Financial Therapists: Consider the belief in money to disrupt the debt cycle | personal finance

Lesson 2: Focus on where you want to go

Though debt can feel overwhelming, adopting a growth mentality over a rigid mindset is crucial, Wasserman says. A growth mentality means believing that things can change and that you can be the one to change them.

“Take that statement, ‘I will always be in debt,’ and change it to ‘I have $15,000 in debt and I will be debt free in the next 24 months,'” she says.

Wasserman also recommends identifying your goal and creating a visual, daily reminder of that goal. For example, if you want to get rid of your credit card debt in order to build your credit score and eventually buy a nicer car, find a picture of the vehicle, place it in a frame, and hang it by your front door.

This can help you stay motivated as you work toward your goal.

Lesson 3: Leave shame behind

Few money problems are associated with as much shame as being in debt. Other people will shame you for what they perceive to be bad financial decisions, and you will likely shame yourself.

But shame doesn’t work, says Kahler. In fact, it can completely throw you off course.

“Shame says, ‘You’re defective. You screwed up. You’re a bad person.’ And none of that will motivate behavior change. It’s just further proof that you can’t do it,” he says.

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