One Bite at a Time

by Jackie Beck

Use the one-bite method to get out of debtHow do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

You can’t pretend the elephant’s not in the room. And once you do bite into the elephant, you can’t stand there staring up at it, feeling overwhelmed by how large it is and depressed about how you’ve only taken a tiny little bite so far and there’s so much left.

No, you’ve got to stare at that one bite and think, “I took a bite out of an elephant! How many people ever do that? Go me!”

And then do it again, til one day you’ll have polished off the whole thing.

Use the one-bite method to get out of debt

The same thing is true for getting out of debt — especially if you’ve got a bunch of it.

When I created my Pay Off Debt app one of the very first features I put into it was a progress bar at the top for the debt snowball:

progress bar

You’ll note that it doesn’t say “77% to go”. It says “23% PAID”. Because it’s all about focusing on how much progress you’ve made, and then continuing to build on that progress. One percent at a time.

Later, I added progress bars for each and every debt in the list, so that it would be easier to celebrate the progress made for individual debts instead of just the snowball as a whole. One percent at a time gets it done.

How the one-bite method works

When my husband and I were paying off our house (the very last bit of our debt) it felt overwhelming. Like a big old elephant staring us in the face. My husband asked me how we were going to do it, and I told him that I had no idea, but we would just start and it one day it would happen.

I really believed that, and it did.

Not because of some woo-woo thing, or because we magically came into a ton of extra cash, but because I knew that you don’t have to see exactly how things will happen in order to make them happen. You just have to start, and then keep going — one bite at a time, until you’re done. Or as Thomas Fuller said, “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything”.

So the one bite-method of getting out of debt works like this: pick a debt, any debt, and eat away at it until it’s gone. Then pick another one, and another, and do the same thing until they’re all gone. Focus on the progress you’re making (and not on how much is left to go.)

Til one day, you’ll have eaten that elephant. Shout it from the rooftops when you do.

Posted in Debt Myths | 2 comments.

2 Responses to One Bite at a Time

  1. Sammyfoz says:

    I’m eating Elephant for Thanks Giving :)