Monday, August 4, 2014

Strategies to Help Pay Off Debt Faster: Aim for Progress, Not Perfection

It's easy to read personal finance blogs and lament that you don't have as good of a situation as some other people do.  There are some bloggers with net worths approaching $1 million, and here I am, with less than 0 net worth.  I'm in the red.  By a lot.

One of the things that I have to remind myself is that progress is my goal, not perfection.  Perfectionism equates stumbling along the way with failure.  Progress is getting back up after you stumble to continue on your path.

I might be able to perfectly balance my budget one month, but the next month will inevitably be off.  I don't like obsessing about my finances, and the whole point of this is not to sit and worry about money day in and day out.  The loans will be paid off.  I work a lot, I don't live extravagantly, and I'm trying to get a hold of my finances.  I'm not trying to do something extreme like pay them off in 1 or 2 years, because I know myself and I know that the immense pressure would be emotionally taxing.  

I remind myself to measure what I'm doing in terms of progress because if I measure it in terms of perfection, I will never reach my goals.  In terms of progress, however, I've come such a long way since a few years ago, since last year, and even since I started this blog about 6 months ago.

Holding myself to an impossible standard of perfection is unsustainable and would only serve to discourage me.  I'm a perfectionist in so many other areas of my life that it can become a hindrance to taking action.  That's why I think progress is the main goal here for me.  I'm in this debt payoff adventure for a while, I might as well do it the best I can rather than aim for perfection and never do anything.  As long as I am being true to myself and making progress, I will be happy.


  1. I think this is very wise. Setting achievable monthly goals (and then doing extra if possible) seems like the way to go, rather than expecting every month to be like your best months.

  2. Thank you! Agreed! I've realized that being too hard on myself will probably get me off track faster than it would help me progress.

  3. I view personal finances as being similar to working out and getting your body in shape. There's no real short cuts, but you get tips and learn things better along the way. No one can become a body builder over night, there's just no cheating that it's a slow progression where hopefully overtime you get better at it. I think peoples finances are similar in that they can't immediately cut everything from budgets that's unnecessary, they have to gradually change over time so their mind/life doesn't get a shock to the system and they immediately give up.