This is how I did it and when I really changed my mind about what was really important to me. I had most of what the normal folks had. I had a new truck (I was broke though). I had two new motorcycles (I was broke though). I had tons of new shit purchased with my credit card (I was broke though). Now my debt was not really that much, but on a single income and raising kids, it was more than I needed and my monthly payments were kicking my ass. With this past round of debt, I didn't have any student loans or a mortgage, but I've had plenty of both in the past.
In March of 2016, I "only" had $43,500 in debt. I had things, BUT, I had absolutely nothing to my name, except about $3k in a 401k, and a couple bucks in my checking account. I made decent money, but had nothing to feel good about. Sure, I could buy groceries and we had heat and A/C in a nice comfortable house, and our lifestyle was full of activities, but I've always had a not so good feeling about my money/savings situation. I no longer felt the need to have things, and quite frankly I've always been pretty minimalistic, but I did have those things and they were keeping me down, in a place I chose not to remain.
The proverbial straw was that second motorcycle. I can't really explain that feeling I had at the dealership with the ease of the transaction. The ease with which they gave me more just because I had this great income and great credit score. I felt gross, like I was bragging about my income and my credit worthiness. I was like "sure, run my credit and see how the numbers look". And the salesman was like "dang dude, you're shit came back clean and you could have this new bike for these low payments, and we'll throw in a new helmet and some free service for a couple hundred mile", and I was like "shit yeah, let's do this". UNTIL THAT NIGHT, when I got home and had time for the excitement and adrenaline to wear off and I was like "Brian, you're a fucking idiot" and "Brian, that salesman totally amped you up and sold you". That's the gross feeling I had. Being SOLD. That was his job and he was pretty good at it since I now had TWO fucking motorcycles. I felt weak like I couldn't say no. I felt like I needed adult supervision. And, what happened from that experience combined with the overwhelming payments I was already making, is I changed my mind. I needed that experience to change my mind. I needed that overabundance of things to change my mind. So that's what I did. I changed my mind. I came up with a plan to get rid of all the things I didn't need. I sold the first motorcycle. I sold the truck. I paid off the credit card. I paid down on the second motorcycle until I had it low enough and had a little cash to make up the difference in its' value and finally sold it.
There's been a few bumps in the road, and it took longer than I thought it would, but I kept with it. I followed my plan. And with the mindset change, I made new plans. I budget differently. I allocate money for savings and investing. I have savings!!! I have an investment account!!! I put money into a retirement account!!! I HAVE A POSITIVE NET WORTH!!! It's crazy. I feel great. I love it.