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Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

Life Goals Can Enhance Dating

When people look for partners, ads often appear as though expectations are so high and specific that it’s apparent there is no one in the universe that will match the criterion. As a result, meeting someone for coffee can be more daunting than a job interview.

The underlying basic seems to point to the fact that while many people think they know what they are looking for, the reality is that they don’t. This, in part, could be due to the fact that they don’t really know themselves. How can a person expect to attract someone in their life (for whatever amount of time) if they don’t even know themselves? Having a satisfying relationship then becomes next to impossible.


If you’re worn out from “the dating scene” and find yourself spinning your wheels going from date to date to either find a relationship, “the one,” or just aren’t meeting the types of people you want in your life, why not try spending some time cultivating who you are by balancing your life? A great way to begin to discover yourself is with goal setting.

A very simple way of starting the process of goal setting can be accomplished by asking yourself "Who am I?" Write out a short biographical sketch of your life. You’d be surprised what you can find out about yourself; things that you’ve forgotten about can help trigger what kind of people you want to have in your life. Knowing who you are is essential to knowing whom you want to be with.

Once you’ve written out your sketch, ask yourself: "What do I want to get out of my life?” If it’s too difficult to distill that, try reading a book about goal setting such as: The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals by Keith Ellis, or using one of the many goal-setting programs available, some of which are showcased at this goal setting guide.

The more in-depth you go with goal-setting, the better you will be able to determine the types of people you want in your life. Further questions to ask yourself: “What would I like my life to look like a year from now? Or better yet, in five years?" "What would I like to have accomplished? What do I want my loved ones to know?" Then develop steps to achieve those goals.

Once that aspect is complete, assess your work situation. Most of us spend more waking hours working than anything else. Therefore, it’s essential that we enjoy the work that we do, have an outlet to pursue the work we’d rather be doing and a plan to do it full time. If you find that your work is not fulfilling, you may need to develop a plan to begin either determining what work will fulfill you, or to begin the type of work you’d rather be doing.

If you’re not satisfied with work, but don’t know what you’d rather be doing, realize that you have a lot of talents and skills from which you can determine a new career. An exercise developed by Dick Bolles, the author of What Color is Your Parachute? may be helpful. Imagine writing to a close friend whom you haven't seen in a number of years. You are now living your ideal life. Describe what it is like, and what are you doing. Be as specific as possible with respect to professional, personal, spiritual, physical, social, and financial aspects.

Another exercise that could be helpful is from Barbara Sher's book, Wishcraft. Describe an ideal day, where you are when you wake up, with whom and when. How does your day begin? What exactly do you do? Without giving yourself a job title, describe in detail exactly what you are doing. Another book to help with this process is Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain, for which a workbook is also available.

Once you have described your ideal life, then it's time to do some planning. Write out a time-line, going back from the achievement of the goal to where you are now. Break goals down to small, measurable steps. What steps are necessary to achieve each step? How can you begin networking with people who have accomplished what you wish to accomplish?

There are generally four critical steps to success in achieving goals:

1. Establishing goals with time frames
2. Finding ongoing and focused support to achieve goals
3. Monitoring progress; and
4. Addressing the obstacles to achieving goals

For most people, goal setting is easy; putting it into action is more difficult. If you begin by articulating an easy, simple plan detailing what you want to accomplish the first month or year, the plan can be adapted as you learn more about yourself and your goals. After setting initial goals, try establishing yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. The key is to make each step a small and achievable building block.

One of the biggest factors that differentiate those who achieve their goals from those who do not is the extent to which ongoing, focused, support is available. This is where having the types of people in your life who support your goals is crucial to achieving them.

Focused support can include friends, family, mentors and life partners. It can entail meeting weekly to provide support and brainstorm for solutions to challenges or actually joining groups that have similar interests with predetermined dates and times. Sometimes, initially, there can be advantages to affiliating with members of a group who did not know each other previously. People you don’t know are more likely not to accept excuses!

Having life goals can help find new friends. An added bonus to getting your life on track with goals is that while working to accomplish them, you can meet extraordinary people who may become friends or much, much more! History dictates that the very best romantic relationships are developed through friendships first. And, for many of us, isn’t that the real motivation to dating in the first place?

Susan S. Davis is a published book author and writer, currently doing research for a romantic screenplay she is writing. Her Dating From The Inside Out column is published every Tuesday.

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