Take the 10 Percent Challenge and Get on the Road to a Wealthier and Healthier You

03/12/2014 04:35 pm ET Updated May 12, 2014

We borrow. We spend. For many of us, we find very little room to save for the future. We stress over finances which can often lead to, or contribute to, unhealthy behaviors like poor eating, drinking too much, smoking, or a lack of physical activity. Unhealthy behaviors lead to long-term health problems. When combined, poor health and poor wealth can lead to a lack of focus, a diminished quality of life, and health costs and financial gaps down the road.

You know the saying "drop and give me 10?" Yes, it usually refers to push ups. But why not stop making excuses and give yourself 10? As in, 10 percent for your future self and retirement savings? Embrace the challenge -- and opportunity -- for a wealthier and healthier you. Many experts say we should be saving 11-15 percent of our income to get on the path to a successful retirement. For many, that's a hard place to get to right away. So try something that might be a little more attainable. Try for 10 percent. That's 10 percent of your own money, regardless of whether or not your employer is providing help, like matching in a 401(k) plan. It's a nice round number. And it's only 10 cents out of each dollar you bring in to stash away for your future self.

If you can't get there today, try starting out at 6-7 percent this year and commit to increase your savings rate by 1 percent each year until you hit 10 percent (or more). If you have access to a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan, you might be able to use auto-escalation (if available in the plan) to help you climb up to your 10 percent goal over time. Don't forget other pre-tax savings opportunities, like IRAs, as well.

If you exhaust all of your pre-tax options, there are many ways to save on an after-tax basis. In many cases, you can make it very convenient by arranging a monthly deduction from your checking or savings account to get you to the 10 percent.

For some of us, 10 percent could be too little or too much, but if you are looking for a place to start, 10 percent gets you close to where most experts say you need to be headed.

It probably took you three minutes to read this article. I bet it wouldn't take you much longer to pull the trigger on the 10 Percent Challenge. Take it today. Take it now. Act before inertia takes over and you get back to busy. Your future self will thank you!

Top 8 Financial Worries Of Americans