If you have been following me for some time, you know our financial goal is to become completely debt-free. Not just so we can travel the world and live a life without worrying how we are going to pay a bill, but so we can leave something other than bills to our children—we want to leave a financial legacy. We also want to leave better spending habits to our kids, leave the gift of living out our passion, and leave the gift of serving others while being a good steward over all God has gifted us.
Sounds good in theory, but trust me, the process of getting out of debt has been difficult! It has involved changing everything I have learned, seen and behaved towards money. This process has included making a conscious decision on what I should or should not purchase, recognizing my needs versus my wants, and has included saying “no” to the some of the things I really, really wanted to say “yes” to. This process has been one of the hardest journeys I have experienced; not just because I have had to curtail my spending habits, but because even in all of the financial planning we do, there are times when nothing seems to go as planned.
This year, we have had many changes concerning our “debt-free” plan. Our “extra” debt money on many occasions has been redirected to paying off unexpected medical bills, adding more money to paying our tax bill, and even putting extra funds in savings to ensure we had enough “emergency money” (since I quit my job). There were days where I thought (and said) “when will we ever get out of debt?” and had become discouraged because “our plan” was not going “as planned”. So, when I have my “when will we ever” days, I do one (if not all) of the following to get my head back in the game.
Talk to My Accountability Partner
I am eternally grateful to have people in my life I can talk to who will encourage me when I become disheartened. Between the hubster, my family and friends, I can always shoot a text or have a conversation over lunch about the ups and downs of the debt-free journey. And it is even sweeter when these “accountability partners” are on the journey themselves, then we can encourage each other!
Create Visual Reminders
Whether it is a vision board, our listed annual goals or even a scripture, having a visual on your bedroom wall, bathroom mirror or on your office desk serves as a friendly reminder and quick “pick me up” when having a bad day. There have been plenty of days when I felt defeated or even irritated and looked up only to see an encouraging scripture or a laminated copy of our family vision and remembered “hard work pays off”. These visuals have allowed me to remember the “why” and has helped keep me on track when I want to quit the journey.
Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Although we all have days, weeks, months or even season when it seems like nothing is going our way, I have learned to find one thing, even in the most difficult time, to be grateful for. Yes, I may have just found out I needed a new transmission, but I have to think “at least I have a car”. Acknowledging various ways to be grateful on a daily basis allow us to focus on the positives and less on the negatives. And it reminds us that having an attitude of gratitude is a choice! Will I choose to focus on what has happened or will I choose to be grateful that the worse did not happen? Statistics even detail the benefits of being grateful. Gratitude improves our physical health and our psychological health; it helps us sleep better and even improves our self-esteem (Huffington Post). Overall, being grateful improves our quality of life; therefore, let’s choose to find one thing to be grateful for each day!
So, if you are becoming discouraged while on your journey towards financial freedom or having second thoughts while attempting to lose weight, finish graduate, grow a business or even raise a child, remember, no matter how dark or dim the road may be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you, encourage yourself with visuals, and have an attitude of gratitude! You may not be where you want to be, but take a look back and see how far you have come!