Credit card debt can enslave even the hardest workers at every income level. It becomes like a snowball rolling down a mountain, and eventually it becomes an avalanche that buries you.

Mentally deciding that you are ready to cast off your shackles and taking the necessary steps to debt-free living are two different things, however. To truly live a debt-free life requires lifestyle changes on both a small and large scale.

Below is some advice from financial advisors who help clients reach their goals.

One advisor with a Portland, Maine, investment management company says, “It’s really important you don’t make [paying down debt] so daunting that it’s impossible to succeed.”

Instead, he advises clients to set small goals like making more than the monthly minimum payments on their credit cards, even if it’s only $10 more. As you see your balance drop, try to increase the amount that you pay each month by increments.

To retain your focus on the big picture, it helps to understand why being debt-free is so important to you personally. Higher credit ratings are an obvious motivation, but other reasons are too.

Maybe you want to move to a better neighborhood so the kids can enroll in the best school system, or perhaps you have your heart set on a vacation home that generations to come can enjoy.

You can help yourself stay on track by picturing your goal in a very literal way. Snap a shot of the house you’d like to by in the better neighborhood or the lakeside cabin or beach house, and keep it inside your wallet where you can see it when you go to reach for the plastic to pay. You may also use it as a screensaver on your desktop computer or the background on your phone.

Many consumers run up deep debts without ever having anything tangible to show for it. Eating lunch out five days a week, buying expensive coffees every morning and buying rounds of drinks for the office crowd all chip away at your goal. None leave you with anything of value in return. Track your spending to eliminate unnecessary purchases.

Sometimes debts are just too big to handle alone. Speaking to a trusted legal advisor about your bankruptcy options could be one way to wrangle your debt load into submission.

Source: Forbes, “Ready To Get Out Of Debt? These Hands-On Tips Can Help You Stay The Course,” Vickie An, accessed May 03, 2017