I was having a tough time, emotionally, with my debt load yesterday. I was at a coffee shop I’m not the biggest fan of (I had a coupon for a dollar coffee to try their new blend) and I needed a space to study for a work course free from the distractions of home and my adorable little puppy (insert shameless brag here) so there I was. However studying was a struggle; I had a shopping relapse earlier in the day and the guilt was setting in.
I knew I shouldn’t have walked in to my favourite resale/thrift store when I saw the 50% off sign. I should’ve kept going. I walked in and I did the whole mind-blank thing; no logic or reasoning could push through as I bee-lined with my items to the cash register. A never worn before Columbia fleece jacket for $15. A J.Crew dress with its $200 price tag on it for $20. Old me would’ve been on Cloud 9 at those “deals,” but nearly $60k in debt me should’ve stayed the $%#$# away.
So fast-forward to me in a coffee shop, drinking a $1 coffee I didn’t care for so I could use their space and Internet, knowing I forwent the coffee place across the street that I actually do like because their brew would set me back a whole 2.25 – meanwhile I seemed to have been okay with spending almost $70 on clothes (addiction never was the best breeding ground for logic). I swore to myself again, that this time was it. This was the last time. After today, it was over. It kind of feels like one of the multiple times I’ve committed to eating healthier and working out. The last binge is always the last, the diet always starts tomorrow. Well, so far I’ve been swimming in this endless sea of tomorrows. I need to do something NOW.
So I did what I always do after I spend any amount, and I recalculate my debts. This purchase was tacked on to my already inflated debt since I last did a Round Up; taxes, course tuition, dentist work that went beyond my benefits – I’ve been sinking further as of late. The lump in my throat set in. The put in my stomach was growing bigger by the second. I can’t fail again this time. I can’t go back on my commitment yet again. The shopping ban needs to stay; there’s no more room for error. All chips are in.
How do you dust yourself off after disappointing yourself again? I know it’s crucial to not judge or berate myself seeing that will get me nowhere, but I’m losing patience with myself. You know how everyone has that friend with the cr@ppy boyfriend or girlfriend, that after getting their heart trampled on for the umpteenth time, swears up and down it’s over, this is the last straw, they’re cutting them loose and moving on? And after they take them back for the umpteenth time, you don’t even care to comment or even roll your eyes at it anymore – you just don’t care to hear it at all. Well I’m getting there – with myself. I’m embarrassed to report it here (but do because I promised I’d always be honest and transparent – or how else would I work through this?) because how long before everyone sees me like the friend with the terrible on-again, off-again relationship, and thinks, “man, this chick’s a flake. She can’t stick to anything.” It’s hard to move forward with gusto when you feel like you lost your credibility…with yourself.
I know I can do this, guys. I know deep in my heart I can. I can get out from this mountain of debt. I know I can get to a point where I can resist the temptation. Just like the healthy eating goals or the exercise goals, you slip up and don’t do what you’re supposed to – until you do. You go on again and off again – until you break the cycle. You think you can’t reach that goal, until you hit it. It just takes one tiny small baby step. Followed by another tiny little baby step. Followed by another, until I look up one day and notice I’m not only there, but I’m even a few paces ahead.
Has anyone else ever struggled to form new patterns, but had a hard time sticking to them? Whether it was attached to financial goals, or health or personal ones?