Jan 17, 2015
It was another day, and I found myself making yet another excuse about why I just couldn’t deal with my student loans. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I can’t pay them all anyway. The excuses just kept coming, one after the other. As I lay in bed, I felt the weight of letting another day pass where I spent my day doing things that weren’t really that important instead of focusing on the most important things first. After many conversations with friends, colleagues, even acquaintances over the years, I know that I’m not alone in this tendency.
Why is it that we tend to put off the things that matter most to us in favor of doing things that are good to do, but not the most important thing we could be doing? And why does that seem especially easy to do when it comes to student loan repayment?
People don’t always see the hard work that goes into student loan repayment
Sometimes I think we avoid tackling our student loan debt because it’s easier to shift our priorities to match achievements other people can see. So instead of investing a moment time to monitor our student loans, we shift focus and allow ourselves to zone out in front of the television. Because why make managing our student loans a priority when no one can see how much time, energy, and effort we’re putting into it? Or instead of heading to the gym, we’ll spend time taking care of someone else. Because why invest the time to quietly invest in our self-care when it will take so long for results to show up? Or, instead of filling out one more form, making one more phone call, sending a letter, or responding to an email about our student loans we busy ourselves doing other tasks. Because why should we even try when the mountain of student debt seems so huge that it feels insurmountable?
So what’s the delay really about?
The more I dig in the brief moments of quiet I allow myself, the more it becomes clear that sometimes I choose to focus my energy on things that other people can see instead of focusing my energies on tackling the projects that are most important to my life and well-being. I think that sometimes there’s a part of us that believes that we need other people to know just how hard we’re trying.
Maybe you don’t relate to this sentiment at all. Perhaps you are someone who has mastered the self-discipline of focusing on the most important things first, and you’ve cultivated the practiced discipline necessary to take the small steps towards to repaying your student loans while maintaining your health, monitoring your progress, and encouraging yourself.
But if you’re anything like me, then you need reminders like this to remember that the decisions and actions that almost no one sees are often the most important actions we take in a day.
It’s the little things that matter most.
Taking a moment to face the mountain of student debt
So today, take a moment to fill out that form, log into your loan servicer’s account to check on your balances and interest, and choose to do the things that no one can see but you. Because in life it’s the small, nearly-invisible things that add up faster than we think. One step, one email, one phone call, one payment, each adds up to progress towards repaying our student loans and facing the mountain of student loan debt.
Choosing the opposite? It leaves the mountain of student loan debt looming large over us. Which option will you choose today?
Facing your mountain of student loan debt is a worthwhile choice
Why take the time to face your mountain of student debt? Because climbing it will only make you stronger, you’ll get a better view from the peak, and once you ascend to the top you’ll have the trill of heading down the other side.
2 tips for facing your student loan debt
Tip #1 Log into your account or contact your lender/student loan servicer to get your current student loan balance(s), interest rates, and loan status today. Get a more solid grip on reality instead of being so afraid about how bad it is that you don’t do anything at all about it (which will inevitably lead to bigger problems in the future). Use this as a jump start to design your personal repayment plan. If you’re looking for some ideas, then out Student Loan Debt Made Simple.
Tip #2 Write down the one thing that’s stressing you out the most about your student loans. Once you’ve identified the thing that’s stressing you out the most, identify one step you can take to begin diffusing that stress.
- Is it fear that you won’t be able to pay them back? Maybe it’s time to set up an appointment with a CPA or certified financial planner to figure out how you can live with integrity while repaying your student loans.
- Is it worry about how you’ll be able to save for the future and repay your student loans? Perhaps it’s time to call and schedule a meeting with a financial services company and/human resources and open up an IRA through your employer where your retirement savings is automatically deducted from your paycheck.
- Is it concern over how your significant other will react once they know your financial picture? Consider scheduling a date so you can have an honest conversation about your concerns.
Every time you take a small step towards reducing your student debt stress you’ll be able to breathe just a little bit easier.
Start ruling your student debt!
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