There’s a simple mindset hack that can help you reach debt freedom faster. But before we get to it, it’s quiz time: What do all of these phrases have in common?
- I’m trying to pay off debt
- I wish my credit card didn’t have such a high interest rate
- I’d like to be debt free
- I’d love to have a thousand dollar emergency fund
- I’m going to work on spending less
It’s not that they’re all related to debt or money. It’s that they all use weenie words.
How weenie words are holding you back
Weenie words like “try”, “wish”, “would like”, etc. mean you’re weaseling out of making a commitment on a goal — and you might not even know it.
Here’s why that’s a problem (and how a simple change can help.)
What happens when you wish, want, or try…
Try implies you might fail. “Wish” and “would like to” mean you hope for something that probably won’t happen. Want literally means lack. “Going to” is something that will take place at some vague date in the future, maybe.
In fact, I bet you could easily picture adding a “but” to each of those phrases, turning them into sentences like these:
- I’m trying to pay off debt, but something always comes up.
- I wish my credit card didn’t have such a high interest rate, but you can’t control the credit card companies.
- I’d like to be debt free, but I don’t make enough money.
- I want to build an emergency fund, but I never seem to have anything extra left at the end of the month.
- I’m going to work on spending less in the future, but we’ll see how it goes.
Those may sound like things you plan to do. But they’re not. They’re actually you making excuses before you even start.
They’re you refusing to commit — even to yourself — to reaching a concrete goal. Real change starts with commitment. It doesn’t start with weenie words.
The good news is you can stop using weenie words and start making faster progress on getting out of debt by taking advantage of this simple mindset shift.
Shift your thoughts
Awareness is the first step in getting things on the right path: away from weenie words and toward actual progress. So begin paying attention to your thoughts and speech. Are you in the habit of using weenie words?
You may not even realize you’ve been using them. I know I didn’t, and it was an eye opener when someone pointed it out to me in the context of exercise.
“Really?” I thought, “I’m going to try to walk 10,000 steps a day?”
Once I heard myself, it sounded silly. My legs work just fine. If I really wanted to reach that goal, I would do it FIRST, no matter what. And then it would be done.
As Yoda says, there is no try. You can get out of debt.
Don’t be a weenie, even with words
When you’re not wimping out on yourself, concrete get-out-of-debt goals look more like these:
- I no longer use debt to pay for things. I only spend money that I already have, no matter what.
- I hate that my credit card has such a high interest rate, so I’ve cut it up and am sending at least an extra $100 a month to it to knock it out faster.
- I will be debt free by [calculated date] or sooner.
- Building an emergency fund is my first priority, so I’m working extra for the next 3 months and selling things to have it done by [date].
- This month I will spend at least 10% less on [specific expenses].
Say those sentences out loud and feel the difference.
If you feel a little fear when you say them aloud, know that it’s natural to be afraid when you embark on something new. (But as Doctor Who says, fear is a superpower. When you’re scared, you can run faster and fight harder.)
So fight harder to get out of debt. Not only will you feel the difference, you’ll see the results.
You’ll feel more powerful, because you will BE more powerful. This makes it even easier to do what you’ve committed to, first and no matter what.
You ARE someone who is on your way to permanent freedom from debt.