The New Year is traditionally a time to self-evaluate and recommit to good habits. Why not commit to the health of your love life at the same time?
Ah, the New Year. It reeks of opportunity, doesn't it? This year, I'll get in shape. I'll call Mom more. I'll actually take a vacation. And what are you planning to do this year about finding the love you want?
If a relationship's on your list of things to do in 2009, then check out these resolutions for some inspiration to craft your own.
Resolution #1: Start living in the future
"Stop basing the potential relationship of your future to your relationships of the past," says Carole Brody Fleet, author of Widows Wear Stilettos. "We have all suffered our fair share of losers, liars, dimwits and so on. So laugh and let them go. Open your mind to the possibilities of your future and don't automatically condemn someone new based on your past experiences."
Another good idea: Write the names of those painful exes on strips of paper and burn them on New Year's Eve. It's a powerful and harmless gesture that can help you start 2009 with a clean slate.
Resolution #2: End unhealthy relationships
If you're too emotionally drained from hanging out with toxic friends, or mired in a relationship that's going nowhere, resolve to get out. That's the plan for Charlotte Millot of Gotham, N.Y. "I have resolved to end any relationships that are not healthy, supportive, or functional," she says.
She also resolves to stop looking. What? "The relationships that have been the most meaningful were not found," she explains. "They happened. I tend to be living life, enjoying myself, then one day I was hit over the head by someone I simply had to be with, who had to be with me. Our hearts do the dance and take it from there."
Resolution #3: Get back in the game
Seems obvious, but it bears repeating. If you're suffering from a broken heart, the best way to mend it is to get out there and date. That's what MaryAnn Lowry is doing — after the end of her 31-year marriage. "I had my last official date in 1975. I never forgot how to ride a bike, so using hypothetical reasoning, it can be assumed that I didn't forget how to behave on a date and earn a nice kiss on the lips by the end of the evening."
Resolution #4: Go out more
You're not going to meet your dream date sitting at home — cute mail carriers and pizza-delivery people aside. So go where the boys and girls are. "I'm resolving to go out with my friends during the week more, so we can maybe meet some people we wouldn't see out on the weekend," says Davie Alexander of Chicago.
Another good idea: Sign up for online dating and get networked with millions of other single people you wouldn't otherwise meet. Yet another: Go out and sit at a bar or cafe. The bartender or barista will keep you company and, if you ask, might introduce you to other single patrons. One more: Join a friendly local sports league or sign up for a volunteer activity.
Resolution #5: Ditch the bad self-talk and deadline pressure
If this isn't your first time ringing in the New Year single, you might be getting a little panicky about finding love. "It's so easy to feed into these self-destructive patterns, but it affords us an opportunity for self-reflection, introspection and getting in touch with ourselves in a real way," says Doree Lewak, author of The Panic Years.
"Give yourself a break and ease up on yourself. It's bad enough when we have to contend with external pressures — to marry, to bring that special someone home to Mom and Dad for the holidays — but to add internal pressure is downright cruel. The less we think (and obsess) about our marriage timeline, the more we'll let our relationships breathe naturally. And only then can we enable ourselves and our relationships to progress in a real way."
Now that you've read these resolutions, it's time to make some of your own. Do it now and get ready for love in 2009.