Around this time last year, my friend told me that he was going to become a bodybuilder. When he said that, I thought he was joking. Here was someone that I’ve known since grade school….someone who never placed much importance on exercising at all, let alone building muscles!

After college, he went to work at a start-up, but he didn’t feel fulfilled with a “desk job”. He wanted to do something active, and push himself physically and mentally every day. So, after a lot of research and soul searching, he decided that he wanted to get into competitive bodybuilding. While I was excited for my friend, I was also concerned about the toll it would take on his body and mind.

Interestingly enough, the more we spoke about his plans and his regimen, the more I realized how becoming a bodybuilder is similar to getting out of debt (or anything that requires long-term dedication for that matter).

1. You have to set goals and make a plan you can stick to.
The first thing you need to do when becoming a professional bodybuilder is create a plan. You need to set attainable goals for yourself, figure out what you need to do in order to achieve a certain weight and increase muscle mass, and come up with a workable plan to help you reach those goals. When you are trying to reduce debt, you have to go through the same process. You need to get organized, figure out a plan to reduce your debt, and take active steps towards making it happen.

2. You need to decide if you’ll be working with professionals.
While bodybuilders can train on their own, my friend opted to hire a coach, personal trainer, and a nutritionist to help him get into tip-top shape. He was a newbie and needed experts to show him how to achieve the results he was looking for. Debt reduction is the same way. While you can try to reduce debt on your own, sometimes it may be beneficial to work with a reputable debt relief company to help you achieve the results you want. They can provide you with the right tools and support you need in order to succeed.

3. You need to make a lifestyle change and stay committed.
Even with the best team on your side, it won’t do any good if you aren’t willing to put in the effort. A hopeful bodybuilder can’t expect his trainer to do deadlifts and squats for him and reap the results, right? His nutritionist can’t force him to eat lean chicken and broccoli, instead of pizza and ice cream. Even when it’s hard, you need to make a conscious decision to stay on track. When you are trying to reduce debt, it’s the same thing. You have to be mindful of how you manage your money and make responsible financial decisions every day. Progress can only be made when you are dedicated to your own success.

In the end, it boils down to motivation and commitment. If you are serious about getting out of debt, create a plan, stay focused, and take the necessary steps to reach your goals!