Before I met my husband through an online dating site, I did some crazy things to find love. At one point, a feng shui consultant instructed me to put red lingerie under my mattress to incite passion in my bedroom. On another occasion, a palm reader told me that I needed to take myself out on dates every week. It went well until, like a jealous lover, I started to question where I'd been every night -- and just who were all these guys whose phone numbers showing up on my caller ID? I was beginning to go stir crazy.
I finally realized that these mystical activities were just a way to deflect my own feelings of vulnerability. If I visited all the bookstores in the city because a psychic told me that was where I was destined to meet THE ONE and he didn't appear, I doubted the psychic's reliability or figured I had experienced a disruption in the magic of the universe. However, if I acknowledged the possibility of rejection head-on and put myself out there as the single girl who was looking for love and still failed, well, then the root of my singlehood was about me and I might be the one doing something "wrong" after all.
Luckily, your dating life is more within your control than you think. Here are nine steps that you can take to improve your chances at being lucky in love this year:
1. Self-Love - Deepak Chopra said, "The secret of attraction is to love yourself." How many times have you heard that "like attracts like? Singles often come to me at a point when they are burned out, desperate, stressed and feeling pressure to meet a mate or seeking a date to make them feel better about themselves, but it's only after you adopt an attitude of self-love and self-confidence that you'll become attractive to others.
2. Choose Gratitude - Be grateful for what you have rather than focusing on what is outside your grasp. This will keep you in a more positive state of mind. I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home) to keep a gratitude journal. It literally changed my life. Just taking a moment to have even one grateful thought each day can shift your mindset.
3. Make the Time - One of the hardest concepts for my clients to grasp is making the time for your partner before they arrive. Set aside an hour or two a week to do only date-related activities: going to that mixer, saying yes to a blind date, winking at profiles you like. If you usually work or socialize instead of taking "date time," you might be used to hearing that mates feel that you are too busy for them.
4. Leave No Stone Unturned - If you haven't tried online dating yet, what are you waiting for? If you're afraid of an online dating site, at least embrace social discovery sites that can help you make a dating connection. For example, Mirror.co. The site was started by Dan Mattio, who met his wife online but was frustrated with the anonymity of most dating sites. He built Mirror to have functions other than dating and profiles based on your real identity. No shame or stigma. No excuses.
5. Give Nice Guys A Chance - Before meeting my husband, my head was always turned by a free-spirited musician-type with unkempt hair and tattoos. It turns out those guys don't always make great husbands, so I made a resolution that I called, "Operation Date Nice Guys." Not only do nice guys make great husbands, but they also make great dads. So if that's in your plans, think ahead -- those dirty diapers don't change themselves.
6. Enrich Yourself - Knowledge is always sexy. Whether it's getting up to speed on current events or familiarizing yourself with Baroque music, spend some time this year feeding your brain and your dates will become infinitely more interesting.
7. Volunteer - First, It feels good to do things for others and second, if you share interest in the same cause, you're likely to share similar values, which are a bigger predictor of long-term compatibility than physical attraction or similar interests.
8. Get a Dog - When you're responsible for another life, it prepares you for what it's like to have to compromise with a partner and be sensitive to someone else's needs. Also, the unconditional love that you receive from a pet can help you through the highs and lows of the dating roller coaster.
9. Ask for Help - Don't assume that if your friends knew someone right for you, they'd set you up. They have their own lives to worry about and they're not spending every waking moment playing matchmaker for you. Tell them who you're looking for and specifically ask them to make some introductions.
This year, rather than waiting for Lady Luck to find you a perfect match, you can take matters into your own hands... or you can follow the old wives' tale and sleep with a mirror under your pillow to dream about what your future husband looks like. Just be careful though, if you break that mirror, you'll get seven years bad luck.