Making Molehills Out of Mountains

Sometimes tasks just seem insurmountable. They weigh on you, day after day. Maybe you’re trying to get out of a huge pile of debt, or maybe you’re working at coming up with enough money to pay this month’s bills on time — with getting out of debt or building up savings just a distant dream.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of things like that. Difficult situations are enough to get anyone down. I remember when I desperately, literally needed every single dollar just to make ends meet. (Where “making ends meet” didn’t include things like buying a replacement pair of shoes.) It was easy to get stressed about it.

The thing is, the more stressed out you are, the worse things seem. And the worse things seem, the more stressed out you get. It’s a vicious circle.

But I’ve discovered one thing that really helps: making mountains into molehills.

It goes like this: Yes, things can be tough. But dwelling on them and worrying about them doesn’t help. Laying awake nights wondering where you’re going to get the money only makes you sleepy and ill. What can you do in the middle of the night anyway? Doing something is what helps.

And that’s the trick. Do what you can do, as often as you can do it. Don’t stare at the pile of bills and then go to bed. Instead, pick one up and see what you can do with it.

Ask yourself (and others, too) what ONE action you could take right now that would make things better for that single bill (or debt). Then do it. Get single minded about a single thing so that you regain a sense of control. Then do the next thing. Pretty soon your mountain will have become a series of molehills.

Remember that difficult situations become easier when you break them down into manageable amounts — and then you handle those manageable amounts.


  • For me, a copy of the serenity prayer does me just fine.

    In a nutshell, it says that you should not worry about the things which you have no control over

  • David, I like that one too.

  • I am starting the New Year with a 21 Day of Financial Fasting. Nothing will be bought that is not an absolute necessity, plain and simple.

    I should be able to amass a fortune at the end of the 21 Days. Not really but it would be more than I would normally have at the beginning of the year.

  • Ms. Freeman, how are you defining necessities? That kind of a fast would be really challenging for me!

  • I define necessity by only purchasing things that are absolutely needed to maintain a very basic lifestyle. ie. gas, food to be prepared at home, household utilities; that’s it.

    No entertainment, shopping, eating out etc. the fast is only for 21 days so going without these items is not as drastic as it may seem. :)

    These fasts will give me ample opportunity to really think about the things I want to purchase during the days I am not fasting. It will give me time to research and find the best quality, quantity and price.

    Being a shopaholic three weeks of down time is what it will take to keep me on track.

    Well at least that’s the plan ;)

  • Ms. Freeman, now you’ve really gotten me thinking about my spending. (Which is a great thing, as I’ve been spending like crazy lately.)