I’ve been in debt. You’ve been in debt. We’ve all been in debt.

The thing is, some of us manage to get out of debt, eventually. And most of the time, it’s the result of drastically cutting your spending, starting a side business to earn extra money, or trying a combination of the two strategies until something sticks.

There’s no way around it. When you’ve got credit card debt, monthly payments on a short-term loan, car payments, and who-knows-what-else to contend with, you have to do something to improve your situation.

But here’s the thing – anyone who has paid off huge sums of debt can tell you that it takes much more than the desire to become debt-free to make it happen. In addition to wanting it, you have to change your mindset as well. And that part of the equation is sometimes the hardest part of all.

7 Realizations to Help You Get Out of Debt

If you’re in debt and struggling to find a solution that sticks, you have to change the way you think about the money you earn. Here are 7 unfortunate things you need to come to terms with before you get started:

No one is going to help you.

If your debt-free strategy involves buying lottery tickets, you’re not alone. For some reason, a lot of people hobble through their problems with magical thinking; they think that, somehow, some way, someone else is going to solve the problem for them.

Short of a surprise inheritance, a winning scratch-off ticket, or the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes knocking on your door, no one is going to help you through this. To start making progress, you need to take action. No one else can do it for you.

You can’t afford everything.

This is shocking, I know. When every television commercial you see is trying to convince you that you can afford their product, it can be difficult to admit that you can’t. Unfortunately, this is the trap that gets far too many people into trouble – spending more than they can truly afford on things they don’t truly need.

You need to cut your spending.

Getting into debt is what happens when you spend more than you earn. It’s true that earning more money might save you, but the flip side of that – cutting your spending – is often the fastest and easiest way to make a difference. If you’re in debt, cutting your spending is one of the first things you should do.

Your debt is your problem. Fix it.

Why do people schlep through life thinking everything is someone else’s fault? I ask myself this all the time. It’s like your debts – and your problems – magically appeared one day out of the clear blue sky. But instead of doing something about it, you’re busy crying in the corner.

Does this sound like someone you know? If this describes you, it’s important to know that you have the power to make a difference. Oh, and quit being a baby.

Yes, you can live without _____.

Even though it might not seem like the case, we really need very little to survive. Things like pricey smart phones, cable television packages, and going out every weekend aren’t really that important in the grand scheme of things. And if you really want to get out of debt, you should learn to live without them for a while.

You’re running out of time.

When you’re deep in debt, it’s easy to think your problem will work itself out somehow. Unfortunately, that is almost never the case. Further, the problems associated with your debt – interest payments, delayed retirement savings, and low standard of living – can actually be exacerbated by your procrastination. The longer you’re in debt, the more money you’ll ultimately pay.

Things will get better.

One of the main reasons I believe people put off debt repayment is because they can’t stand the idea of sacrificing the things they want for the long-term. But here’s the thing – once you start making progress and turn your financial situation around, you can add some of the things you love back into your budget. Just because you need to cut cable for a year, doesn’t mean you’ll never have Bravo or HGTV again, am I right? So suck it up, and sign up for Netflix for heaven’s sake.

Being in debt is one of those things that never gets better; it only gets worse. Unless you do something about it, your problems will simply escalate over the course of months and years.

If you are ready to make a change, you need to change your mindset first. And part of that includes telling yourself a bunch of things you don’t really want to hear.

How did you change your mindset before you decided to pay off your debt? What would you add to this list?

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