“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
When you’re trying to get out of debt and you still have the same thinking that got you into debt, you’re going to lose.
You got into the debt because you think a certain way. And that same way of thinking isn’t going to help you get out of debt because it’s what got you into the debt in the first place. To get out of debt, you have to think differently. Why? Because wanting to get out of debt isn’t enough. You have to believe it, think it, act on it, make a habit of it, and value it, in order to make it your destiny. No one said getting out of debt would be easy, but you can implement new thinking that will help make the process easier.
So, how do you go about doing this? Think about your debt. Acknowledge it. Determine and address exactly what choices you made that got you into debt. Then commit to getting out of debt. Once you’re committed to getting out of debt as your goal and you know why you want to be debt free, you’re on your way to starting your journey. The next best thing you can do is help make the journey easier. These 10 tips will help you recondition your thinking so that you have supportive thoughts that lead to supportive actions and habits that will help you get out of debt.
- Clearly define your priorities. Do this by making a list, in order, from highest to lowest of all your priorities. Try to prioritize your debt as high as you can on your priorities list. Aside from the essentials of family and living expenses, consciously make getting out of debt the highest priority you can. It’s easier to focus on one goal at a time, so if you can, make getting out of debt your main goal that you’ll prioritize until you’re deft free. By prioritizing, you’ll also know when it’s okay to make choices that are not in line with your debt pay off plan (specifically, when they are higher on your list).
- Focus on getting out of debt. When you have too much going on, you can’t put enough energy and commitment into one thing. Try to minimize your focus on other things, and have laser focus on paying off your debt. One of the best life hacks is that what you focus on expands. If you focus on getting out of debt, you’ll make it happen.
- Stop unsupportive habits. Look carefully at what got you into debt and think about your habits when it comes to money. Stop doing anything that is unsupportive of your debt pay off plan. For example, if you’re in the habit of buying a coffee every morning, think about how that extra money would speed up your debt pay off plan over time. And do this for several things to see the compounding effect (drinks, dining out, shopping, etc.). Stop anything you can that’s unsupportable of your goal.
- Start new, supportive habits. Do what you can do decrease your expenses and increase your income. Start “frugaling”. Meaning, start watching everything you buy and begin to cut your expenses. Additionally, find ways to increase your income, like selling things online or picking up a side job. Do whatever you can to increase your income and cut expenses.
- Avoid your weakness. Avoid whatever it is that is your main weakness. Only you know exactly what this is. For me, its clothes (which is why I don’t have a credit card). It will be different for you. But do whatever you have to in order to avoid your weakness while you’re getting out of debt.
- Be alert to red flags. When you encounter something that would go against your plan to get out of debt, immediately ask yourself what is the higher priority. Be alert and hesitant toward anything that isn’t supportive of your plan. This includes being very thoughtful about how you spend your money.
- Know that every purchase counts. Begin thinking that every purchase counts – no matter how small it is. Pennies add up so much faster than you’d think. Your $1-$10 purchases can have a tremendous impact on your get out of debt plan. Don’t be fooled into thinking small purchases are insignificant.
- Say “no” to yourself at least once a day. When you make a purchase because you “deserve it”, you’re supporting an entitlement attitude. Whether you deserve something has nothing to do with whether you can afford it. Start saying “no” to yourself at least once a day so that you are less likely to justify and spend because you think you deserve something.
- Celebrate small wins. Every time you pay off a small loan or debt that takes you to the next step in your get out of debt plan, celebrate. Treat yourself in a small way so you can feel the excitement of accomplishing your goals. Not only do you deserve it, but you will get momentum and positive reinforcement to keep going.
- Constantly keep your vision and goal in mind. Every morning and every night say to yourself why you want to get out of debt and what getting out of debt would make possible for you. This will be a constant reminder of your plan (keeping you focused), and it will set you up with a supportive mindset.
Getting out of debt can seem overwhelming, but the reward is priceless. Finding ways to think differently in order to support your goal and your overall vision for your life are integral to making the process easier. Hopefully, these tips provide you with alternative strategies to make getting out of debt slightly less painful. And I hope that they help create beliefs, thoughts, actions, habits, and values that support a debt free destiny for you.
- Next Up: Read How to Get Out of Debt