Maybe you want to lose weight, get fit, learn to speak Klingon, or finally learn to play “Welcome to the Jungle” on the Pan Flute. I guess those are admirable (if not a bit strange) but what the heck, to each his own.
But when it comes to resolutions I truly believe one of the best ones you can make is to resolve to get out of debt.
But after speaking to hundreds of people over the years about personal finance, one of the most prevalent attitudes I’ve seen is that most people really don’t believe that freedom from debt is possible. I mean yes, they believe it intellectually, but deep down in their gut they feel that it’s so hard and so far out there that they just can’t do it.
They can’t visualize themselves in that position.
But as entertainer Dinah Shore once said, “There are no hopeless situations, just people who are hopeless about them.”
“So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key”- The Eagles
So if you want to resolve to rid yourself of debt and change your financial life forever, one of the first things you absolutely must have is hope.
But how do you get hope for your situation and your future when you feel your situation is hopeless?
1. The first thing you have to do is to stop worrying about the past. If you made some really dumb mistakes with money (like we all have), that’s ok. Get over it and resolve not to do it again, it is part of your past, but it most certainly is not your future if you don’t want it to be… Don’t look back.
2. Change your mindset about your future (here’s how). Learn to think differently about your finances and think positively about where you’re going instead of brooding in the negativity that comes when you’re having financial difficulty. Mindset matters.
3. Stay away from negative people who tell you it’s hard or you can’t do it, they will suck the life out of you and sap your motivation and your hope for the future. Don’t allow them to steal your hope from you.
4. Take action that will propel you forward into your future. Learn to do a written budget, make a written get out of debt plan, find ways to increase your income and get educated about personal finance by reading books and blogs. Just take it one step at a time. It takes time to build momentum but it only happens when you start taking action.
5. Realize that God wants the best for you and that He is your refuge in the storm. He always helps those who help themselves. He has a hope and a future just for you (Read Jeremiah 29:4-23). Just stay close to Him and He will see you through.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve made a few mistakes with your finances or you’ve made such a royal mess out of them that you don’t think you can ever recover, you have to keep hope alive. You can turn things around.
I am reminded of the French tradition that, when finding out a woman is pregnant, she is told “I congratulate you on your hope”.
Even the smallest seed of hope can develop into a full grown future when it is conceived and properly nurtured.
Remember, your mistakes and obstacles do not define you, but how you manage them will, so allow them to propel you forward and make you wiser and more strategic going forward.
KEEP HOPE ALIVE!