Paying off debt isn't an easy feat. It can take months, if not years, to complete. Paying off debt requires discipline, hard work, and a long-term focus. Most importantly, it requires separating your short term wants from your long-term necessities. It can be tough to stay motivated if all of your discretionary income is going to something intangible like debt. However, the dedication will pay off if you stay diligent.
It is easy to get so focused on paying off debt that you eventually lose your happiness.
Follow these 4 strategies to stay positive while paying off debt.
1. Focus on your goals.
The most important way to stay positive while paying off debt is to focus on your long-term goals. Focusing on your goals will make all the sacrifices along the way worth it. Paying off debt is really a race — not a sprint.
Picture your life after debt. Consider the dreams that you have placed on hold until you are debt-free. Whether the ultimate goal is retiring early or traveling the world, your dreams can become a reality.
2. Don't compare yourself to others.
The second way to stay positive while paying off debt is to avoid comparing yourself to others. Comparison is literally the thief of joy. Although it may be difficult in the age of social media, comparing yourself to others can derail your goal of becoming debt-free. In addition, seeing others taking vacations and buying new material things can take away your joy.
Everyone is running their own financial race. Your mile one is not the same as a friend’s mile ten. Focus on your long-term goals in order to avoid comparisons.
3. Find fun free activities.
Although paying off debt requires you to truly differentiate between your wants and needs, it isn't a jail sentence. There are plenty of free activities to enjoy by yourself or with family and friends. Consider one of these free activities:
- Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic in the park.
- Invite friends to your house for a game night.
- Have a movie marathon.
- Visit a local museum on a day with complementary admission.
- Test drive your dream car.
Incorporate free activities into your regular routine in order to avoid any monotony. Everyone is different; however, at least once a month relax with a free family activity.
4. Celebrate the small victories.
Lastly, make sure that you take the time to celebrate your small victories. Paying off debt does not happen overnight. It is a journey that can take months or even years. After paying off a credit card or student loan, take the time to treat yourself. When you are paying off debt that may take longer like a student loan or vehicle, celebrate when you reach certain moments like paying off $1,000.
Treating yourself can be something as small as going out to your favorite restaurant after a long hiatus or getting a hair cut. Find ways to celebrate your debt-free progress that you enjoy but won't break the bank.
Good luck on your journey to becoming debt-free!
Tell us, how do you stay positive while paying off debt?
Tia’s mission is to empower millennials to reach financial freedom. She does this through her blog FinanciallyFitandFab.com where she focuses on budgeting, credit, saving, and investing. In her spare time, she loves to travel the world on a budget and experience new foods, music, and art.