How to Keep Your New Year Resolution to Pay Down Debt

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

According to the results of a survey recently published by Student Loan Hero, one of the biggest financial resolutions made by Americans this year is to pay down debt. Many Americans feel saddled with debt, and are concerned by the restriction it represents to their financial freedom.

If you are one of those who resolved to pay down debt this year, here are some ideas for sticking with it, and not becoming discouraged:

Start Small

You might not be in a position to realistically expect to pay off all your debt this year. You might not be able to come up with an extra $500 a month immediately. Don’t let that stop you. Any progress is good progress. Start small. Look for ways to put an extra $50 or $100 toward your debt pay down each month.

Once you get comfortable with that small start, you can increase the amount that you put toward paying down debt. You can increase it by another $25 or $50, depending on what you can handle. You can also use the debt snowball method or some other type of debt reduction plan that works for you.

When you start too big, you set yourself up for failure. Be realistic about the situation and don’t get bent out of shape if you need to change things up a little bit. Tweaking your plan a little, while still moving forward, is better than quitting.

Acknowledge Your Progress

One of the best things you can do is acknowledge your progress. You don’t want to reward yourself by spending money, but you can reward yourself with a relaxing evening in. Or, just look at the progress you’ve made and congratulate yourself. You can also think about what you will enjoy moving forward. What will you do when you have more money because you aren’t paying interest to someone else? Consider these questions, and use them to feel better about your situation. When you look at how far you’ve come, it can provide motivation to stick with it, even if you are moving somewhat slowly. Know that your forward progress is an important step forward and use that to motivate you.

Start Over When You Need To

We all experience setbacks. One of the downsides to getting hung up on New Year resolutions is the idea that once you fail, you’re done for the year. Don’t think like that. While you can use the beginning of a new year to figure out what you want from life, and reflect, don’t get caught up in the idea that you can only make changes at the start of the year. You can set new goals and adjust course anytime. If you need to take a step back and re-evaluate, do so. Start over when you need to. When you need to rethink how much you put toward debt each month, or whether a financial setback means you need to start over in a couple of months, the important thing is that you get back up there and keep working on improving your financial situation.

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