A friend of mine recently asked for my advice as it pertained to paying off debt. She had about $5,000 in debt across a couple of credit cards and a personal loan and wasn’t making any progress on paying it off.
When I asked her why, she responded with “I just feel overwhelmed. I don’t even know where to start.”
This post has been written by Amanda Abella, accomplished writer and speaker in the area of personal finance.
Overwhelm and Procrastination
Before getting into how to start paying off debt, it would be beneficial to discuss the relationship between overwhelm and procrastination.
Overwhelm happens when we feel like the task at hand is too big. We may also feel it when we are unsure of how to tackle it. Instead of starting to take action in even the smallest of ways, we let our feelings about overwhelm (namely fear) take over and we begin to procrastinate. In other words, we avoid the uncomfortable feeling.
Of course, this has a downside. While we may think that avoiding the uncomfortable emotions will help us feel better (out of sight out of mind), the problem we’re trying to solve only gets bigger. This causes more overwhelm, more emotions and, you guessed it, more procrastination.
So, in reality, avoiding doesn’t help you do anything productive. That’s why you might want to consider trying some of these tips to help you get started in paying off debt.
Find Positive Examples
When paying off debt, you may feel overwhelmed because you think it’s impossible to accomplish your goal. Truth be told, the amount of debt you have is relative.
When my friend said she was stressed out over five grand I smiled and said, “Oh, that’s easy!” That’s because I’ve become accustomed to hearing stories of people who’ve paid off far more than that.
You’ll need to rewire your brain to believing that you can pay off your debt. One of the best ways to do this is to flood yourself with successful debt repayment stories. You can start with podcasts or even reading this blog.
The next step in paying off debt when you’re feeling overwhelmed is to find support. This could look like Facebook groups or many of the online financial challenges that are available for free. If you feel like you need more than that, there are also support groups in the form of twelve-step programs.
Just get clear on the next step.
One of the things I suggested to my friend is that she start taking small steps toward paying off her debt. Rather than trying to figure out how to achieve it all at once, I suggested she only try to figure out the next logical step.
Since she had a tax refund coming her way, her next logical step was to use it to pay down her debt. Once that’s finished, she can figure out the next step after that.
By taking it in small steps instead of giant chunks, you can more easily handle your overwhelm while paying off your debt.
Paying off your debt can feel like an emotional and overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be. Use these tips to help you take action, even if it’s in the littlest of ways.
Are you ready to start paying off your debt?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.