It’s almost the New Year and many people have begun to focus on what they would like to make happen during the next 12 months. And, I’m one of them.
As a person who has paid off significant amounts of debt and taken the leap into entrepreneurship, and lived abroad I’ve learned a lot about setting achievable goals.
Be audacious, but also strategic
It’s OK to set audacious goals. But, in setting those goals try to be OK with not reaching them. I always make my goals bigger than it feels like I can achieve because I just might surprise myself. But, if I’m able to achieve a significant part of the goal that I set, I’m still happy.
In my 20s, I wanted to live in Europe for a year. I ended up living in Paris for six months and it was amazing. No, it wasn’t an entire year — but, that six months is more than most Americans have lived abroad. Then, I returned for another four-week trip a couple of years later.
Sometimes your goal may happen a little differently than you would expect.
When setting up your debt-repayment goals for the new year, think about the minimum that you can realistically do, then add to that goal. Spend time going through your budget and figuring out where you can free up extra cash to go toward paying off your debt.
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What are you really willing to do?
Many people talk about how they want to be debt-free, but they don’t talk about what they are (or aren’t) willing to do in order to make that goal happen.
Are you willing to work more hours? Would you drive an Uber or Lyft to make more money? Or, are you OK working a part-time job during the weekends in order to make more money?
I’ve cleaned houses before in a college town (gross) but I simply don’t want to do that anymore. Don’t feel bad about being honest with yourself about where you would like to spend your energy and focus.
In 2013 and 2014, I participated in a year-long “no shopping challenge.” I saved $4,000 by not spending on clothing and freed up a ton of time. In fact, in 2019 I plan on doing another no shopping challenge as I focus on increasing my savings. Not everyone is willing, or able to do this. But because I’ve done this before, I’m completely comfortable with doing the challenge again in order to simplify my life and meet my financial goals for the new year.
Could you save on transportation by switching out your car? Or, by getting rid of your car and using public transit and car shares? If you have kids, this might not be an option for you. Or, if you live in the country, or in a city that has a “meh” public transit system. But, maybe carpooling a couple of times a week does work for you. Don’t feel bad for making the financial choice that is most comfortable for you.
Consistency is everything
No matter what, keep working toward your debt-repayment goals. You may have to change your process or adjust your process from time to time. There were occasions when I had to change the amount that I could pay because my income had dropped. Despite slowing down my repayments, I still was able to meet a number of my debt payoff goals.
As you go through the process of deciding what your debt-repayment goals will be for the New Year be kind to yourself, and make things happen. Good luck!
For further information and tips, check out Setting up a Debt Repayment Plan That Works.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and/or policies of Debt.com.