Ready to start your debt payoff race? It doesn’t start where you might think. Ask someone how to get out of debt, and most people will start by telling you to list out your debts. That’s great advice, because it’s the first step in using the debt snowball method (an awesome way to get out of debt), but it’s NOT the starting point.
Where you need to start
The real race starts with two things: a deeply-felt desire to be out of debt (your true motivation) and a critical behavior change. What’s that behavior change?
It’s something that’s simple to say but often hard to do: you’ve got to stop using debt.
That means no borrowing for emergencies, or inconveniences like your car breaking down. (And believe me, you’ll be tested.) It means no borrowing because you forgot you needed to buy a birthday gift and the part is today, even if you don’t have any money left to buy a gift. It means changing the way you’re used to doing things, and admitting that you can’t always afford things. You can’t keep telling yourself that “next time” you’ll do better.
Next time is now
If you really want to win the debt reduction race, the surprising truth is that next time is now. You’ve got to start changing now.
I won’t lie to you. It’s hard to change a deeply-entrenched habit. But it’s absolutely possible, especially if you really want a different life. When you first start saying “no” to the debt lifestyle, it might feel like one thing after another goes wrong, and you “never” have the money to fix stuff.
But that’s not because you’re getting out of debt.
It’s been happening all along. The only difference is that you were digging yourself in deeper and deeper before, and now you’ve stopped. It will feel like things have gotten worse, but the minute you say to yourself “No, I’m not going to wait until next time to stop borrowing money” or “No, this is NOT an exception” is the minute you start down the path to freedom.
You’ve just pulled off the blindfold — the one that said everything was just fine — and taken a look at reality.
This isn’t permanent
The thing to remember is that “no, I can’t afford that right now” does have a “right now” at the end of the sentence. You WILL get out of debt and be able to afford things. You’ll probably even be able to afford more than you ever could before.
And let me tell you, it is AWESOME to go buy stuff because you want to, without a side helping of guilt, and without crippling your financial future. That’s what debt reduction (and then elimination!) is all about in the end: living a life of financial abundance.