Overcome Discouragement in Debt Payoff

Follow These Tips to Get Past Discouragement in Paying off Debt

At times in your path to debt freedom, you may become discouraged and wonder if it’s even worth it. You might question whether or not you have the ability to get out of debt or if the benefit is worth the sacrifices you’re making. Getting discouraged is normal for working toward any goal, not just a debt goal. Follow some key tips for getting past the discouragement and continuing in your debt journey.

Figure out why you're discouraged

Young woman holding credit card with sad face, man lying on sofa
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Something likely caused you to feel discouraged. Are you disappointed that you’re not paying your debt fast enough? Did you recently miss a payment or decrease your payment amount? Is there something out of reach right now because you have too much debt?

Understanding exactly why you’re discouraged can help you come up with a way to keep going. Your debt goal may have been too ambitious or you may have overestimated how much you could afford to put toward your debt each month. Other financial emergencies can temporarily set you back or cause you to miss a payment.

Focus on the progress you've made rather than how much debt you have left

When you’re feeling discouraged about how much debt you still have left, change your viewpoint. Looking at your debt from a positive angle can give you a motivational boost.

If you’ve been tracking your debt payoff, it shouldn’t be difficult to total up how much debt you’ve paid off so far. Don’t worry if that number isn’t big. Slow progress is better than no progress, but if you can afford to make bigger payments, do it. That will help you pay off debt faster.

Remember why you're paying off your debt

You’re paying your debt for a reason—to have a comfortable retirement, to pay for your kids' (or your own) education, to afford a house, or maybe just to free some money in your budget. Paying off debt is a good thing. Every payment you make toward your debt gets you closer to the benefits of being debt-free.

When you’re feeling discouraged with your debt, reflect on the things that drive you to be debt-free and use them to motivate you to keep going.

Don't compare yourself to others

When you compare yourself to others, you're robbing yourself of the chance to feel happy about what you've accomplished.

Try not to get discouraged by the progress your friends, family, bloggers, or others may be making toward paying off their debts. Every situation is different and you never know what sacrifices those people have to make to pay off their debt. Take pride in the fact that you’re doing the best you can to pay off your own debt.

Recalculate your debt repayment time

If you’ve been making above-minimum payments toward your debt, you’ve probably shaved a few months off your total debt repayment time. Plug your current debt and payments amounts into a debt repayment calculator to see how much time you have left.

Keeping the goalpost in front of you can give you a much-needed perspective about your progress toward the goal.

Stop thinking about your debt for awhile

After you’ve paid your bills for the month, take a break from thinking about your debt. Dwelling on the debt is more likely to stress and depress you than to help you figure out what to do. For the next few days or a couple of weeks, think about something besides your debt. Read a great book. Take a class. Engage in a hobby. Once you’ve taken a break, you may have a fresh perspective on your debt or a new idea about how you can pay your debt sooner.

Find a reason to celebrate

Think about something positive related to your debt repayment. Maybe you’ve paid off a significant amount of your debt already or perhaps you’ve gone several months without accumulating more debt. Count the number of months you’ve gone without missing a payment. Are you close to paying off a credit card balance? Be happy about the strides you’ve taken toward getting rid of your debt.

Read motivational and inspirational quotes

You may find inspiration in the words of the world’s greatest thinkers and speakers. There are books on quotes and free quotes on the internet. Start a collection of your favorite quotes and read them when you’re feeling down about your debt. You might even come up with your own positive quotes about paying off your debt.

Read success stories from people who've made it out of debt

You’re not alone in your struggle to get out of debt. Many other people have gone through exactly what you’re experiencing now. While there may be some who ultimately sought help through the bankruptcy court, there are many others who found a way to pay off all their debt in the most difficult circumstances. These stories can inspire you to believe that you also can pay off your debt.

Don't give up

One of the best ways to overcome discouragement is to fight through it. When you feel like giving up on debt repayment, just keep going. If you give up now, then you’ve let your debt defeat you. Giving in to discouragement won’t help you feel better. In fact, you’ll feel worse if your negative feelings influence you to pay only the minimum, to miss a payment, or to make a new credit card purchase. Recommit yourself to your debt repayment plan and look forward to finally paying your debt in full.