How many years have you said “This year will be different! I’m going to wear those jeans that I keep in my closet that I haven’t worn since high school. I’m going to eat better and I am going to spend more time with my family!” Only to… not do any of those things. Well, possibly get my big toe in said pants. That’s progress! Right?!
So why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we set these giant, over the top “resolutions” and beat ourselves up come December when we sure did not stop drinking Dr. Pepper like we said we would. (I don’t know ANYONE who has ever said they would give up Dr. Pepper or cut back on it or anything of the sort. Not me, that’s for sure…)
So let’s get real here. How do you make good, honest and solid change that will stick? How do you take your life to the next level without letting all the other day-to-day things get in the way? How do you make change happen without being overwhelmed? You break it down. (Not the dancing kind, but music helps with EVERYTHING, so you can break that down too! :))
For instance, our student loans. Ugh. Double UGH. Let me tell ya, our student loans have been THE WORST part of this whole debt-free journey. The credit cards? Knocked those out like a boss! I got a second job, we sold everything but the dogs (And each other! Ha!) and we were those extreme annoying people, selling cars, not eating out, beans and rice baby, beans and rice!
I had this fear building up in me early into our credit card payoff adventure. We were lucky, I suppose you’d call it, we had our debt-free wake-up call before we had really done a lot of damage when it came to credit accounts. So every couple of months, we had a full-fledged rock show belting out “Another One Bites the Dust.” We were doing this! We were paying off our debt and we were on our way! But… Those student loans weren’t as small as the credit card balances… I was terrified.
I fell off the wagon once that last credit card was paid. It was too much. I would go on rants about how this wasn’t realistic. The amounts were just too big. I can’t do this. I can’t handle it. Just like those New Year’s Resolutions. I felt like I had set myself up for failure and here I was, the credit cards gone, the equivalent of going to the gym the first three months of the year and when I got to the fun summer months? I dropped my good habits and December had rolled around and Sallie Mae was still my best friend riding shotgun down the highway. No. Thank. You.
There were many a talks with my husband. Lots of tears and mentions of feeling like a failure. We had to fix it. We both wanted (And still want!) to be debt free so so badly and we had worked so hard to get to where we were. How did we fix it?
We broke it down. We cut our student loans up. We made them bite-size instead of a Man vs. Food challenge. Say our smallest loan was $10k, instead of waiting to celebrate our victory at $10k, we started working it $2k at a time. So every $2k paid, we had a small celebration, just like we did with the credit cards. It made it easier. It made it possible. It made it happen. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” And that’s exactly what we did and continue to do!
We started with more than 15 student loans. FIFTEEN! I can now count how many we have on one hand.
What are your goals for this year? Do you have debt you want to shed? Want to get in better shape? Or maybe you just want to read more in 2018. You’ve got this!
How about instead of “lose weight” or “read more” as a resolution we identify the real issue and find a workable solution.
Issue: I don’t get enough physical activity.
Solution: Walk around your office building after lunch at least three days a week. Then after that becomes a habit, add in 30 minutes of exercise three days a week on top of the three-days-a-week walks.
Issue: I don’t read enough and enjoy good books like I used to.
Solution: Read at least one book every three months.
Lets stop setting ourselves up for failure and start livin’ our best life by making our goals achievable, doable and realistic. I’ve found I can tackle anything if I break it down! 🙂
P.S. I’m not even kidding about the music thing. Find a song that pumps you up and makes you want to break it down! Play it to start your day, listen to it when you lose a pound, pay off a bill or finish a book! Have fun with it!