present. It’s not fun to dwell, but staying grounded in the present instead of just daydreaming about the future can motivate you to take action and move forward.
4. Do what works for you.
There isn’t one single plan to pay off debt. Using your own creativity can be even more effective.
One example: the popular debt snowball. The debt snowball goes against the math by targeting the smallest balances rather than the highest interest rates. If this is the case, why is recommended so often? Because it’s been proven to work by building confidence and motivation.
In terms of finding the money to pay your debt, other have turned to side gigs or dramatically reducing what they spend. There are inspiring stories with dramatic results everywhere, so look around for ideas in your own life. Don’t be afraid to try something different or change approaches.
5. Reward yourself.
Paying off debt involves a lot of hard work and sacrifice. It’s a big deal when you hit milestones, like paying off another balance or accomplishing goals earlier than you had planned.
When this happens, don’t be afraid to celebrate a little. Give yourself a taste of something you might have given up to pay off debt, like a trip to your favorite restaurant or a trip to the movies.
It’s not just about feeling good for a few minutes. Research shows that small rewards really do help us achieve our big goals.
If you’ve paid off everything, maybe it’s time to consider a vacation. Just make sure to pay with cash!
About the Author:
Jeffrey Trull is a freelance writer and blogger with a passion for helping others pay down debt, save money, and spend on what they love on his blog Money Spruce.
His work has been featured on Money Talks News, MSN Money, and MainStreet. You can find him on Twitter.