Total outstanding consumer debt in the U.S.was more than $4.1 trillion as of October 2020.

Based on 2019 data from Experian, the average American has $90,460 in consumer debt, including credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, student loans, and mortgages.

Paying down or reducing debt may seem like an insurmountable goal. But, sometimes it takes a little mind over matter to knock down those mental roadblocks that keep you from repaying your debt.

1. How to avoid the “I’ll pay it off later” mentality

This is the equivalent of “I’ll start going to the gym tomorrow.” If you tell yourself you’ll start paying off debt later because you need to hold onto every penny you’re earning now, it’s easy to get stuck in that cycle. And if you just make the minimum payments each month, over time, those balances will grow with compounding interest.

To get out of that funk, use a loan payoff calculator to figure out how long it’ll take you to repay your debt. Compare with your monthly budget and evaluate where you can cut costs,then put those funds toward repaying your debt. Once you’ve factored in extra payments, you’ll get an estimated debt-free date and interest savings, which can help motivate you to stay on track.

2. How to rethink status symbols

Your dream home or that new Tesla can be tempting, but if you’re consistently making big purchases on borrowed money, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of paying off debt, which can cause friction and stress—not just on your wallet but also on your relationships.

If you feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses but can’t actually afford the big home and the fancy car, consider alternatives. Sure, older generations fixate on owning a home to build wealth, but if you’re looking for luxuries, perhaps renting an apartment with a luxury amenities is a better option. Additionally, you don’t necessarily need a brand-new vehicle to turn heads. A 2015 Tesla Model S costs about half as much as the latest edition.

3. How to remind yourself credit ≠ free money

You may lookat the $17,000 credit limit on your credit card and think, “I’m rich!” But credit is not free money. Just ask J.T. Lambert.

Your payment history and credit utilization ratio—or the amount you owe compared to your credit limit—are two key factors that make up your credit score. And your credit score affectsyour eligibility for future loans or credit cards.

Instead of maxing out cards, compare your monthly expenses to your monthly income and see what’s necessary to put on credit. If you can’t afford an item without credit, consider if it’s something you should even purchase.

4. How to stop comparing yourself to others

Cliché as it may be, comparison is the thief of joy. Having debt because “everyone has debt!” is not only a bad reason to put yourself in debt, it’ssimply not true. According to a recent Pew Charitable Trusts report, about 80% of Americans carry debt, with mortgages being the most common.

Try not to think about other people when you’re evaluating your own debt. The only person you should compare yourself to is past versions of yourself (similar to working out at the gym). If you want to pay off debt faster, consider a debt consolidation loan or a balance transfer card with 0% introductory APR.

5. How to overcome a defeatist attitude

Much like your childhood aspirations to become an astronaut, paying off your debt may seem unattainable. But in this case, we say reach for the stars. You can achieve a debt-free lifestyle by forming a debt repayment plan, like the debt snowball method, which prioritizes your lowest balances first—a good way to keep you motivated with small victories.

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.