Some days I feel like Thomas Edison with this debt repayment journey, it’s as if I’ve navigated 500 ways how not to repay debt. I almost inevitably feel as if I am always starting over. That method didn’t work, let’s try another, and then another. Debt repayment is not easy; it’s full of the same trial and error Thomas Edison went through when trying to develop a simple light bulb. The key is to never give up!
It’s a tricky process because not all of the solutions you read around the Google verse will work for you personally and your situation. No one-debt scenario is ever alike; we are all different in our situations. The only real common denominator is that we have debt, we have an income and we’re challenged to make the ends meet somewhere in the middle.
So what happens when you feel like you’ve tried it all, failed repeatedly, and are on attempt number 501 on the debt repayment journey? Well, for starters you do not give up. Never, ever give up no matter how daunting it seems, no matter how much you feel that you can never change your habits, because with each new day comes a new attempt to try again and get it right.
Identify the Root Cause
I hope that like me, you have a budget already in place, and that you’re doing your best to stick to it. Do the numbers add up? Are you sticking to them? If not, where’s the root of the evil? What one area are you having difficulty with? You could be like me and have a small addiction to fashion, which relates to being somewhat of a shopaholic. We know I buy too many clothes, so where’s the solution? Well heck, that’s easy – stop buying them!
Tell my brain that when I’m in an emotional state that wants me to buy a pretty dress to make me feel better. Sometimes the root cause is not really the root cause; it’s the cause in a clown costume. You have to remove the face paint to dig deeper into the underlying issue. For me, it’s more than my emotional states; it’s what causes those emotions. Then you have to…
Figure out Your Why.
Do you have your why? Have you thought about why you want to pay off that debt? Really thought about it?
Think it’s easy do you? You think it’s as simple as: I want to be free, free of the shackles of debt.
Mmmkay…you go ahead and believe that…
It’s a great start but it’s not good enough, you are going to have to do better. Think bigger. To keep yourself motivated, think about what your ultimate destiny would be if you had no debt, then, think about how that would make you feel.
Got it now? Now you’re feeling it eh? Now you’re really excited to pay down that debt! That’s the type of feeling you need to keep you motivated through several years of debt repayment. And every time you think you’ve hit the wall, you go back to that vision, that feeling to motivate you.
Many a PF blogger has commented here that I just haven’t found the right “why”, the motivating factor that will send me into overdrive to get me from the Red into the Black. And they’re right. I’ve never made anything a big enough why for me to conquer the debt.
Motivating Factor # 1 The pain of saying “I live with my parents”. Even though I’ve gotten past the snide remarks that people make, deep down it does bother me and I feel I’m not living my life. Hurts my pride I suppose. I love them with all my heart and am happy to be able to help them but it’s not living my life.
Motivating Factor # 2 Hawaii. I am drawn to the ocean and have a strong desire to live near it. I always feel at home when I’m in Hawaii.
Motivating Factor # 3 The Future. I am forever fascinated by the future I could (and should) have if I just break free from owing money to all the wrong people. I have the ability to change my current destiny and make it the adventure of a lifetime.
Find the plan that works for you and make it better. And, if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.
As I mentioned before, there is no one quick fix that applies to all people. What works for one person can never by duplicated by another, it just doesn’t psychologically add up all the time. Believe me, I have done the legwork and feel as though I am on attempt number 500 after 499 failures…ahem…”learning experiences” in the debt repayment journey.
I have done it all… (and read almost every book):
- cash only diet
- no credit cards at all
- cold turkey cutting
- no spend months
- debt snowballs
- latte factors
- several versions of budgets
- excel spreadsheets out the ying yang
- debt countdowns
- debt consolidation
- paying myself first, paying myself last, not paying myself at all
- loans from family
- refusing to take money from family
- promises, (including broken ones that seem to be easily forgotten – shame on me! :S).
Time to Change the Approach – Innovate!
When the planets align, you have your “why” and you’ve tried it all, it is time to try a new tactic.
How am I going to change?
Well, we all know I would like to own a house and/or rent a place of my own very soon…so…as of June 1st, my debt repayment will now be “rent”, I must pay a minimum of $1400 a month.
I’m going to do something that I always forget to do and that is pat myself on the back more, I’ll celebrate more of my successes instead of being the first to highlight my fails with such extravagance.
I will think like an athelete and work like an athlete. Persistence, determination, focus and repetition.
I am going to start a personal diary again and at the end of each day, I will write my emotional state, if I wanted to buy anything, if I did, and any big happenings in the day either positive or negative. Every day I will also answer the question: If I had an extra $20, what would I do with it? Some of this may or may not end up on the blog – it all depends on how personal it gets.
A few Edison quotes to get you motivated:
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
~ Thomas A. Edison