As the New Year rolls around, many of us are reflecting over the past 12 months and creating new goals and resolutions for the upcoming year.
Without a doubt the most popular New Year’s resolutions have to do with getting a fresh start, which invariably involve either getting fit or getting out of debt.
In fact, studies show the most common New Year’s resolutions are losing weight and exercising more, followed by managing debt, saving money and reducing stress.
This was my main goal last year – to finally pay off all my debt and live a debt-free life. However, that’s a lot easier said than done. There were many times I wanted to quit, give up and go back to my impulse spending ways.
Thankfully I discovered a simple strategy that changed my whole thinking about how to get out of debt, and it was key to helping me finally become debt-free.
What is this surprisingly simple strategy? To make your debt goals public, and share them with your friends, family and community.
Now, don’t freak out! If you don’t want to share your personal finances with your family or close friends, then you don’t have to. But I do encourage you to find other like-minded people who can share in your success story.
For instance, I share my goals and progress on my blog, on Facebook and within the community of other financial bloggers. Trust me, there will never be a shortage of people who want to help you succeed.
Harness the Power of the Public
The secret behind making your goals public is peer pressure – and good peer pressure can be a very powerful force! When you leverage your community, you begin to form a support group.
The right kind of support group will not only make you accountable to yourself but to them, and they’ll be genuinely interested in your success. Having some cheerleaders can really keep you going!
One study shows that announcing your goals, helps you follow through and be much more likely to achieve them.
So share your debt goals with your best friend, your followers on Twitter or via email. However, you spread the word, just do it! Take that next step and vow that this year, you’re changing your life and want to take them along for the journey.
Yes, you’ll have to answer to them if your discipline starts declining or you begin losing momentum – but that’s what you need. Harnessing the power of the community around you is the best way to reach your dreams and goals.
Find the Right Type of Community
A positive side-effect to having a supportive community is the encouragement they provide and the feeling of having someone on your team. While this is essential to keep you motivated, it’s not always enough to help you reach your goal.
One of the biggest problems with trying to get out of debt is that your friends and family don’t always understand or support your decisions. So when you have to cut back on family outings, socializing with friends and going out to movies, the people around you might oppose you instead of support you.
This is why finding the right type of support is critical, and could mean the difference between failing or succeeding. When you share your goals publically, you give the community around you the chance to support you, both emotionally and financially.
Those of us who are debt free, or are in debt and trying to get out of it, have been where you are. We know what it’s like and what it takes to reach your goal.
All the problems you’re experiencing, we’ve experienced similar ones and can help you through the hard times. Finding the right type of support will reduce the stress and burden on you, making it a much more manageable goal.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Advice given from an experience standpoint will save you lots of time, money and energy. So if you’re lucky enough to find someone who’s been through it and came out on the other side, or who’s an expert in this area, don’t be afraid to ask them for advice.
Ask them questions. Pick their brain. Find out what strategies they implemented to reach their goals. If you surround yourself with the right type of people, they are usually very happy to talk about their experiences and share their knowledge.
You might fear that accepting help or guidance will lessen your own achievement, or you might be reluctant to let your friend, family and community help. But the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a huge milestone on your own.
But if you allow others to help, you not only increase your chances of success, you’ll reinforce the relationship with them.
Even if your friends can’t offer the kind of advice you need, they can still give you the financial and emotional support you need.
So take time right now, at the beginning of the year, to connect with people who can help you reach your goals. Surround yourself with a community that will ensure you make this year the year you finally become debt-free!