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Go For the Goal

In every other area of my life, I have goals, you probably do too. I have specific actions I’m taking to move forward in my career, things that relate to my finances, my friends, and my family. Why would my love life be any different?

Sure, it’s not quite as straightforward to make goals relating to my dating life. There is so much I can’t control. But I’m learning that, as with most things, I feel better if I do a little planning and brainstorming about my hopes and dreams. Here are some of my goals for dating this upcoming year, and some thoughts about why I chose them.

Last year, I spoke to psychologist Dr. Chris Friesen, author of the book Achieve: Find Out Who You Are, What You Really Want, And How To Make It Happen. He brought up a point that I’d never considered before—how important our unique personalities are to the goals we set. It’s so easy for me to think that I want and need the same sort of things as everyone else, which is a particularly dangerous thing to assume when we’re talking about dating. Why not sit down with yourself and be honest about what has and hasn’t worked with people in the past. Are you happiest with someone who is willing to stay in and read with you on the weekends, or would you prefer someone who wants to party-hop with you? Are there patterns in who you’ve been attracted to? Fights that you’ve often had in a variety of relationships? Sometimes being honest in dialing in what’s really important to you is an important step in finding someone who will be a better fit for you. While I’m of the mind that many personalities can work in relationship with each other, it also seems that some mesh better than others.

On that same note, when I think about my personality, I realize that some of my strategies are off. For example, I’m the type of person who becomes easily emotionally attached to someone quickly. For this reason, if I’m communicating with someone before I meet them, I can develop whole scenarios before I’ve seen anything more than their pictures. When I don’t feel a connection upon meeting them, it’s much more crushing because I’ve already gotten excited. Knowing this about myself, it makes sense to set a goal to meet people quickly, to avoid this pitfall. Maybe you’re like me, or perhaps you appreciate more time to get to know someone before you meet in person. Either way, knowing yourself better will help you to be clearer about how you want things to go.

We all know that you can’t control anyone other than yourself by now, which makes certain types of dating goals tough. A writer friend of mine once told me that if you base your success on something you can’t control, you’ll always be a failure. I can’t think of a better example of this than in dating. Why not focus on what you can control instead? Think about things you can do, that you can accomplish, rather than more overarching things like getting a certain number of second dates, or meeting the partner of your dreams. Maybe your goal is about reaching out to a certain number of people, or even just checking in to see who’s new a certain amount. Maybe this is the year you’re going to ask friends to set you up. Whatever your goal, make sure that it’s specific and measurable, something you can give yourself a gold star for when it’s done.

While you’re at it, why not make some goals that are just about you? While your relationships with others are important, it’s just as important to nurture the person who goes with you everywhere. You have a unique ability to know what you need from the inside. Why make a few goals to be good to yourself?

Don’t forget to check in as the year goes on to see how you’re doing with your goals. Maybe some of them aren’t working for you and they need to change. Maybe you’ve learned more about yourself and you want to add something into the mix. Don’t be so attached to your goals that you can’t listen to what actually works for your life.

As you meet your own goals, I’ll just bet you feel a sense of accomplishment. Give yourself a high five — you totally rock! And when you don’t meet your own standards, give yourself a big heaping portion of grace. You’re human, you’re doing your best, you’ll try again tomorrow.

Cara Strickland writes about food and drink, mental health, faith and being single from her home in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys hot tea, good wine, and deep conversations. She will always want to play with your dog. Connect with her on Twitter @anxiouscook.