4 Reasons Why You’re Failing at Becoming Debt Free And How to Fix It!

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    Becoming debt free is no easy task to tackle. It took time to get into debt, which means it’ll take time to get back out. Frustrating, but true.

    If you’re like me, I wanted instant gratification and results NOW. I had trouble giving it time to work. Which meant, I found myself straying from the debt repayment path and losing focus. A lot.

    So how do you recover and keep yourself on task? To start, it’s more important to ask yourself why you’re straying and what can you do to fix it. Below I’ve listed the top four reasons why you’re failing at becoming debt free, and how to fix it.

    Woman holding head, frustrated with budget

    You don’t have a specific enough reason “why”.

    We all want to be debt free. That’s why we’re pouring over apps and excel spreadsheets and reading blogs like this one, right? What if I told you that’s not enough of a motivator to actually become debt free?

    Motivation is a huge factor in achieving any goal. A generic goal of “hey, I wanna be debt free!” isn’t enough. You need to stop and think about why you’re doing all this work.

    Is it because you want to travel with your kids? Because you want to pay for their college? Because you want to be able to tell Sallie Mae to suck it? Or because you want to retire at 45?

    You need to discover what drives you, and figure out your “why”. Once you know your “why”, you’ll find that the goal feels more tangible and is easier to focus on.

    Maybe you have more than one goal. Great! Write them all down and keep them someplace that you’ll see them daily, so that you’ll be reminded as to why you’re working so hard. A constant reminder is great to help you remain motivated.

    You’re not surrounding yourself with like-minded people and lack support.

    Money talk amongst family can be the worst. It’s awkward and difficult. They probably won’t get why you are choosing to become (and remain) debt free. A lot of people think being debt free isn’t “normal”. If that’s the case, that’s ok. To each their own, right?

    If you can’t find support through friends or family, find private personal finance groups on Facebook. Incorporate debt free boards into your Pinterest feeds. Follow a financial guru on Twitter. Whatever it takes to surround yourself with a tribe of folks who get you, and get your journey.

    I’m a member of several private financial-based Facebook groups, and I love contributing and learning from everyone on there. Having these folks are great. They can act as sounding boards when you’re not sure of next steps, or you can learn from the situations they discuss. They’re great at being open-minded and cheering you on as you meet each of your goals!

    You’re not using positive thinking.

    Most people struggle with negative thinking more than they realize. Have you ever caught yourself saying things internally (or even out loud), such as:

    I’m broke and always will be.


    We’ll never be rich.

    If you talk to yourself this way, then yes, of course you won’t!

    I found myself doing this a lot, and wondering why we weren’t making progress. Then I watched an amazing webinar where I was told that I’m just as capable of succeeding financially as anyone else. So simple, yet, it finally clicked! It took watching a stranger talking about basic investing strategies for me to realize that the one of the major things holding us back was MY mindset.

    Not our bills or our income. Or our eating out (well, maybe a little!).

    It was me and my thinking.

    I know, some people can be weirded out by the idea of positive thinking. But it doesn’t cost anything to try, and heck – you might actually change your outlook!

    Start by finding a mantra that you’re comfortable with. I like ones like, “I am worthy of financial success”, or “I attract money.” Repeat it every time you brush your teeth or eat a meal. It’ll put you in a good mindset to focus on your goals and will help you to realize that you can achieve them.

    If you need more inspiration, check out my favorite financial freedom quotes by some of the best financial authors out there.

    You’ve overwhelmed yourself by being too focused on the big picture.

    Trust me, I get it. I get easily overwhelmed and panicky when I see a HUGE mountain of a task in front of me, like paying off our debt or a huge work project. All I can think is – how the heck am I gonna get that done??

    The best way I’ve found to make any progress on these large goals is to break it down. I write down the next 3 – 5 tasks that I need to accomplish to start the climb up the mountain.

    By chunking the work down into small tasks, it’s easier to digest and takes away any feelings of complete overwhelm.

    Decide what works best for you. Is it to focus on the next 3 tasks? Just focus on your actions for today? Or plan what pieces to tackle just this week? Whichever works for you, embrace it and use that to break that mountain down into more manageable pieces.

    You know you’ve got the skills to meet your goals, it’s just a matter of fine tuning them. If you make sure to truly know what you’re working for, change your mindset and your support system, you’ll be debt free in no time. Now get to it!

    Have other tips or tricks to keep your debt repayment journey on track? Add them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!

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    A forty-ish web designer/developer by day, a budget & financial fanatic by night. I’m a mom, wife, avid reader, and DIY enthusiast who’s tracking our journey to debt freedom. Read More

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    1. Megan on August 8, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Thank you for this reminder of things we each need to do to become debt free. We have a lot of debt we are currently paying off. And I find that I get too focused on the big picture way too much and it is something that I am working on. I completely agree that you MUST break-it down into simple goals. I have found that my magic number is 3 things. It is something that I have added to my day (here are the 3 things I need to do today!). This has helped me become more positive also because I finally feel like I have accomplished something. Thank Tana!

      • Tana on August 8, 2017 at 3:16 pm

        I agree, I think 3 is the magic number. It’s enough to feel like you’ve accomplished something, without being too overwhelming. Thanks for the comment, Megan!

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