A few days ago, starting this series seemed like a good idea. After all, it’s been something I’ve wanted to do, I
know it’ll help some readers, and maybe it’ll be something I can turn into a short eBook, helping solve a little bit of my income problem. But when I sat down to start it, guess what happened? Yup. I got overwhelmed.
How’s that for a kick in the face?
I got overwhelmed mainly for two reasons: one, I had no clue what should be the correct order of tasks and two, thinking of how I am going to get it all done. In fact, these thoughts almost prompted me to shutter the series with a heartfelt apology before I even started. But then I stepped back, took a deep breath, allowed the anxiety to have it’s moment, and moved on.
If you’re facing a mountain of debt, you’ve probably experienced similar thoughts, particularly once you’ve listed all of your debt. You look at the total and think “holy shit! There is no way I am ever going to pay all of this off before I die. It’s impossible and I should just quit now. And where do I even start?!” Then you might yell, decide it’s not worth the effort, and curl into a ball and cry (or was that just me?).
But just like me quitting the series before it starts, crying, yelling, and ignoring the problem isn’t going to make it go away. I’d still want to write a series and you’ll still want to pay off your debt (or whatever huge hurdle you’re facing). So how do we get over feeling overwhelmed at the massiveness of the challenge we’re facing?
Well, to start, we need to set goals. It is virtually impossible to do anything without knowing what you want to accomplish. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take out a piece of paper and pen, or whatever goal tracking app you like to use, and write down both short and long term goals. For instance, if you’re overwhelmed at how much debt to pay off, your goals can look like this:
- Be debt free
- Maximize my savings and retirement fund
- Pay cash for my dream car
- Eliminate 2 debts within 6 months
- Start an emergency fund
- Open a retirement account
Seems pretty simple, right? It is. Because they’re your goals and they can be anything you want them to be. Just make sure you write them down and put them somewhere conspicuous (I hang mine on the bulletin board above my desk).
You are also going to want to list all the action steps you need to take to accomplish the goals. Those action steps are what you are going to focus on to get over feeling overwhelmed. Having a plan of attack, with specific, achievable, easy to complete tasks is actually very calming. You’ll know exactly what you need to do without having to think too much about it and, while the list might be long, you really just need accomplish one task at a time. Don’t look at every single one every day. Look at the one you can do right now and then do it. Maybe it’s making the initial deposit in a savings account. Maybe it’s paying an extra $10 to your student loan. Maybe it’s creating a Pinterest board of all the things you’d like to do once you have the money. Just do something small, something simple to get you started. You’ll find that doing one small thing and checking it off your list will make the entirety of what you have to do seem much less overwhelming. And it’ll also be much easier to do the next item. A momentum snowball, if you will.
The thing about goals is that they set the foundation for everything else you are going to do. Goals give you focus and direction and make a daunting situation seem that much less so. You will know what you are aiming for and you’ll have a sense of purpose as to why you’re doing it.
So let’s get started. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about something, what are some goals you can set to help manage that feeling? Leave them in the comments below if you want, share them on Facebook, or write them down for your own private use. Just get them out there!