Do you remember the moment when you first decided to get out of debt?
Maybe you’d just plain had enough of the struggle and stress. Maybe you’d just had a child, and wanted financial security for them. Or maybe you realized how much more you could be doing with that money if you weren’t busy paying interest with it.
Whatever the reason, you were motivated. Fired up! Determined to change your life.
But months (or years) later, will you still feel that way about getting out of debt?
Chances are, you won’t. Unless you take advantage of the secret to staying motivated for the long haul when getting out of debt.
Start by understanding what motivation really is
It’s important to start by understanding what motivation really is. “I’m feeling super motivated right now”, you might say. “This is going to be great!”
But are you REALLY feeling motivated? Probably not. More likely, what you’re actually feeling is super inspired and excited about becoming debt free.
It’s common to confuse motivation with inspiration.
Inspiration is that feeling that makes you leap up out of your chair, ready to take action right this very second. It’s a great feeling. It’s also usually fleeting.
As Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Replace motivation with inspiration in that sentence, and he’s got it right. So what is real motivation?
Real motivation does last
Real motivation does last, because your motivation is the reason behind why you’re doing something.
Motivation is not a feeling. It’s your reason.
You don’t have to feel excited and inspired all the time. You just have to keep moving forward and doing the work, while you keep your reason in sight.
So the secret to staying motivated when getting out of debt?
You need to truly understand the deeper reason behind why you want to get out of debt, and then focus heavily on that.
For example, many of us want to get out of debt so we can stop stressing out about money. But what else will being debt free do for you? How will your life be different?
Dig deep, and then…
Focus on how your life will change
Will you be able to work at a more satisfying job? Work less? Send your children to college? Finally go on that vacation you never imagined you’d be able to take? Stop fighting about money with your spouse? Sleep better at night?
What do you want your life to be like?
Figure it out, and then focus on that reason as you work to get out of debt. Nurture the heck out of that debt free dream. That’s how you stay “motivated” when getting out of debt.
Then you can commit to making a permanent change in how you handle your money.
Of course, if you came here hoping to find a magic trick that will get you out of debt in 5 seconds flat, that probably wasn’t what you wanted to hear.
But it IS what works, and you can use the secret to staying motivated to help you stick with it.
It takes time and conscious effort to change, so persist!
Keep in mind that when it comes to debt, the “quick and easy” shortcuts usually…aren’t.
No program or method is going to automatically change the choices you make. You have to do that. And some methods (such as debt consolidation) can actually enable you to continue doing the things you’ve always done instead of changing.
But we’re all human, which means we’re all used to doing things a certain way without putting a lot of thought into most of what we do.
Habit is strong
You probably do the same thing right when you get out of bed each morning, take the same route to work, leave at about the same time each day, etc. Those kind of automatic actions help us get along so that we can focus on things that we aren’t used to doing.
But have you ever tried to permanently change the route you take for work? Chances are, even if you intend to go a different way, you’ll end up on the same old route without even realizing it — at least a few times, and especially at first.
What it takes to stay motivated and make a permanent change
To make a permanent change, you have to be committed to doing so. You have to try again if you slip up. You have to keep at it, even if roadblocks get thrown in your way.
That takes real motivation, so use the secret to your advantage!
In the change-your-route-to-work example, if you took the old route by mistake one day, you wouldn’t give up and tell yourself that you’ll never get off the road. You wouldn’t resign yourself to it.
Instead, you’d try harder the next day. Maybe you’d put a stickie note on your door, or ask your spouse to remind you of your goal. Maybe you’d chat with your coworkers about the routes they usually take to work to see if there’s a route you’re overlooking.
It’s the same way with getting out of debt.
You decide on the change you want to make (going from a borrowing mentality to a self-funded mentality), focus each day on your target, and then get right back on the desired path if you go astray.
You can do it, if you keep focused on your real reason.
Want to take a step in the right direction? Sign up for my free Debt Mindset Reset email course below.