Summary By Sharon Hassler—What is a habit? Simply stated, a habit is something you do so often it becomes easy. In other words, it’s a behavior that you keep repeating. If you persist at developing a new behavior, eventually it becomes automatic. The great news is that you can reprogram yourself any time you choose to do so.

Let’s say you want to be financially independent. Doesn’t it make sense to check your money-making habits? Are you in the habit of paying yourself first every month? Do you consistently save and invest at least 10 percent of your income? The key word here is consistent. That means every month. And every month is a good habit. Most people dabble when it comes to growing their money. They are very inconsistent.

Suppose you start a savings and investment program. For six months you put your 10 percent away. Then something happens. You borrow the money to take a vacation and tell yourself you’ll make it up in the next few months. Of course you don’t. By the way, do you know how easy it is to become financially secure. Starting at age 18, if you invest $100 per month compounding annually at 10 percent, you will have more than $1.1 million by age sixty-five. Even if you don’t start until age 40, there’s hope, although it will take more each month to do it. In either instance, it will take a specific program.

The program is called a No Exceptions Policy. You commit to a better financial future every single day. It’s what separates the people who have from the people who don’t have.

If maintaining excellent health is high on your list of priorities, exercising three times a week may be your minimum standard. A No Exceptions Policy means you will maintain this exercise habit no matter what happens. People who only dabble at change will quit after a few weeks or months. And they usually have a long list of excuses. If you want to distance yourself from the masses and enjoy a unique lifestyle, understand this: Your habits will determine your future. Remember, successful people don’t drift to the top. It takes focused action, personal discipline and lots of energy ever day to make things happen. The habits you develop from this day forward will determine how your future works out. Rich or poor. Healthy or unhealthy. Fulfilled or unfulfilled. Happy or unhappy. It’s your choice, so choose wisely.