Happy Saturday, friends!! Hope you’ve carved out at least some time to relax this weekend. So, regular readers might know that I went through a pretty rough patch this summer and got myself into a boatload of doubt and discouragement where our debt payoff journey is concerned. Our journey started as a large one (we had a 65% debt-to-income ratio when we began our journey towards debt freedom in January of 2013) and we knew that our victory would take serious effort and concentration.
In blogging about it, we hoped to have accountability for ourselves, as well as encourage others who feel hopeless about our debt that they too can reach debt freedom. What we didn’t expect from blogging was the occasional mean and discouraging comment that we get here. Truth, yes: we’re happy to hear constructive criticism and have those who truly care about our journey ask us the tough questions about our spending and debt payoff. Comments meant to tear us down and tempt us to give up all hope of debt freedom? Nope, didn’t expect that. Call me naive, but I just assumed that those who didn’t like the way we are doing things would call us out honestly, but kindly, like most of our commenters do when they have a question about our spending.
Unfortunately, however, as other blogging friends have shared with me, yes, there are those out there whose main goal, it seems, is to make people feel like crap about themselves. These kinds of comments, which seem to grow in number as a blog grows, can really put a snag in a plan for debt freedom or wealth accumulation.
Those on a journey toward debt freedom can also be zapped with doubt and discouragement by their real life friends/family/acquaintances.
However, what you do with those comments and criticisms is entirely up to you. When we received our verbal beatings this summer, my first response was to hide under the covers, hands over my head to protect myself from any further abuse. That was my fault and my mistake. You see, there is a better way to deal with the doubt and discouragement that can creep in whenever you’re working towards a lofty goal. Here are some tips to help you keep on working toward whatever seemingly insurmountable goal you’re working towards:
Zap Doubt and Discouragement
1. Use positive aspirations. I know that sounds corny, but when I read Natalie’s post on positive money affirmations, it really helped me turn the corner and get away from that doubt and discouragement. Focusing on the positive truths about your journey and how far you’ve come will help you to see your progress in a different light.
2. In the beginning…. Yes, go back to the beginning of your journey and look and see how far you’ve come. This can work for any journey or goal, whether it be physical, financial, emotional or whatever. Sometimes when one is working toward a goal, success seems to be moving at a snail’s pace. However, when you look big picture, you can often better see just how far you’ve really come.
3. Be honest with yourself, but be positive. Don’t dismiss your failures, but don’t forget to celebrate your successes either. Tell yourself “Okay, I’ve still got to work on cutting that entertainment spending, but I’m doing awesome at keeping grocery costs low.” Praise yourself for your successes, and then make a plan to work on those failures.
4. Think in percentages. One thing I failed to realize when I became so discouraged this summer is that, percentage-wise, things are great. 99.99% of the comments we receive are positive and encouraging. Our credit card debt may have risen a bit, but percentage wise, we’ve still kicked a good amount of debt to the curb. Use numbers to remind yourself of how far you’ve come instead of how far you’ve got to go.
5. Focus on what you have accomplished. Little wins and big wins. If you’re working to reach a fitness or weight loss goal, for instance, congratulate yourself for the little wins, such as saying no to that second cookie and working out yesterday when you really didn’t want to. If you are working on a financial goal, focus on the fact that overall, you are spending less and that you’re in a better place than you used to be.
6. Refuse to give up. If you’re going to succeed at any long-term goal, you’ve got to get it into your head and into your heart that you are not giving up, no matter what. Make a decision that when those times of doubt come that you will put your head down and keep pressing forward, no matter what. Decide that you will keep running your race until you reach the finish line, even if it takes longer than you expected. Choose to win, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Doubt and discouragement are a part of any journey toward success. What you do with those little monsters is your choice.