Happy first day of fall! Time to finish up all your New Year Resolutions!
Was 2011 the year all your romantic dreams came true? Or do you look back on the year with regret? Was it full of exciting, intelligent men or missed opportunities? Laughter and genuine connections or awkward situations? Dates that make you cringe even now?
Maybe you were too busy to really get out there. Too stressed out by deadlines to even think about dating. Perhaps your kids took your full attention. Maybe a few bad dates crushed your enthusiasm, making you wonder if any good men were even out there. You might have started to question, “Is it worth it? Am I worth it?”
You started the year with such hope. But then life got in the way.
Maybe you promised yourself you’d update your online portfolio next week. Next month, you’d spend more time getting out there and meeting men. After this project is done, after your parents go back home, after the kids are back in school, . . . And suddenly it was November, and you realized that another holiday season alone loomed ahead.
Even then, the fear and dread fueled more reasons to put off finding intimacy. Instead of dating more and finding someone to share the season, you steeled yourself for going alone to the parties and dinners and family gatherings. You decided to throw yourself into cooking or decorating or volunteering. You devoted your time and energy to buying gifts or getting caught up on work so you could celebrate without stressing out. If you can just keep busy enough, you won’t think about being alone. You can worry about dating next year. Next year will be different.
But will it? If you could go back in time and tell yourself to do things differently last year, what would you say? More important, would you listen?
Putting off love can become a habit. And every year, that habit just gets harder to break. Trust me: I know.
Life will always get in the way if you let it. You aren’t going to get any less busy. Your family and friends will always take your time, energy, and attention. Your career is likely to get more challenging, not less.
The irony is, we let our everyday challenges keep us from finding someone special when having someone special to support and inspire us is the best way to face and excel at these challenges.
You know what the Ghost of New Years’ Past would have to tell you about your love life, but what about the Ghost of New Years’ Future? Will she tell you that next year, you found someone? Or will she show you another year of doing the same thing over and over with the same dismal results?
When she takes you several years into the future, will you be snuggling at home and sharing stories and laughter with a man who makes you feel ageless, or will you be old and alone, counting the days between visits from your grandchildren and calling customer service departments just to have someone to talk to?
I know that sounds harsh, but this happens to women all the time. Women just like you who are vibrant, intelligent, successful, and full of life. We all think we won’t end up like that. We’ll do something before it happens, right? But it doesn’t happen suddenly, all at once, giving us a chance to wake up and turn our lives around. It sneaks up on us gradually—with every date we turn down, every excuse we make, every year we make a resolution without putting a plan in place to help us follow through.
Yes, a plan. Love rarely just happens. By now, deep down, you know this is true. Putting off love, just like any other form of procrastination, occurs because we don’t have a plan to keep us on track. We make a resolution and ride the excitement at first, but it doesn’t last. We fall back into our patterns. One setback is enough to bring the old doubts back again. We get busy, tired, fearful.
A plan will keep you motivated and give you tools for overcoming the challenges you will face in dating. A plan keeps your dating life fresh, offering you new ideas to try that will give you confidence and more meaningful dates, which in turn will give you even more confidence and make your dates even more amazing.
We all procrastinate, especially when it comes to what matters most. Most of us imagine our future self will somehow be braver, more attractive, thinner, more energetic, more interesting, and just better at dating. So we make resolutions based on this belief that tomorrow or the next day, we’ll just up and be different.
But people who are successful in life and in love know better. They know they’ll be busy and tired and anxious tomorrow just as they are today. So they plan their dreams based on this reality. They figure out what to do to stay motivated. They put systems in place that will prevent them from making excuses. They seek help and support to hold them accountable, to encourage them, and to provide them with new ideas and tools to try. They make plans based on who they are right now, not based on who they hope to be or who they think they should be.
This upcoming New Year’s Day, make more than just a resolution. Get help putting a plan in place to turn your dating life around. Make 2012 (or the rest of 2011) the year you find love. At this time next year, when you’re enjoying your first holiday season with a man who is more than you ever dreamed, may you have only one regret—that you didn’t do it sooner.
Email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask me questions so I can help you in this area.
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