Getting out of debt is a lot like trying to lose weight, quit smoking, or be a better whatever. Getting out of debt requires a tremendous amount of hard work on your self. Yes, you’re self.
Let’s say for example you were someone who has been smoking cigarettes since you were 15 years old and now you are 50. Would it be easy to quit? No, it would be next to impossible.
Let’s say for example you were someone who was overweight and out of shape you’re entire life. Would you be able to snap your fingers and miraculously start powerlifting in the gym and do a juice cleanse? No, you would not.
Does that mean that once you’re in debt you are destined to always remain in debt? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that similar to quitting smoking or losing weight; in order to finally become free of debt it is going to require a tremendous amount of hard work.
Much of that work is work on your self. Getting out of debt starts with a thought, a desire to change, then the discipline to create a plan, and a determination to never give up and ultimately achieve your goal.
I know of someone who smoked 4 packs of cigarettes every day for nearly 20 years. I’m told it was painful just to breathe. Moving furniture, jogging, sex, sleeping, and eventually breathing were all becoming cumbersome. But, quit smoking…no way. It was simply too addictive and too pleasurable.
However, miraculously, upon learning of the news that his spouse was with child he made a mental commitment that he wanted to be alive to witness his child grow, learn, marry, and prosper.
That idea was really a revelation or a wakeup call. That wakeup call blossomed into a calling and a commitment that would not go unbroken. It led to a detailed plan that started meticulously with reducing his cigarette intake from 4 packs a day to 3, to 2, to 1, to a few, to chewing on a plastic knife, to keeping a toothpick in his mouth at all times, to ultimately smoke free.
The same can be said for someone who desperately wants to lose weight. How many stories have been retold of the shy ugly duckling, overweight, unpopular teen that morphed into one of todays supermodels. It doesn’t happen by accident.
The point is if you want to eliminate credit card debt from your life you have to want it…so bad that it hurts. You have to picture yourself living a life of debt freedom. You have to literally imagine what your life can look like without having to be shackled by high interest minimum payments that seemingly never ever end.
The thought of ending up debt free and the life you can create because of being debt free has to burn an imprint so hot in your mind that it consumes you. One day the revelation will come. Maybe a debt collector will harass you to the point of embarrassment or you will be faced with having to choose between paying your mortgage or your Amex card.
Once you mentally commit to eliminating and paying off your debt you need to plan a call to action. Take out all of the credit card statements and create a spreadsheet listing the name of the creditor, balance, payment, interest rate, and credit limit.
Start by calling each creditor and kindly asking them to reduce your interest rates so the debt doesn’t continue to rapidly multiply at an egregious pace. Next, begin paying down the card with the smallest balance or the card with the highest interest rate.
Reward yourself by purchasing something that you always wanted using cash or a debit card after paying off one of your cards. This will help to create new powerful habits to ensure you succeed.
Ultimately follow all of this up by curbing your spending and your desire to needlessly spend.
Stay resilient, stay out of debt in the new year.