Growing up, my grandfather used to love quoting Creighton Abrams. He would constantly tell me things like, “You can eat an elephant if you take it one bite at a time.” Now, as a kid, you can just imagine the thoughts running through my head when he would say things like that. I would literally imagine myself sitting there with a fork and knife!
Now that I’m older, however, I understand what he meant.
Great tasks take time. They take persistence, discipline, and motivation. They take planning and often accountability to carry it through to the end.
Something one of my mentors taught me early on is that starting your own business isn’t about the quick fix. It’s not about building the small little grass hut that will blow away when the first storm hits. It’s about building skyscrapers. That way it will weather the volatility within our economy.
This elephant advice is great for someone wanting to start their own business, lose weight the healthy way, or literally build an actual skyscraper. But what about the rest of us? This advice is terrible for someone trying to pay off debt!
THE PROBLEM WITH THIS MENTALITY
Let’s get back to the real reason you are here. It’s not to read my ramblings about eating elephants and building skyscrapers. It’s about how to get out of debt and to do it quickly.
When overcoming the debt trap you need to build some momentum ASAP. You need to take it to the MAX, turn the volume up to 11, and jump in with full guns blazing!
The longer you are in the battle to become debt free the harder it is to stay motivated to push through to the end. So we need do everything we can to shorten this battle and obtain our ultimate victory as quickly as possible.
It’s most likely going to take some time, maybe even a few years to get this knocked out. However, the faster you get some extra income rolling in, the less time you are buried in the trenches.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
According to Statisticbrain.com of the Americans who actually make New Year’s resolutions:
- “42.1% make money-related resolutions“
- “44.3% make self-improvement or education related resolutions“
But as far as the success rates go:
- “48.4% have infrequent success“
- “42.4% have never succeeded and have failed on their resolution each year”
The reason I bring these statistics up is because we always rush in with the best intentions but we never count the cost of what it’s going to take to make those resolutions, goals, or dreams a reality.
It’s not just at New Years. Every payday we are evaluating our financial situations. Every payday there is a little something inside of us nudging us to make some serious changes, it’s time to stop ignoring it.
AVERAGE TIME IT TAKES TO PAY OFF DEBTS
Unless you look into a debt relief program, which normally presents an average time-frame to become debt free, you will be shocked at how long it could possibly take to get out of debt…especially if all you can afford to make are the minimum payments. Even with debt relief programs if you lack the proper discipline to not add additional debt during that time-frame you will still be in far longer than anticipated.
When my wife and I took stock of our debts and how long it would take to pay them off while only paying the minimum payments we were completely shocked!
If you look at your credit card statements, many of them will tell you how long it will take to pay off if only paying the minimum payment each month. It will usually tell you the absurd interest rate you didn’t know you were signing on for as well.
It can take a long time to get out of debt, especially when you are only making the minimum payments. So you really need to kick it into overdrive and do this as quickly as possible. Minimum payments WILL lead you to serious BURNOUT! You’re probably already there!
20 YEARS IS TOO LONG!
My wife and I were drowning in debt for nearly 20 years! We knew what we needed to do. But we kept ignoring the reality of our situation. We didn’t want to work overtime, find a second job, drive the old beat up car, or cut back on our eating out and all of the fun stuff. But at the end of the day, we finally realized that if we ever wanted to break free we had to make some serious changes and fast!
Those changes are far beyond cutting things out to help “balance” the budget. We needed to create a surplus. The larger the surplus the more debt we could pay off each month and bring us closer to our goals.
To do that we needed to be looking for ways to earn extra, and multiple sources of income!
The absolute biggest inspiration to both me and my wife when it comes to our finances is Dave Ramsey. His program was offered at our church and we attended Financial Peace University. It completely changed our life and how we thought about money, finances, etc. The price is a little steep, but when you can afford it, I HIGHLY recommend buying it and going through his video series. At the very least you should check out his book Financial Peace Revisited.
The reason I bring this up is because he talks about something he calls “Gazelle Intensity”. The wisdom he offers comes straight from the Word of God. In Proverbs 6:4-5 (NASB) it says this:
4 Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;
5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
“In other words, when you’ve gone into debt, when you’ve co-signed on a loan (the topic of Proverbs 6:4–5), when you’re in over your head with money problems, you need to work as hard to get out of debt as a gazelle works to run from a cheetah.”
~The Dave Ramsey Blog~
So what about you? What kind of intensity are you developing in your journey to break the shackles of debt? Are you running like the gazelle towards the prize of freedom? Are you turning the volume up to 11? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave your thoughts and comments below.