The arrival of November marks the start of the holiday season. It’s also the time when singles like to complain about how terrible it is to be unattached during these weeks of holiday cheer. Here’s a better idea: Use the next two months to get ready for the time when it’s actually great to be single. That would be the beginning of the new year, when memberships at online dating sites surge with people who are making the search for love a priority.
I challenge you to spend the next 60 or so days getting yourself in top physical and mental shape to ride the New Year’s rush. Why two months? Research shows that it takes people 66 days on average to form a new habit. You can reasonably lose 10 pounds in two months (even with a holiday treat or two). That’s also about the amount of time you have to invest in a new weight-training routine to admire new muscle tone.
Here are 10 ways you can get ready for love:
1) Feel good in your body
Some people want to lose weight or achieve more muscle tone. Maybe your challenge is to stop riding the dieting rollercoaster altogether and eat more in balance with your body. Do you want to eat less sugar or fewer processed foods? Whatever your goals, do what you need to do to feel good in your body. Show up at your January dates rocking an energetic glow.
2) Be able to do your favorite activities
Remember when you wrote that you love hiking and Sunday bike rides? Umm … Now is a good time to make sure you can actually do them. You don’t want to be left huffing and puffing on a three-mile hike. Start building up your endurance now.
3) Get mentally tough
Learn to meditate. Join a prayer group. Start a gratitude journal (or go over all the goodness in your day in your head before dozing off). Not only will these practices help keep you sane during the hectic holidays, you’ll be able to approach dating feeling centered and calm.
4) Finish those weekend projects
Imagine having your weekends free to date. That means crossing off all the half-done projects on your list. (Or shelving them for good!) Clean your garage. Sort your closet. Organize your photos. Finish that family tree. This might be easier said than done during the busy holidays. But pare down your giant to-do list so it’s not always hanging over your head.
5) Get your finances in shape
Whether you wanted to research investing strategies, learn how to pay off your credit card debt or call your cell phone carrier to see if you can get a cheaper deal, spend an afternoon or evening catching up on your financial goals. Also, figure out how much you want to spend towards dating and make a solid budget.
6) Make your social plans
In addition to going full-steam ahead with online dating, you’ll want to make sure you’ve rounded out your social schedule. Spend time now looking up winter sports leagues or Meetups. Once the winter doldrums set in, you’ll be prepared with a list of fun things to do – and suggest as dates!
7) Make your dating lists
Maybe you checked off your “must haves” and “can’t stands” a while ago. Do you know exactly what’s important to you in a future partner? Write it down. This is also a good time to clarify what you have to offer your partner.
8) Finish the past
I’m talking about grieving your exes and really making room in your heart for love. I know this is easier said than done. Emotions don’t work in tidy 60-day increments. But do whatever you can to help the process along. Disconnect them from social media. Write a farewell letter and burn it at the beach or in a pile of fall leaves. Or have one last conversation to clarify that you’re truly finished so you can move on for real.
9) Look snazzy
Don’t blow your clothing budget on ugly holiday sweaters. Keep an eye out for clothing and accessories you’ll look good in after the holidays. Ask for certain items as presents.
10) Upgrade your profile
Take some holiday-themed photos to add to your profile. Review your essays. Your profile is the best marketing tool you have. You wouldn’t apply for a job with a bare-bones resume. Spend time now to make yours sparkle. You also can use the time to ask others to give you helpful feedback.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until the new year to find love. Any of these steps are helpful in putting you in the right frame of mind now. Just imagine if you could feel that in charge of your dating life all year round.
What do you do to get ready to date?
About the Author:
Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate, and Salon.