Lets get real here people. Nobody likes debt. Unfortunately it's something the majority of us have looming over our heads day in and day out. The mass amount of consumer and student loan debt we've all accumulated is outrageous. Something has to change and it has to start with us.
I like to refer to student loans as the "debt sinkhole".
You know, where everything goes in but nothing is ever to return? I felt like that about my student debt for a long time. I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, much less how the hell I was gonna get myself out of it. It was debilitating on so many levels. I didn't feel like I was good enough to get my dream job, much less even find the confidence to apply.
The "debt sinkhole" as I like to call it is the root cause of SO many underlying issues. It's probably the reason some of us aren't applying for that dream job, and why we are letting our biggest of life's desires slip through our fingers; working a job we hate because it pays the bills. It's possibly why we can't keep a stable relationship, because OMG if they found out about it, and this list goes on...
My debt became embarrassing.
How did I even get myself into this mess in the first place? I felt like I had committed financial suicide. It’s not like I could file for bankruptcy. Cause...Guess what, guess what? Filing for bankruptcy won’t eliminate your student loans. So here I am stuck with this ball and chain until I’m nearly 50. Ummm no. I was done. I had had it with Sallie Mae, Navient and all the rest.
I made a few lists. Lists of life goals like traveling, having more time for my creative endeavors, starting a company. None of those things were very viable options, because I was always focused on what I "had not" and debt was always on my mind. Once I decided I was done, sooo done, something changed. I started asking different questions. It wasn’t: What am I gonna do? It became: How am I gonna do this bish? My mind set changed about life in general.
So I made some more lists.
I made lists about what made me happy, what skills I had, what I was grateful for. I turned the "had nots" into "I am grateful for what I do have". I changed my focus. I began focusing more on what made me feel alive; what I was grateful for. I made it my intention to be grateful for something each day and put my focus on what I could do right now, in this very moment, not on what I could have if.
If you change your mind you will change your life!
Being present in your own intentions and in your mind will allow you to be present in your life. You see changing your focus and how you view things can change your experience. Once you overcome your own mental barriers you are taking the first steps toward achieving your goals.
For me my focus wasn't on monetary value. It was about what I could do for my family, for other people, for the world. I stopped really caring about things and started caring about experiencing life. I stopped the unconscious consumption of goods. I just didn't give a rats booty any more what all my fashion blogger friends were buying at H & M that week. For a fashion major this is weird! Once I realized all of those things that we all buy to impress everyone else didn't really matter to me I started setting goals for myself.
Setting a direct intention with a due date tricks your mind.
You can't reach a goal without first setting an intentional action plan. So, I created some more lists (I'm a big fan of them if you haven't noticed already). Setting a date and looking at it daily will force you to remember your goal and work toward it. This will force you to get it done. I set a goal for myself to pay off 100k+ debt by the ripe old age of 30. However realistic or unrealistic it is, I'm on the count down. Can I do it? I'm determined to.
I created an action plan.
I've read countless blogs on all the different ways of paying down debt. For me I knew that I wasn't just going to be able to work with the snowball method. I knew if I put all my debt into one big ol' list over whelm was bound to set in. So I decided I would categorize my debt into phases. I have 5 phases. Each phase has a different type of debt, a different goal, and a different due date. You can read more about that in a future article.
The biggest hurdle of this whole debt thing was actually getting started. It's pretty damn hard to do a complete overhaul on life and your spending habits. It doesn't happen overnight. You have to be patient with yourself. You have to remind yourself that it will be worth it in the end, and your setting yourself up for a better future by paying it all off early. The toughest part I think is believing in yourself that you can actually do it. Trust me on this one: believe in yourself, and start before you are ready!
Changing my mindset got me one step closer to kicking debt in the a**.
My spending habits changed because my focus was on my friends and family and experiencing life rather than buying things that filled a void. Once I started focusing on the positive aspects of my life, I started believing in myself more. I realized my life was whatever I wanted to make it. I realized that I was in fact perfectly capable of doing all of the things I want to do in life and I was the one holding myself back from it all.
Things can only do so much for you. They can never do for you what you could do for yourself. They can only fill a void for so long. I urge you to be more mindful of your spending habits, and give your debt a due date. In changing how you think about money and things or really just life in general you are one step closer to unlocking your true potential in life and having a better relationship with money.
Are you with me? I’m sure if your reading this you’ve been there or you are there. But…there’s hope, because if you can crack your limiting beliefs about yourself and your life, you are one step closer to freedom. So let me ask you this... What is stopping you? Why are you letting your dreams slip through your fingers?