Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 90 - Step 6: Create/Follow A Plan

January 12, 2011

I have developed a guide to help you (and me!) achieve the mindset and principles required to successfully become debt free.  This is the sixth in a series of posts about my Twelve Steps to Debt Freedom.

Step 6 - Create/Follow A Plan
Image: nuttakit /
Feedback?  Before I get started on discussing Step 6, I would like to know if any readers want to share their experiences or stories about working on the 12 Steps To Debt Freedom.  Feel free to either comment directly on the post if you have a suggestion.  Also think about whether  you would like to be a guest writer for my blog and discuss your experiences with other readers.  As always, you can send me an email.

Now for Step 6!  Are you ready?  Have you been able to get through the first five steps?  I recommend completing steps 1 through 5 before continuing on with the program.  Don't worry, I'll wait..................

Ok, fine.  For those of you who can't stand the suspense, now is the time when you get to see some action!  Up until today, all of your work has been to prepare you mentally for the challenge ahead and also to help you get organized.  You should now be ready to find or create a plan that best fits your needs in terms of achieving your goal to get out of debt.

Why is a plan so important?  In my opinion, it creates a sense of definitiveness.  In other words - Steps 1 through 5 really focused on the Who?, What? and Why? aspects of your debt free goal.  The next step is to figure out When? and How?  Notice those last two are very active questions while the first three are more focused on a fact finding mission.  Knowing that you want to accomplish a goal is one thing, but knowing how to proactively tackle a goal is the key.  There are a lot of Thinkers in this world but not nearly as many Do'ers.  The right plan is your bridge to Do'erville.  Not to be confused with Farmville, the popular Facebook app that is a complete and total waste of your time.  Not that I would know anything about wasting a bunch of my time playing that ridiculously addictive game........ok, moving on!

How do I find the right plan for me?  Obviously, I'm a little biased because I think The Total Money Makeover is a work of genius.  But prior to finding Dave Ramsey, I can't even begin to count how many other personal finance plans I read about or tried to come up with on my own.  From Suze Orman (Young, Fabulous and Broke) to Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) to David Bach (Smart Women Finish Rich).  From paying for everything with a credit card to paying for everything with cash.  The key here is that there is nothing wrong with any of the advice these experts have given - it just hasn't been the right fit for me at the time.  If anything, I have learned quite a bit about personal finance by trying to figure out which financial habits work for me and which don't.  The right plan for you is the plan that works, plain and simple.  How do you figure out if it works?  You TRY.  You TAKE ACTION. You DO.  You may not find it on your first, or even fifth try, but the knowledge you gain from your efforts will be worth it in the long run.  And eventually you will find the right plan for you.

I've found a plan I want to try.  Now what?  Time to cross that bridge to Do'erville.  Don't just read the book and move on.  Gradually start to implement the ideas into your lifestyle.  I don't recommend diving in and going cold turkey - that type of extreme change always seems a little too overwhelming and discouraging for me.  Write down the goals you want to accomplish and the time frame you expect to implement each part of your plan.  Keep a journal, a calendar or any other kind of written documentation to help keep you accountable.  Then just follow the plan's steps (aka "DO") and see what works.  Keep in mind that often you learn just as much from failure as you do from success.  If you find something isn't working for you, take note of what you have learned about yourself and move on.

Good luck with your search!

Read About Step 7: Make A Budget (Part I)

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