"I started working on my credit but didn't finish." I hear that a lot. People tell me that via email. Someone tells me that at every seminar I speak at. Some of my new clients tell me that (which is perhaps why they have become clients).
I've observed that healthy credit really boils down to perseverance: How well do you persevere through the details? How well do you persevere with credit as a habit? How well do you persevere when you have to deal with a debt collector or come face to face with a bad decision you made years ago that still haunts you now? And once you've worked on your credit, how well do persevere with your good credit habits, like paying off your credit cards on time?
So here are 4 tips to help you persevere when working on your credit:
1. Set goals. Set goals for yourself that will motivate you to keep going. Do you need good credit so you can get a mortgage so you can finally buy a house? That's your goal. Do you need good credit so that you can renegotiate a lower interest car loan? That's your goal. Do you need good credit to get that highly competitive job? That's your goal. Whatever you are working on your credit for, make that the big goal.
2. Remind yourself of your goal often. It's not enough to just think of your goal once. It needs to be a real thing that you can visualize -- as if you can reach out and touch it. The more real and exciting your goal is, the easier you can persevere through the details.
3. Set small steps. Big goals are great, but sometimes you need to celebrate the little victories. So before you even start working on your credit, set little goals like "I will order my credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies," or "I will review my credit reports for errors," or "I will contact one debt collector today." Set a whole bunch of goals and celebrate every victory.
4. Make it fun. People stop working on their credit because they get caught up in the details. You can easily transform your credit into a fun occasion by finding a friend who also wants to work on their credit. Invite them over once a week for an hour of focused credit-working time. The conversation and the accountability will help you!
Healthy credit is such a reward.. but sometimes you have to get through the details (and sometimes even a hard phone call or two) to get that reward. It's worth it! Stick with it. Persevere.
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