How Small Victories Win the War against Debt

Getting out of debt can seem like a daunting task. When you finally decide to take the step of getting yourself out of debt, it’s easy to be intimidated by the huge goal you’ve presented for yourself.

And when you realize what you’re up against, you’re ready to give up on getting out of debt before you even get started. So how do you overcome that overwhelming feeling when you want to achieve your goal, but you’re so intimidated by all the work you know it will take to get it done?

You have to chill out, take a step back, and remember that in the end, it’s the small victories that win the war.

Start With Small Victories

When you apply that to chipping away at a huge mountain of debt, that means paying off smaller debts first.

I know there are experts that recommend paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. That’s OK, you can do it that way and it will still work.

But research shows that approaching your debt problem by paying off the smallest debt first actually works better.


Because winning small victories is psychologically good for you. They motivate you to keep going when the going gets tough. These little wins allow you to feel good about what you’re doing and motivate you to keep going in a way that other methods of paying off debt just don’t do.

How do you start achieving these small victories over debt so you can ultimately win the war?

You make a plan.

The Debt Rocket

Some people call it a “Debt Snowball” or any number of other names. I call it a “Debt Rocket” because it starts slowly, but quickly launches you into the blue sky of debt freedom!

Here’s how it works:

  • List all of your debts from smallest to largest
  • Continue paying the minimum payment on each debt
  • If you have any extra money to use for debt, put it toward your smallest debt to get it paid off faster.

This allows you to get that smallest debt paid off relatively quickly, thus getting a small win that pumps up your motivation to keep going.


  • Use the money you were sending toward the smallest debt, and add that to the payment for the next smallest, along with any extra you may have.
  • That allows you to get the next smallest debt paid off in no time, because you’re sending in much more than just the minimum payment.
  • Keep doing the same thing, working your way down the list as you get each debt paid until you become debt free!

Even though I call it the “Debt Rocket,” it’s not rocket science. It’s a very simple, but very powerful concept. If you just make the effort to put together a Debt Rocket plan and stick to it, each small victory will add up to life changing debt freedom over time, guaranteed!

You can find printable Debt Rocket forms with instructions here to get your plan rolling.

It Doesn’t Just Work For Getting Out of Debt!

The cool thing about starting out small and taking things step by step is that it works not only for getting yourself out of debt, but for any large goal you might be working toward.

Such as:

  • Starting a New Career
  • Fixing Your Marriage
  • Quitting a Bad Habit
  • Starting a Blog
  • Starting a Business
  • Fixing Your Health
  • Or anything else that requires a large change in your life.

When I started this blog in 2011, I felt overwhelmed by it. I saw all of the established blogs and wondered how in the world would I get to the place where I had the content, the readers, and the products that they did.

But eventually I realized that none of it would happen if I didn’t finally buy a domain name, sign up for hosting, and publish that first post. Since then I’ve taken a small step or two every day, and now I’m well into the journey.

Humble Beginnings Lead to Big Things

Whenever you have a large goal that seems too daunting to even start, just list out the first few baby steps you need to get yourself started toward that goal. Start doing them, one at a time, and just feel those small wins lighting up your brain, motivating you to keep going.

Continue adding to your list as you progress, and eventually you’ll reach that goal that looked so daunting in the beginning!

Remember, Apple started in Steve Job’s parents garage.

Dell was started in a Texas dorm room.

Richard Branson got his start breeding and selling Budgies.

One step at a time is all it takes to make your goals and dreams come true!

Article originally published on Celebrating Financial Freedom. Used with permission.

Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker. He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog and self study course. His book How to Budget: The Quick and Easy Guide to Making a Budget That Works is now available (more info here). He can be reached for interviews or speaking engagements by email, and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes



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