How to Man (Woman) Up When it Comes to Your Debt

How To Take Responsibility For Your Debt
Stefanie O'Connell
By: Stefanie O'Connell
Updated: March 7, 2016
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You can’t begin to make major life changes until you are willing to accept responsibility that everything that happens to you is either to your fault or to your credit. This is especially true when it comes to debt.

The more you blame your debt on your circumstances and factors outside of yourself, the more time you waste pointing fingers rather than taking action, and the more power you give up to make a change.

Taking full responsibility for your debt is not only difficult, but it can make you depressed, angry and a whole host of other negative emotions that won’t do anything to serve you on your debt repayment journey.

It’s important to recognize your current debt is merely a reflection of bad thinking and bad habits in your past and from now on you are committing to a brighter and better financial future.

1. Identify how you got here

If you’re looking at an overwhelming mass of consumer debt or even “good” student loan debt, think back to the choices you made that got you to this point.

Did you live beyond your means? Did you have a medical emergency you had to charge? Did you pursue higher education without a plan to pay for it?

Once you can identify the choices that led to your debt, you can start to identify the thought processes and habits that allowed you to take those actions and find ways to break them.

 “Make a list of positive

goals to motivate you.”

2. Replace old habits with new ones

For every bad debt-producing habit in your past, map out a new, constructive alternative.

For example, if you had a tendency to buy more than you could afford to spend, develop a new approach for shopping and regular expenses. Switching over to a cash-only system with set amounts of money in each category of spending would be a great alternative.

In the case of the medical emergency, research insurance options and low cost medical programs available to you, so when you encounter a potential problem in the future, you know where your best resources are.

Start a cushion of savings so you are better prepared financially for such occasions.

3. Set goals

Obviously you want to get out of debt, but focusing on the things you don’t want is not as powerful as the motivation to achieve what you do want. Make a list of positive goals to motivate you on your debt repayment journey.

And don’t forget to celebrate every little step in the right direction. You had to take responsibility for your poor choices – now celebrate your good ones!

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