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10 ways to stay positive while you're working on your credit

, by Jeanne Kelly

We live in an instant world. You shop for something online and it's at your door in days (or hours!). If you want pizza, you can probably get it delivered in 30 minutes or less without even speaking to a human. And how can we even get started on the numerous ways to watch our favorite movie, series or documentary instantly.

So why oh why can't it be the same with rebuilding credit?

Working to rebuild from an unhealthy credit score can feel torturously difficult. It's NOT instantaneous. Rebuilding your credit is not measured in minutes, hours or even days. The brutal truth? You can expect it to take weeks, months and sometimes even years.

Because we live in an on-demand world, and rebuilding credit can take much longer than that, how do we stay positive and proactive as we maintain good credit practices? It can be tempting to think, "this is too hard. What's the point? I give up." But if you stay the course and maintain good credit practices, you will see your credit health improve.

The best strategy is to recognize and celebrate your little successes along the way. After all, the saying goes, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." The saying DOESN'T go, "after the first step, the journey of a thousand miles is now 999.99 miles." The "single step" in that saying is a celebration of one small movement forward. It doesn't seem like much but it's a start. In other words, celebrate your baby steps.

Instead of getting frustrated at how far you have yet to go to achieve a desired credit score, celebrate the things you're doing right along the way. Give yourself a pat on the back, take yourself out for ice cream, take it easy on your housework, or call a friend to brag. It doesn't really matter how you celebrate (as long as your celebration doesn't rack up more debt), it just matters they you encourage yourself along the way.

So as you're repairing your credit, consider celebrating these little accomplishments along the way:

  • You made a payment on a delinquent account

  • You paid off a credit card

  • You consolidated debt (need help? Find a credit card based on your FICO Score)

  • Every on-time payment

  • Sticking to or slimming down your budget

  • A budget-friendly purchase (or lack of purchase)

  • When you order your credit reports

  • When you review your credit reports & FICO Scores

  • When you submit a list of corrections back to the credit bureaus

  • Celebrate if you see your FICO Scores increase - even slightly

Make a list of potential rewards, and make sure the rewards are appropriate for the size of the success - for example, your favorite candy for making a minimum credit card payment on-time, or a date night with your spouse when your credit score increases by at least 50 points.

The journey to rebuilding your credit can take time. But in our instant world, it's hard to be patient. But if you celebrate the little successes, it makes the journey to healthy credit that much more rewarding.

This is a guest blog. The views expressed by guest bloggers represent their own personal views, and not necessarily those associated with FICO.

Jeanne Kelly

Jeanne Kelly is a nationally recognized authority on credit, the founder of The Kelly Group and the author of The 90-Day Credit Challenge. She has appeared on The Today Show, and blogs for Huffington Post & Poughkeepsie Journal. Visit her online at