Force India was generally a points contender in 2012, but whereas fellow upper midfielders Williams and Sauber got a win and podiums respectively, di Resta's squad never reached such heights.
Asked how important a 2013 podium was to him, di Resta replied: "It's the next thing on my list of achievements. We came very close in Singapore.
"It's not a secret that that would probably be the biggest target I've got this year, to get on the podium.
"After that, we will set goals of what we think is realistic for where our car is but I expect to be racing the likes of Sauber and Williams.
"The likes of Mercedes, who we were racing at the end of last year, they have moved up a step by the looks of it but never say never."
Di Resta also wants to improve his consistency this season, though he believes the adaptability of the car will be as important in that as his own performance.
"Consistency is probably one of the things I want to work on," he said.
"That's equally the way we have built the car. When we got the car in an operating window that is proper, it gets big results.
"If we can achieve that [window on] more weekends, we can do that.
"I want to keep plugging away and keep coming away from each weekend saying we achieved everything we could have, or very close to it.
"It comes down to taking every opportunity, because sixth, seventh place is an excellent result for this team and when you can get those, certainly if you can get a few in a row, it has a huge impact on the points tally."