Paying off debt, in most cases, is a burden. It has been compared to having a shackle around your ankles or extra weight on your shoulders. Regardless of the analogy, debt can cause one thing – exhaustion. Exhaustion from sacrificing to make payments. Exhaustion from not being able to do other things you want. Exhaustion from feeling like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
Having paid off a large amount of debt myself I know that it’s a journey. It can take years to achieve debt freedom and, in some instances, you just want to throw your hands in the air and give up. That emotion has a name – debt fatigue. If followed through to completion, this debt fatigue can derail you from breaking the cycle of debt, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Remember the End Game
Having dealt with debt fatigue personally, the easy thing to do is to feel sorry for yourself. While easy, this is the last thing you want to do. Yes, debt is serious and can be overwhelming to deal with, but this is not the time for self pity.
While easier said than done, the key to success is keeping your end goal in front of you. Think often about what paying off the debt will feel like; what the freedom will mean. When tempted to give into the fatigue and fall back into old spending habits, tell yourself those actions will only take you further away from that goal. Over time, this will help give you the motivation you need to continue the fight.
Treat Debt Fatigue as a Race
Paying off debt is a marathon, not a sprint. As such, debt freedom will not happen overnight – and that’s ok. To fight against the fatigue and malaise of paying off debt, set up mile markers to shoot for along the race.
Take the amount of debt you have and break it up into chunks. You can also break it up in terms of interest rate amounts. This will help give you something to work for and allow you to stay motivated – just remember to celebrate each time you pass a certain mile marker to maintain your momentum.
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Remembering back to my experience paying off debt, what helped me avoid debt fatigue the most was giving myself an outlet. Debt can encompass many areas of our lives, and you want to provide yourself a way to escape that and just be yourself. The great thing is the outlet can be whatever you want, such as:
The list doesn’t stop there. Find something that interests you and allow yourself a little fun money each month to enjoy it. Not only will this help you enjoy life considerably more, but it will also help your mindset so as to not always focus on the debt. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works.
Mindset is the Key
It’s easy to give up when you’re feeling debt fatigue. Giving into that feeling will get you nowhere, unfortunately. This is where mindset is key. In fact, it’s likely the most important weapon you have in your fight against fatigue. This mindset will help you stick to a plan. It will help you when the desire isn’t there. Ultimately, it’s this mindset that will help you begin to create lasting habits that will carry you forward into your debt free life.
One important thing to remember as you’re dealing with debt fatigue and forming that mindset is to surround yourself with friends who will encourage and challenge you. You may have accumulated the debt on your own, but bring others into your fight to help you achieve freedom once and for all.