Identify Your Motivation for Eliminating Debt

by Ryan Yates

What motivates you to pay down debt?

Like so many things in life, our motivation drives our sense of determination and fuels our perseverance.

Or lack thereof.

After all, would Rocky have defeated Ivan Drago if he wasn’t motivated by Apollo’s death in the ring?

Would Shrek have rescued princess Fiona had it not been for the fairy tale characters taking over his swamp?

Would Inigo Montoya have found the six-fingered man had he not been motivated by the death of his father?

Make no mistake about it, your motivation to get out from underneath the pressures of financial mismanagement will directly influence your resolve to complete the task of becoming debt free.

Take Ownership of Your Shortcomings

Before you become motivated to change the direction of your financial life, you must own up to your mistakes, your poor decisions, and your bad spending habits.

After all, if you refuse to take responsibility for your financial state, even Tony Robbins would have a hard time getting you interested in committing to change.

When you humble yourself just a bit and accept the truth that you are responsible for your bad credit, maxed out credit cards, draining your 401k, never starting a college savings plan for your kids, or blowing your emergency fund on last year’s vacation, you will finally be able to “get over yourself” and begin to focus on solving the problems.

The Force that Drives You

Why is it so important to identify your motivation for eliminating debt?

Simply put, getting out of debt is going to be tough – maybe not in theory, but definitely in practice. There are going to be rough spots that make you want to throw away the idea that you can live debt free.

Your old spending habits will be screaming to come back into your life. The sales, the specials, the coupons, the marketing strategies will all tempt you to come back to your former lifestyle.

But when you have a solid foundation of motivation guiding your efforts, you won’t be so easily swayed.

All of the sudden, your child’s education will outweigh your desire for new shoes. Your retirement possibilities will become more important than another new-car lease.

Having the flexibility to involve your children in extracurricular activities without having to sweat about your cash flow will be higher on the list than keeping up “financial appearances”.

When you identify what motivates your new financial plan, you will have a constant reminder to stay the course and never give in to your old ways.

Motivation to Get INTO Debt

Maybe you haven’t thought of it, but there is something that motivates us to spend more than we earn – thus trapping us in debt.

Depending on your personality, it could be just as important (or even more important) to identify those things that motivated your bad spending habits.

When you’ve identified both sides of motivation, you can begin to correct your life’s list of what is truly important.

My Personal Motivation

For my wife and I, our motivation to rid our lives of debt was the opportunity for mission work. After all, how can you uproot your family and live without a paycheck when you owe so much money?

We got to the point where we realized that we wouldn’t be able to go where we felt God calling us if we kept spending more than we made. We were anchored down by our debt.

With this in mind, we set our determination on frugal living and paying down our debt. It’s surprising what a little motivation and a lot of change can produce!

Photo By stevendepolo


natalie F November 6, 2012 at

My motivation is my kids. I want to be able to provide for them even if something goes wrong, like losing a job. And I want to be able to have enough money to help them buy their first car and pay for all the things they can’t afford until they’ve reached adulthood. I always think of them as my reason to save.

Jessica N November 14, 2012 at

I’ve been in debt for a few years now, thanks to the GENIUS idea of paying off a few semesters of school with a credit card, then getting unexpectedly laid off. My greatest motivation for getting rid of my debt is LIVING! I want a happy life and waking up everyday worried about which bills I need to pay next, which collector may be chasing me today is just a miserable way to live. Little by little I am paying everything off, but the feeling that this will take forever is pretty annoying. I definitely wish I could get a second job to help pay off my debts, but working ft and going to school ft doesn’t give me that luxury. Thanks for the great entry, and especially for the great blog. It’s great to take advice from those who have gone through what you are going through.

Dawn Gray December 8, 2014 at

I have two questions. I am a pizza driver part time and want to know the best way to manage my cash tips? What is the easiest and most effective mobile money app on the market right now? Thanks.

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