This is How You Crush Debt for Real (Forget Apps and Graphs)

May 27

Eight years ago, I dropped an article on reducing debt, breaking down the debt snowball vs. the debt avalanche approach. It blew up—big time. It happened to be one of my most popular articles ever.

In a nutshell, the debt avalanche has you tackle the highest interest rates first, while the debt snowball says to start with the smallest balances. The idea? Knock out the little ones to build momentum and confidence for the bigger beasts.

Beyond debt repayment methodologies, there’s a slew of software that can show fancy graphs and track your debt load. However, all these tools ultimately don’t make a difference without one key ingredient.

Paying off debt isn’t just about these methods, apps, or fancy graphs. They’re tools, like the icing on the cake. The real secret sauce? Understanding your priorities and fortifying your willpower.

Writing down goals sounds great, right? But without strong willpower, it’s like having a plan with no action. True progress happens when you actively build up your determination. It’s about taking actionable steps to strengthen your willpower, which is crucial for financial success.

The Power of Speech

What you say massively impacts your thoughts, especially the stuff you tell yourself. Athletes use mantras to get amped for events, so why not do the same for your finances? Craft a mantra like “I’m determined to pay off my debt,” “I want to be responsible with my money,” or “Becoming debt-free is my top priority.” Repeat these daily to shift your mindset and feelings towards your goals.

Pro tip: Set an hourly alarm on your phone to remind you to recite your mantra. This little habit can drive your willpower and actions more effectively than any debt plan.

Visualization Techniques

Got a vivid imagination? Use it! Sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and picture what it’s like to be debt-free. Feel the freedom, the relief, and the new opportunities. While visualization isn’t the main method for changing your beliefs about money, it pairs nicely with the power of speech.

Eliminating Counterproductive Influences

Mantras are golden, but you must also cut out distractions that sabotage your goals. If you’re all about becoming debt-free, then window shopping or hours of online shopping can wreck your efforts. List all your potential distractions and temptations, then avoid them. This will reinforce your commitment and keep your actions aligned with your financial objectives.

The Emotional Side of Finances

Here’s the bottom line: finances are emotional, not purely logical. The simple formula for paying off debt is spending less than you earn. Easy, right? Hardly. You could rake in $300,000 a year and still swim in debt. Income alone doesn’t equal a good outcome. There’s a significant emotional piece to this puzzle, and knowing the right methodology or having a fancy spreadsheet won’t cut it.

You’ve gotta dig deep and build up that willpower while prioritizing your goals. For example, if friends invite you to a fancy restaurant, you’ll easily cave if you haven’t solidified your financial priorities. But by rearranging your priorities, boosting your willpower, and removing obstacles, you’ll likely choose to stay in and chip away at your debt instead.

The Role of Financial Coaching

And here’s where financial coaching comes in. A financial coach (that’s me!) helps you zero in on your priorities, beef up your willpower, and cut out those pesky distractions. With personalized strategies and support, paying off your debt becomes not just a goal but a reality. A financial coach transforms your motivation from external to internal, making real change happen.

Avraham Byers
Your Financial Coach

About The Author

Hi, I'm Avraham (pronounced Av-Rum.) I'm a reformed spender, financial coach, and the founder of Avraham Byers Financial (I'm better with money than coming up with company names.) In a funny and non-preachy way, I teach people how to take control of their finances without giving up their smoked butterscotch lattes.
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