It happens. You´re excited about paying off debt, throwing all your extra money at it and then something unexpected comes up or you find yourself giving into temptation. Next thing you know, you’ve screwed up your budget and start a downward spiral of mismanaging your money.
I remember this happening to me at the beginning of my debt free journey. It left me feeling defeated and with no motivation to stick to the budget. After going through this a few times, I found ways to help get me back on track as quickly as possible.
If you find that you have fallen off the path to debt freedom, here are some things you can do to get motivated again:
Know that it’s OK for this to happen
I still remember the feeling of disappointment after screwing up my budget. Instead of feeling like getting back on track, I would try to numb the feeling of defeat by spending more.
What really helped me was seeing people on Instagram’s #debtfreecommunity post about their struggles and defeats. I realized that it was OK for this to happen as long as I got back on track. Not being so hard on myself helped me re-evaluate my budget with an open mind which allowed me to get back on a budget.
Remember your “why”
When you fall off the bandwagon it´s usually because you´ve lost sight of your “why“. Your “why” is the reason behind your debt free journey. It should be something so great and important to you that you would do anything for.
My “why” was the freedom of not being a slave to my job and just working to pay the bills. When I pictured becoming debt free, I saw how it could give me the opportunity to follow my dreams.
Now that I have a daughter, she has become part of my why. The ability to be able to work part-time so I can spend the rest of my time with her was worth those months of sacrificing so much to pay off debt.
Make a visual reminder
Some debt free journeys can be long and in the thick of it all, it’s so easy to forget our “why“. This can make the journey a bit harder. What helped me get through it was making a visual reminder of why I was getting out of debt. I created a vision board of what my life could look like if I didn’t have debt and placed it where I could see it everyday.
Reassess your finances
After screwing up my budget, I would not want to take a look at my finances because it made me feel bad about not sticking to the plan. When I would finally get the courage to sit down and reassess my finances, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Now I know that whenever I do veer off my budget, I am better off taking a look at the current state of my finances ASAP and fixing the budget then and there.
Take a look at your progress
Keeping a visual tracker of your debt payoff progress is a great motivational tool. When I was feeling tired and over it, looking back at my monthly debt payoff reports would lift my spirits back up.
I suggest using some type of chart or spreadsheet to keep track of your month to month progress so you have something to look back on when you’re feeling like giving up.
Find motivational content
Find some motivational content, whether it be books, podcasts or blogs to keep you motivated. The podcast I listened to almost daily was the Dave Ramsey Show. Something about listening to other people stories of success helped me so much.
And remember, the ultimate key to reaching debt freedom is: