Filing for bankruptcy is a big step to take. If you’re feeling apprehensive about taking the plunge, a little self-reflection may be useful.

By taking a step back and thinking about what brought you to this financial state as well as the actions you’ll take next, it will be easier to feel confident about this big financial decision.

How did I end up here?

The first thing to reflect on is how your debts came to overwhelm you. Did you take out a mortgage or loan that wasn’t feasible? Did you succumb to unnecessarily leisure expenses?

This step can be hard to take because it encourages us to choose someone to blame. Try to remember that multiple events usually come together to cause financial issues. For example, the economy may be at partial blame, your bank or lender may be at partial blame, and you yourself may hold some amount of blame.

What’s most important is that you identify any patterns that could be corrected to make budgeting easier.

Could I have prevented this?

In some cases, going bankrupt may have been totally out of your control. For instance, what initially seemed like a lucrative business venture, may suddenly flop as technology progresses. Likewise, you may have made a big financial decision just before a loved one was injured or became ill.

If you were a victim of a situation like this, try to think about things you could have done to prepare for these types of financial emergencies.

How will I move forward?

After reflecting on how you ended up in this position and things you might have been able to do to prevent it, you’ll have a better idea of what you can do to move forward. Filing for bankruptcy can either erase your debts or help you develop a payment plan to pay them off.