Being in debt for a long time can sap your desire, motivation and belief that you can ever be out of debt. It's what I call "debt fatigue," and it's insidious.

You don't think things can ever change. You don't believe there's any point to even trying. You'll never be happy. What do you do if you're already there?

debt fatigue

Well, you can wallow, or you can accept that you're in an emotional cycle and kick your own butt to a new place.

Experiencing debt fatigue doesn't mean you'll never feel good again, it just means that the things you do to feel good about don't last very long and are often detrimental to your long-term financial health.

Any of this sound familiar?

Having debt is normal. Everyone has debt.

I'm so far in debt now, I might as well . . . go on holiday, buy this dress, fill-in-the-blank.

If I have to wait to get out of debt to buy (whatever), I'll be old and grey.

The next time you're feeling defeated by your debt, put your logic into drive and your emotions into neutral. The feelings will pass if you stay on the path toward your goal. That assumes, of course, that you have a goal.

If you haven't started down the track to living debt-free forever by taking even the smallest step, what are you waiting for? Nothing will change until you take a step forward. It's time to make a plan and get with some people who have been where you are now. A friend, a family member, a co-worker or two who have taken this journey can help you. Talk about your debt. How does it make you feel? And what do you want to do about it? Get it out in the open. Commit to doing something differently.

Having a few positive people on your side is a great way to defeat debt fatigue. Since we know that thoughts - both positive and negative - are contagious, surrounding yourself with people who are on track to achieve their goal of being debt-free forever will help clear your path.

While you're on your journey, if you focus only on what you don't have - what you've given up to find money to pay off your debt, or what you can't have because you're broke - you'll deepen your debt depression. Consider everything that is good in your life. Count yourself fortunate. Be grateful. Change from focusing on what's missing to seeing what you do have.

Remember to count your successes along the way. This is an important part in not getting weighed down by how far you have to go. Use charts to plot your progress. Have small celebrations each time you hit a milestone. Give yourself a hug for what you've achieved, instead of a kick for how far you still have to go.

If you're serious about moving forward, if you're tired of feeling tired with your debt and want to get to a better place, action is required. Once you get some results, you'll build momentum and positive thinking will come easier. But you have to take that first step.



This article was written by Gail Vaz-Oxlade from The Toronto Star and was legally licensed by AdvisorStream through the NewsCred publisher network. 

Lyle Konner profile photo
Lyle Konner
Financial Security Architect
Konner & Associates Financial Services Inc.
(604) 575-7900
Fax : (604) 575-7901