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Digging Yourself Out Of Debt

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Digging yourself out of debt—successfully—starts with a mindset shift. The kind of permanent rethink that prevents you from making that same mistake again.

No shift, more debt.

So here’s a technique to get your mindset headed in a new direction:  visualization. Before you scoff, hear me out. 

We all visualize—and often. We just tend to focus on the negative.

We imagine how much happiness we’ll have from buying that big flat screen TV—but we don’t visualize how we’ll feel when the credit card bill arrives. We see a luscious dessert and imagine a happy feast, not the inches added to our waist.

But supportive visualizations help you create a compelling reason to do something meaningful.

Take a moment to think of one action related to your finances that would have a positive impact on your life. Write it down as a positive statement, such as “I will pay off my credit card debt and maintain a zero balance on a monthly basis.”

Once you have your statement, answer these questions:

  1. Why is this important to me?
  2. Who is affected by my decision?
  3. How does my decision improve their lives?
  4. How will I feel when I accomplish my goal?
  5. What steps do I need to take to make it happen?
  6. What is stopping me from achieving this goal?
     

Need a little inspiration? The couple I talked about last week (who eventually paid off every dime and kept it off) answered like this:

  1. Why is this important to me?
    If I have no debt then I am saving money instead of blowing it all on high interest credit cards. I won’t have to worry about debt hanging over my head and I will have more resources to do the things that make me feel financially safe and secure—and happy!
  1. Who is affected by my decision?
    My family is affected by my financial distress that’s caused by this debt. I devote more time to worrying than I do enjoying my family and my life.
  1. How does my decision improve their lives?
    When I am debt free, my family will be more secure financially and therefore more prepared for unforeseen occurrences.
  1. How will I feel when I accomplish my goal?
    I will feel relieved and proud of myself.
  1. What steps do I need to take in order to make it happen?
    First, I need to assemble all my debt, list the balances, due dates, interest rates, etc. Then I need to contact each company and see if they will decrease my rates. If not, I will look to transfer to a better deal. Meanwhile, I will look at my spending and cut back on my non-fixed costs. The money I save will be used to accelerate my payments, starting with the highest rate card first.
  1. What is stopping me from achieving this goal?
    Only my beliefs are stopping me. I must believe that it is doable and not impossible. I must be disciplined, patient and know that I am doing this for my peace of mind and the safety of my family.
     

After three years of focus, discipline and patience, my clients came in with zero balances on their credit card statements. They felt powerful, successful and hopeful.

The road was not without bumps—there were challenges and slips and feeling deprived of some of the small comforts and frills that had become a part of their lives.

But throughout their experience, they kept coming back to their visualization and their reasons for wanting to get themselves out of debt. In the end, they realized that even the hardest moments of attaining this goal were easier than being hopelessly mired in debt.

So give visualization a try—and start digging out.

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