When you have a large amount of debt, it can feel like you will never be free of it. Even if you get yourself motivated to pay it off, it can be hard to stay motivated. While living on a tight budget can seem doable in the short term, to succeed long term, it’s important not to get burned out. Whether you are working to pay off student loan, mortgage or credit card debt, here are some ways to avoid debt fatigue during the process.
When starting the debt payoff journey, it’s important to adjust your mindset. By psyching yourself up for the work ahead, you will (hopefully) be more ready to weather some ups and downs. Instead of thinking of the budget lifestyle as confining, think of the control you will have over your life once you have control over your finances.
Similar to how a crash diet can help you lose weight in the short term but can be hard to follow in the long term, it’s a good idea to come up with a reasonable budget you can live with for the duration of your debt payoff. This may mean reworking your budget, holding off on other financial goals (like buying a home) for the time being or breaking up your payoff into small increments. You can calculate how long it will take you to pay off credit card debt with this nifty calculator.
In the beginning you may have a clear vision of why you want to pay of your debt but during the journey, obstacles and events can make it a little foggier. Creating a concrete representation of your goals early on can be very helpful later. You might want to try vision boards with images of your future debt-free life. This can include an image of a special pair of shoes or a scenic pictures for a possible future trip. This can keep you from feeling tired, distraught, remorseful or angry about your situation, and help you focus on the benefits debt repayment can offer.
Whether a friend, family member or co-worker is in a similar situation, you may find it helpful to share your repayment plan with someone. This way you can have someone cheering you along your journey. They can also help support you if you are finding it difficult to stay motivated.
Once you have set a plan, it’s important to stick with it. Seeing the balances of your bills go down can help you feel excited for your goal. You can also think of the repayment as a game where you get points (or small rewards) for reaching certain milestones. In fact, you can use your credit scores as a way of motivating yourself as well. The amount of revolving debt you carry (i.e. credit card balances) has a major impact on your credit scores, and as you pay down the debt you should see your credit score rise as well. You can check your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com to track your progress. Of course, the ultimate reward will be becoming debt-free.
This article originally appeared on Credit.com and was written by AJ Smith.