No. 5: Set intermediate goals. People get a jolt of confidence when they make progress, says Blair. Rather than striving for one massive end-of-the-year goal, break your plan into daily, weekly or monthly mini-goals. For example, you might get your budget in order in January, then spend February organizing your records. To help you break up the tasks, Fidelity Investments provides a monthly guide to walk you through your 2013 financial resolutions.

No. 6: Check in frequently to measure progress.  You can't make a resolution, then wait until next December to see how you did. For example, if you want to save $5,000 in a year, divide that by 12 and concentrate on saving $416.67 each month. A monthly check-in is best, says Cutts. If you check in too often, you could become discouraged by a lack of progress, while waiting too long gives you too much time to veer off track. 

No. 7: Think process, not results. "Highly successful people understand that the process is more important than the end result," says Blair. If your goal is to save $5,000 by the end of the year, focus on the steps you're taking each month to get there, such as cutting back on that daily Starbucks coffee or increasing your retirement contribution. By doing so, you reprogram your habits. If you can change your behavior, the result will take care of itself. 

No. 8: Make it automatic. You're less likely to break your resolution if you automate it. When Elle Kaplan wanted to increase her savings, "I resolved to start saving at least 20% of my income," she says. Her resolution stuck because, "I made it automatic each paycheck." Using those savings, she started her own investment firm, Lexion Capital Management, with no outside financial support.

No. 9: Get an accountability partner. It's good to have someone around to help you stay committed to your goals, but if you're trying to improve your financial life, it’s important that you enlist someone who is good with money. Find a friend who is living debt-free or who has a healthy savings account and ask him or her to guide you. You can also seek professional help, such as a coach, money therapist or financial adviser, Cutts suggests. Finally, tell your accountability partner what you expect. For example, if you want weekly check-in calls, say so. 

No. 10: Don't forget rewards. When you have small successes along the way, give yourself a pat on the back. "Reward yourself with something that will not take away from your goal," Cutts says. While it's probably not wise to spend your newfound savings on a trip to the Bahamas, "you can find something inexpensive and enjoyable to celebrate your success," Cutts says.

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