This blog post is a little different. I want to hear your thoughts on motivation. Because when it comes down to it, motivation is probably the most important part of getting out of debt (and accomplishing any other long-term goal, for that matter).
Without that spark – that initial desire to reach the goal – the end result would never happen.
But what happens after that initial spark has faded? How do you persevere and keep on pushing toward the goal even though it is hard? These are very important questions that we all have to deal with when we’re working on difficult long-term goals like paying off our debt.
Like I said, I want to hear your answers in the comments below. But to get the conversation started, I’ll highlight some of the lessons I’ve learned while paying off my debt and while striving toward other long term goals:
Accept that Failure is Part of the Process
“I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
Maybe you made a New Year’s resolution and haven’t quite committed to it the way you hoped. Or maybe you created a budget last month and you spent more than you had planned. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had moments of failure.
And speaking from experience, I know that it is really hard at those times to stay committed to the long-term goal because it feels like you’re just not meant to get there. When I was paying off my credit card debt, I had months when I went over budget, and what I learned is that if I berated myself for failing it only made things harder.
Instead, I had to learn to give myself credit for all the things I was doing well. In my mind, I began highlighting the ways I had saved money and affirming my ability to reach my goal. This is the best way to strengthen your motivation, in my opinion.
Find Somebody To Lean On
“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.”
This one is simple. Humans are social creatures. No matter what your personality is, having someone to confide in and someone who is willing to encourage you during tough times makes a world of difference.
The important points to remember are (A) don’t take your friends and loved ones for granted, and (B) don’t be too proud to ask for help when you need it. People are almost always willing to lend a sympathetic ear and offer words of encouragement to you when you need it, and oftentimes that is exactly what you need to keep you going.
Focus on What You Can Control
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
–John R. Wooden
In most difficult journeys there are things that affect you which are outside of your influence. You cannot change them, so you have to learn to live with them or navigate around them. For people getting out of debt, this means letting go of whatever got you in debt in the first place.
The past is out of your control now, so focus on what you can control: your future actions. You will feel much better being proactive about shaping your future than worrying about past events that cannot be changed.
Enjoy the Challenge
“It ain’t about how hard you can hit. Its about how hard you can get hit, and how much you can take, and keep moving forward.”
If you are reading this, that means you have a long-term goal. And any long-term goal by definition is not easy. It can seem intimidating and daunting. Maybe even impossible. But there’s a way to embrace the challenge that will leave you feeling more motivated: take pride in the glory of what you’re attempting to do!
Think of yourself like Rocky fighting against impossible odds, surpassing expectations, pushing yourself to keep on going. When you give yourself credit for the magnitude of what you’re trying to accomplish, you will be inspired and you will begin to enjoy the challenge.
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Stay Faithful to Your Vision
“To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that, that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful “magic skills” that human beings are capable of.”
Having a vision is the foundation of your success. The more clearly and vividly you see your vision, the more likely you will be to carry it through. Your vision can be very specific: you can picture yourself making the right choices that will lead you to meeting your budget this month; you can envision yourself celebrating the day when you become debt free.
These pictures in your head will continue to drive you forward and will light the path ahead of you so that you don’t feel like you’re stumbling into the future but rather walking resolutely toward a destination. A destination you have chosen.
That’s my advice. Now what’s yours? Share it in the comments below!
Image credit: joshjanssen