One of the top New Year’s resolutions is how to achieve your financial goals. Perhaps this is the year you decide to get out of debt, go back to school, stick to a budget, or save up for that dream vacation. Many New Year’s resolutions revolve around personal finances.

With 2013 right around the corner, now is the time to start visualizing what you want to have happen in 2013 and start planning out your financial goals for the year. I know I have been busy working on my own business, marketing, and personal financial plans for the past few months and now I want to ask you: What are you doing to start planning for 2013 and how are you going to make it your best financial year yet?

Personal Finance and You: The Path to Achieve Your Financial Goals

The path, as always, begins beneath your feet with the first step you take. Where do you stand right now? This is where to begin. Review all areas of your financial life such as your income level, savings level, debt amounts, retirement account amounts, insurance needs, etc., and then write down where you want to be on all of these areas by December 31, 2013. I like to break up my goals into two categories:

Adequate situation and Ideal situation.

This enables me to feel accomplished achieving the adequate situation while still striving to accomplish the more ideal situation during the year. For example, if your adequate income level is $80,000 but your ideal income level is $100,000, you can celebrate your success once you achieve your $80,000 level while still striving for the bigger income level throughout the year. Oftentimes we ONLY set ideal situation goals and if we do not reach them we feel like we failed. By setting two different levels of goals, you can feel proud when you hit your adequate goals and even more thrilled if you reach your ideal goals.

Much of financial planning is staying disciplined and practicing the same financial habits over and over; spending less than you earn, saving for the future, etc. And while we know it usually comes down to remembering the basics, most of us still get so overwhelmed with all that we want to achieve financially that we often end up doing nothing at all toward achieving our goals. Trust me, I have been there… and I am a financial planner! The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and the best thing you can do it just take the first step forward.

Getting Started On Your Financial Goals

The first step might be to finally schedule some time in your week to sit down and organize all the financial documents you have been meaning to organize for months. Or it could mean sitting down for an hour and writing down all your goals, financial or not, that you want to achieve in the next 1 year, 3 years and 5 years. It could also be finally scheduling a meeting with a financial planner to review your financial strategy to ensure you are maximizing your income and assets toward your goals. Whatever it may be for you, the key is to just do it.

Do something to start the 2013 year off right.

Here is a list of some tips to help you get started on your New Year’s resolutions and achieving your financial goals:

  1. Schedule a day in your calendar before the year ends, and map out what you want to achieve in 2013 in your personal life, financial life, and work life. Remove the roadblocks that have prevented you from getting this done in the past and focus on yourself for just one day.
  2. Then once you have mapped out what you want to achieve financially, personally, and in your work life/business in 2013, create a 90-day game plan of action steps you need to take from January-March. This will make it easier to digest and not so overwhelming.
  3. Repeat step 2 every quarter next year.
  4. Share your 2013 goals and 90-day game plan with someone close to you, i.e. your coach, mentor, financial planner, significant other, family member and ask them to support you as you embark on making 2013 your best year yet.

I don’t know about you, but I believe 2013 is going to be an amazing year!

Ready to take the next step? Read our guide on choosing a financial planner.

This post was contributed by Brittney Castro, This post was contributed by Brittney Castro, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and creator of Brittney Castro, CFP® helps create a financial road map for a woman’s different goals in life. She also educates clients on different options, enabling them to make smart decisions. She has a passion for educating individuals on financial topics and speaks for various groups and organizations.

Brittney Castro is available for speaking engagements, radio and telephone interviews, and other media appearances. Connect with Brittney at Brittney Castro is not affiliated with Brittney A. Castro is a registered representative with and securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. California Insurance License #0F33895.