Whenever I speak with a potential client who is struggling with debt payoff, I can usually tell whether or not they will be successful. Some of the key indicators of debt pay off are not only how a person perceives his or her debt but also how they perceive their role in it all. The more shame someone feels over their debt, the harder it will be to pay it off.
The Language of Debt Pay Off
Language plays a huge role in understanding how close someone is to successful debt payoff, and this has nothing to do with how much you talk about your debt with other people, and EVERYTHING to do with how you talk about it with yourself. I’ve help tons of people with debt payoff because I never judge, make them feel bad, or feel wrong or deficient or SHAMED for having debt.
People need to do this for themselves as well. If you think someone will judge you for having debt, don’t discuss it with them. Especially if you’re still struggling to forgive yourself! Debt is simply a symptom of a challenge that you were having, and your desire to achieve debt pay off says everything about what you learned from that experience.
It’s important to look at debt as a symptom of something greater. If you focus on the language of choice and empowerment, you get out of debt. If you focus on shame and regret, you get stuck.
Debt Pay Off Attitudes
While I never want someone to feel shame over their debt, I have noticed signs that will point to whether or not someone is ready to start seriously managing debt pay off.
The signs I most often see are:
Continual Usage of Credit Cards. If you’re crystal clear on how much you spend every month AND how much you have to pay on your credit card above and beyond monthly expenses, then you might be able to continue to use your credit card while paying down a balance. The majority of people I see who refuse to stop using their credit card DON’T have this clarity.
Ongoing Reasons For Incurring Debt. If there is always a reason why you have to charge something else on your credit card—and always a GOOD reason—then you’re not ready to start a serious debt pay off plan.
Not Believing They Have Resources To Get Out of Debt. If you don’t actually believe you make enough money to pay off your debt and see no other alternatives other than to continue to carry the debt, then you’re not ready to start a serious debt pay off plan.
You have to make the choice that it’s all up to you.
The Steps To Successful Debt Pay Off
Here are the crucial planning steps that you must take if you’re serious about debt pay off once and for all:
Start with your intention. Whenever you start any successful venture, you have to define success. What does successful debt pay off look like for you?
Gain clarity. You can’t know if you’re making progress toward debt pay off unless you first understand the current situation and define a plan of action. Just like you can’t know if you’re successful at weight loss until you step on the scale.
Identify recovery actions. Most of the time, people expect debt pay off to go smoothly, but it never does. Stuff happens. You might have to charge something in an emergency. When you get thrown off your “ideal” plan, have a back up.
Throw off discouragement. Everyone faces obstacles, but if you’re resolved, then the obstacles never seem as insurmountable as when you lack confidence in your plan. When you become discouraged at lack of progress, have specific steps in place to put yourself back on track as soon as you can.
Actions This Week
- Notice your language. Are you berating or shaming yourself for what you perceive to be money ”failures?” The sooner you forgive yourself, the sooner you can move on to creating the money reality you desire.
- Notice your mindset. Did any of the excuses to NOT pay off debt resonate with you? You might not be ready to change. That’s okay. No judgment here.
- Are you waiting? A lot of times, people tell me they are waiting for a raise, to move in with their loved one, or for some other outside condition. If that event never happened, what would be the next step you would take to pay off debt? Now go do it.