A few things have been buzzing around in my head this past week: patience, sacrifice, and perspective.

Paying off debt–really paying it off–is not easy. I know, I know, understatement of the century. If paying off debt was an easy task, a lot more people would be debt free. Every month I inch closer to the Big Day it feels like it gets harder and harder. It’s because this process takes time. It takes dedication. It takes balls to tackle the challenges that come with this process towards freedom, the main one being sacrifices.

In order to put more money towards paying down my debt I’ve had to let go of some things that I’ve always enjoyed:

  • Going to the movies
  • Dining out
  • Shopping for clothes, accessories, and beauty items
  • Being able to drive to more places without worrying about gas
  • Taking weekend getaways

I miss all of these things. While they didn’t add anything substantial to my life, they were nice to have. I’ve also had to postpone certain plans as well. Getting a newer car, for example. Furnishing my new apartment. Building an emergency fund. Traveling. These are all things that I wish I could do (or have) right away. I need to be patient, while trying to stay positive and hold my head above water, but it’s not always easy. I’m not perfect, I’m only human after all, and I do have my bad days like anyone else.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this process is this: it’s all about attitude. Your attitude can make or break you. It can propel you forward, allow you to tackle challenges productively, and more importantly, it can influence your perspective.

So I try to keep that in mind. When I think about being debt free, and what that means for my future, the little sacrifices I’m making now don’t seem so bad. This isn’t going to be forever, but it will take some time. Being patient, keeping myself focused, and sacrificing things for the bigger picture will pay off in the end.

It’s this perspective that keeps me grounded and positive. And those are things I’m going to take with me even after I’m debt free.