With a new year comes an easy opportunity to hit reset in the areas of your life you want to approve and assess your goals. If finding love this year is at the top of your to-do list, there are plenty of little things you can start doing right now to can make that happen.
David Strah, licensed psychotherapist and author, tells Bustle you can start by developing a plan with the overall goal of getting into a relationship this year. Then, identify the small steps you can take on a weekly basis to help you get there. For instance, do you need to try a new dating app out? Change up the pictures or bio of your profiles? Ask friends to set you up? Maybe you want to work on being more confident and assertive when you meet people in person.
“Put your plan on paper and review it with your accountability partner and other close friends for their ideas,” Strah tells Bustle.
As is the case with any goal, finding love can take practice. Below, you’ll find some expert-approved tips — from scrapping your checklists to being more present in your day-to-day — on how to find a relationship in the new year.
1. Take Care Of Yourself First
It’s easier to be open and emotionally available to love when you feel like you’re in a good place.
“You attract what you are, not what you want,” millennial dating coach, Elsa Moreck, tells Bustle. “So if you want to find a partner who fits your high standards (and you deserve that) then you need to make sure you meet those standards yourself first.” The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to find a partner who matches that energy.
“Keep challenging yourself to evolve every day, and you’ll never have to settle again,” Moreck says.
2. Be Active On & Offline
Dating can take some time to get right, so it’s important to practice. Moreck suggests being active on dating apps or social media, and also offline by attending community events that pique your interest.
That doesn’t mean you have to spread yourself too thin, Moreck says. “But by staying open to meeting people in different ways, you diversify your dating strategy and increase your odds at meeting the right person for you.” At the very least, you can make some new friends.
3. Emotionally Cut Ties With People From The Past
Take a few minutes each day to visualize yourself in the relationship that you want. What does that relationship look like? How does your relationship make you feel? Then, think about the people that you might still be holding on to and decide if they’ll be able to give you the relationship that you actually want. If not, don’t be afraid to cut ties with them.
As Justine Carino, licensed mental health counselor who specializes in relationship issues, tells Bustle, “I’ve seen people settle because they wanted a relationship more than they have actually wanted that specific person.” Why wait for someone who may or may not give you what you want?
4. Scrap The Lists
While it’s good to have an idea of what you’re looking for, Ashley Campana, a matchmaker with Lisa Clampitt Matchmaking, tells Bustle, you might benefit more from tossing out any checklists you have of what you want in a partner or in a relationship.
“We never truly know what kind of package our next relationship is going to come in,” Campana says. “Keeping a checklist of the things you need in a partner is not being ‘picky’ or ‘getting what you deserve’ — it’s limiting.” Instead, it’s important to know your core values and relationship goals. If there’s chemistry, be open to the possibilities.
5. Make Saying “Yes” Your Default
There are a million and one different reasons to say no to date — you’re too busy, you have no friends in common, etc. According to Campana, it’s always easier to say no without thinking about it than it is to say yes. “But if we turned that idea on its head and made ‘yes’ the default instead of ‘no,’ we’d open ourselves up to more possibilities,” she says.
6. Find Ways To Get More Exposure
Campana says there are ways to incorporate meeting people into the things you’re already doing. If you work from home every day, pick one or two days out of your week to work at a coffee shop or another public place instead. If you usually run a treadmill in your apartment building, join a gym or a running club so you can meet people who have a similar hobby. Making these small changes to your everyday routine can help you maximize your chances of meeting someone new this year.
7. Be Present In Your Everyday Life
“The most solid piece of advice I give all of my clients is to be as present as possible in your life aka practice mindfulness in each moment,” Amanda Stemen, licensed therapist and owner of FUNdaMENTALGrowth, tells Bustle. By practicing mindfulness, you’ll be so in the moment living your life to worry about things you can’t control.
Stemen says this isn’t always easy when you’re dating. “Yet, by being present we create the space needed to deeply connect with yourself and others around you, which is absolutely necessary to finding love,” Stemen says.
8. Maintain A Positive Attitude To Finding Love
Don’t let what happened in the past get in the way of your future.
“Maintaining a positive, hopeful attitude when finding love is everything,” Kara Laricks, LGBTQ date coach and matchmaker at Three Day Rule, tells Bustle. “A negative or defeatist attitude comes through on dates and in daily interactions, turning the ‘this is never going to happen for me’ fear into a reality.” It’s important to flip your internal script. Instead of thinking “This is never going to happen, I should just give up,” replace that with, “My person is right around the corner and I’m excited to meet them!”
Laricks suggests practicing this in front of the mirror to see how your face changes. You’ll notice your smile, posture, and the look in your eyes change as you shift your words from negative to positive.
If your goal is to find love this year, it may require putting in more work than you’re used to in the past. But if you come out of it with a healthy relationship, it’ll be well worth the effort.
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