When You Feel Like You Will Never Get Out of Debt: Things to Consider

By Jackie Beck   Updated 05/20/2021 at 4:54 pm

Sometimes you look at the pile of debt in front of you, and you’re just tired. All you can think is “I’m never gonna get this paid off”. But you know what?

Chances are that you can. The vast majority of people can if they stick with it, and you are probably not the exception.

The flash points

Typically, there are three points at which you might feel like you’re never going to get out of debt: 

  • When you’re just getting started in the process,

  • When you’ve been struggling to get out of debt for a while without making much progress,

  • And when you’re on the homestretch and that last big debt just seems to be taking forever.

So if you feel this way (or have ever felt this way), know that you’re not alone. Know also that it’s absolutely possible to get out of debt: people do it every single day.

Recognize that feeling for what it is

So it’s important to recognize that feeling for what it is: either a need for more information and guidance, or a desire to get that marathon over with.

If you’re staring at a mountain of credit card bills and getting overwhelmed, or if you’ve tried and tried to get out of debt without success yet, take a look at this article.

Chances are a solid plan is exactly what you need to turn that feeling of despair into success. (If you look at that and still aren’t sure whether or not you could repay what you owe, email me and I’ll be happy to plug your numbers into my debt app and give you some suggestions on how it could work.)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed…

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you spend a lot of time thinking about your debt — especially if it’s going to take you a while to get it paid off.

So my advice in that situation? Don’t overthink it.

That’s right, sometimes the best thing you can do when paying off debt is to focus on something other than your debt. You’ve just got to pick the right thing to focus on. And that means narrowing your focus, a lot.

How narrowing your focus can help

So what should you be focusing on if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of your debt, or the length of time it’s going to take before you’re debt free? It’s not how much you’ve got left to pay, or how long it’s going to take, that’s for sure.

It’s whatever your next step is. That could be getting your budget set up, getting a $1000 emergency fund going, or getting the money you’re going to send to the next item in your debt snowball.

Whatever it is, hyperfocus on that puppy. And ONLY that. Celebrate every step you take toward that particular goal.

Hyperfocusing works

When I was in junior high, I played clarinet and wanted to be first chair. The only problem was, I was currently the worst clarinet player in the band — last chair out of 13. But I had a goal!

So I talked to my music teacher, who told me that I could move up one chair at a time. To move up, I had to challenge the person ahead of me & play a piece of music better than them. So that first week, I worked on becoming just good enough to beat the person right next to me so I could move up one chair. If I’d tried to jump right to #1, I’d have given up, because that person was much, MUCH better than me. It would have been overwhelming.

But by being forced to focus on one step at a time, I ended up as 2nd chair — only because the school year ran out before I could challenge the first chair.

Getting out of debt works the same way

Just do the next step. Knock out one debt at a time your debt snowball.

Do everything you can to get that one debt paid off as quickly as possible. And if that debt is kinda huge and overwhelming, like our mortgage was before we paid it off, then break it down even further. Focus on paying an extra $100, or $50, or whatever as quickly as you can.

Don’t look at the big picture — unless you’re looking back at how far you’ve come. Then celebrate the heck out of what you’ve accomplished so far, and know that one day you’ll be debt free.

The important thing is to keep going

If you’re early in your journey, concentrate on how good you’ll feel when your money is really your own. And if you’re almost at the end of the debt marathon, for heaven’s sake keep going. You’ve already proven to yourself that you can do it, so don’t let up now.

If you can, put on some extra speed instead by selling something or taking on a bit of extra work.  Recognize that feeling for what it is — being tired — and concentrate instead on the finish line waiting for you just ahead. 

Because you can get there!

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