Day 3: 31 Days to Reducing Your Debt

31 Days

Hi there.  I hope you’re enjoying following along as I share this month 31 different ways to begin your own debt slaying journey.  This week, I’m talking about some of the ways to change your thinking.  Next week, we’ll begin focusing on the nuts and bolts of budgeting, debt reduction, and financial choices.  Like I’ve said before, none of these tips are revolutionary but they’re the steps we’ve needed to take to get where we’re at in our own personal journey (over $75K paid off since April of 2008).

Day 3: Forgive Yourself

Ok so this sounds totally wishy-washy and semi-pathetic.  But there is a step in beginning your process of getting out from under debt that involves forgiveness.  I’m not talking about debt forgiveness in the financial sense but in the emotional sense.

Next week, we’ll begin the process of figuring out exactly how much it is that you owe.  No matter how large or small, more than likely it will produce a number you’re not comfortable with unless you’re already debt free.  It can be completely overwhelming to see an exact figure on paper.

I can remember when we first began to estimate what it was that we owed to whom, I was completely despondent and without hope.  How in the world did we end up in this mess?  Was there really any way out of this hole?  What were we going to do?  What would happen if a major life change – like the loss of a job, illness, or God forbid it a death were to occur?  How would we stay afloat?

Immediately following, feelings of guilt, remorse, and insecurity set in for me.  How could I have been so stupid?  I’m not unintelligent.  How could I have made such unwise choices with money?  Why was I so selfish in needing one more thing?

Don’t get me wrong, remorse is a good thing.  It makes us uncomfortable enough to effect change in our lives.  However, when guilt paralyzes you, it is unproductive.  So at some point, you have to shake it off and rub some dirt in it (or at least that’s what the coach and my dad always said), and move on to the next step.

It takes a two step process of admitting, yes I was wrong.  And then coming to the realization that this is where we’re at and if we’re to get out debt we need to change our behaviors now and get at it.  It is what it is.  Let’s take charge of it now.

So say you’re sorry to whomever (God, your spouse, yourself, your parents), embrace forgiveness, and move on to the next step in your life.  You’ll feel better and you’ll be better prepared, too.  But remember forgiveness isn’t just about apologizing and being forgiven, it’s also about changing who you are and what you do.