With 2014 quickly drawing to a close, the final days of the year are often spent reflecting on the highs and lows of the past year, admonishing ourselves for where we fell short of our best laid plans, and then dusting ourselves off and committing to a new set of goals for the year ahead. But the sad truth is, in spite of our resolve to do better in 2015, many of us will again fail to keep those well-intentioned resolutions. We fail to recognize how to get what we want in love and life.
As much as we may want things to be different in our lives – more fulfilling relationships, better paying jobs, more fun, or a healthier body – we struggle to make the changes necessary to reach our goals.
So why is it so hard to stick to a plan and effect real change in our lives?
- We don’t really like change - Let’s be honest. Change is hard, often uncomfortable, and downright scary at times. As much as we might dislike where we are – stuck in a dead-end relationship, going to a job every day that we hate, or looking in the mirror and not liking what we see – it’s often easier to do nothing or continue doing what we’ve always done. Avoiding change means we don’t have to give up anything (or anyone), we don’t have to try something new, and we don’t have to venture into that scary place of the unknown.
- We get stuck in what I call rear-view mirror living - Haunted by the mistakes and losses of our past, we are unable to let go and move forward with our lives. We keep looking back, trying to figure out what went wrong or why things didn’t turn out the way we had hoped. We remain so focused on past hurts or disappointments that we are unable to envision, or even believe in, a different future. So we keep thinking about the guy that got away, rehashing what we should have done differently, or we shutdown altogether – locked in guilt, sadness, or anger over our past.
- We don’t like to fail - In fact, research on human behavior finds that we actually hate failing more than we enjoy winning. In our minds, the risk of not getting what we want looms larger than any possibility of being better off. Those “What if” fears of losing can actually prevent us from doing what’s needed to win. What if we change and then find ourselves worse off? Or, what if we end a relationship and don’t meet someone new? So we rationalize that it’s not worth the risk – we may not be happy, but at least we’re not alone.
- Old habits are hard to break - Inevitably, we’ll slip up or have a setback on the road to change. When we do, we’re great at talking ourselves out of sticking with our plan. Most of us are better at coming up with a list of reasons to quit than reasons to stay the course. We get lonely one night and call or text our ex and suddenly we’re sucked back in – telling ourselves we were never really good enough to attract someone better anyway.
Tips to Get What You Want in Love and Life
- Create a vision of the life you want - In order to effect real change, you have to figure out what it is you truly want and make a list of the reasons why it’s important to you. Paint a vision of that life that is so clear and strong that it blurs everything else. The goal is to make the rewards of getting all that you desire greater than the risk you associate with potential failure. Then every time you waiver, get discouraged, or suffer a setback, you can pull out your list and recommit to all the reasons why it’s worth staying the course. If love is the thing you desire, then make sure you checkout my book Is He a Keeper?: Savvy Gal Secrets to Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right. It will give you the advice, tips and step by step plans to effect real change in your love life.
- Embrace change with optimism – Sure it can be hard, uncomfortable, or scary. But, the biggest mistake you can make in life, and I know because I’ve been there, is to keep doing what you’ve always done – which may be nothing – and hope that the universe will somehow deliver to you a different outcome. While a little bit of divine intervention is always welcome, we have to be willing to do our part. Real change requires action on your part. When it comes to love, sometimes you have to go through the acute pain of a breakup in order to end the chronic pain of a doomed relationship. No pain; no gain!
- Create a written plan to get you where you want to be – Break it down into manageable steps that create small wins along the way. It takes time and determination to effect real change so don’t expect a miracle overnight or beat yourself up if you slip up. The key is to not get discouraged and quit.
- Don’t let your past dictate your future - What’s happened in the past is past; stop looking in the rear-view mirror. You’re starting fresh today from where you are now and charting a new course to the life you desire.
- Model someone you know who’s successful. Having a role model or mentor gives you a pattern to follow and helps you keep your eye on the prize. When you see them living the kind of life you desire, it can really inspire you to stay committed to your goals.
Commit to making 2015 your year of change. It’s all up to YOU!
- Choose the life you want to live; no one else can give you what you want
- The only person you can change is YOU
- You are the master of your own destiny; the status-quo is no longer an option
- Refuse to let fear of failure stop you or setbacks derail your resolve
I assure you that if you’re willing to commit to making even small, incremental changes towards the life you want and stick with them, you’ll be amazed at how much better and more in control of your life you will feel. You have the power to make 2105 your best year ever!
Ten key Dos and Don’ts of dating during the holidays from IsHeaKeeper.com
The holidays can be a great time to be single and part of the dating scene – spending quality time with friends, getting oohs and aahs over your favorite party dress, and even the prospect of sharing family traditions for the first time with someone special. But knowing how to survive the dating scene during the holidays can be tough.
With all the cheer can come a lot of stress and angst if you’re single and unattached or newly dating and trying to figure out how to best navigate all the demands and expectations of the season, like:
- What to say to your nosy aunt who is always asking personal questions about your love life, or lack thereof?
- Should you buy him a gift or not, and if so, what kind?
- How to handle meeting family for the first time?
- Are the holidays for couples, and if so, am I expected to bring a date?
- Is it unreasonable to expect him to finally pop the question?
- Why is he suddenly making himself scarce now that the holidays are almost here?
I feel your pain! And please know that a lot of other gals and guys do too. With roughly 40% of the adult workforce declaring themselves as “single,” you have a lot of company.
10 DOs and DON’Ts to Survive the Dating Scene During the Holidays
So to help relieve some of the pressure, I’ve put together ten key Dos and Don’ts of dating during the holidays that address the top issues I hear from singles about this time of year. Checkout my list in the feature article I did for DigitalRomance here.
Most importantly, stay focused on the true meaning of the holiday season and don’t put undue pressure on yourself or your relationship. Remember to live smart and remain savvy in love.
P.S. Now is the time to jumpstart your love life in 2015, so treat yourself to an early Christmas present by purchasing a copy of my book Is He a Keeper: Savvy Gal Secrets to Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right on Amazon. Don’t have a Kindle? No problem! Amazon has free apps that let you read it on an iPad, Nook, or even on your computer.
Also, if you have any burning questions you would like me to address, as always you can send me a message here.
While many are wearing pink this month in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, October is also the month for shedding light on another life-threatening problem affecting women – Domestic Violence. We may not like to talk about it, but the shocking statistics tell us we had better start!
- In the U.S. a woman is beaten every 7.4 seconds.
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
- Females age 20-24 are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
- Intimate partner violent in teenage relationships is a real problem.
Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
We need to talk about it with our daughters, our sisters, our girlfriends, and even our sons. Domestic violence occurs in all communities and does not discriminate by age, economic status, race, religion, or educational background. Violence is often a learned behavior – learned from witnessing the abusive actions of a parent or other authority figure. Those who witness such behavior are more likely to perpetuate the violence by either becoming an abuser themselves or ending up a victim of abuse. In fact boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children.
Learn and Share the Truth About Domestic Violence and Abuse:
There are always warning signs since abuse is typically a cycle of increasing violence. Experts report that physical abuse during courtship is a guarantee of later abuse. A smack one day leads to a beating in the future. A repeated threat today could easily be carried out tomorrow. Don’t ignore warning signs.
- Abusers often plead regret or apologize for their behavior and then swear it will never happen again. But there is almost always a next time. Never allow yourself to be victimized a second time.
- Abuse doesn’t have to be physical. Tactics such as emotional, sexual, and economic abuse are frequently used to obtain and maintain control of the victim. Put-downs, head games, shifting blame, and name calling are meant to lower self-esteem. Verbal threats, displaying weapons, and acts of destruction involving property, objects, or pets are frequently used to intimidate. Abusers often use Isolation from family and friends, revoking of “privileges”, and withholding money to keep their victim dependent upon them. Don’t minimize the impact non-physical abuse can have.
- Abusers often make excuses for their actions or try to shift the blame to the victim. Abuse is never the fault of the victim and it’s never justifiable. It’s important to understand that your actions cannot prevent further abuse if you choose to stay in the relationship. Nor can you change or fix an abuser by staying.
- Teenage girls are often less likely to recognize the actions of a boyfriend as being abusive and less likely to tell anyone or admit to the behavior – being too embarrassed or afraid. It’s important to have an open dialogue with your children about the risks and reality of abuse.
Choose to Stop the Abuse:
Learn to recognize the warning signs and break it off before things escalate.
- Never be too afraid or embarrassed to share your situation with a trusted friend, relative, or a licensed professional. Loved ones and friends want to help.
- While there can be many obstacles, including fear, holding a woman captive to a violent or abusive relationship, no woman should have to live with abuse or risk dying at the hands of a violent partner. The key is to know how to get away safely. The best course of action is to seek professional assistance and counseling and to have a well thought-out plan and exit strategy.
Resources for More Information and Assistance:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: http://www.ncadv.org
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474
If finding Mr. Right seems to elude you, it’s possible you may be to blame. You may be doing things that are sabotaging your love life. Below are five common mistakes women make in the pursuit of love. See if any of these hit a little too close to home.
Five Common Mistakes Women Make in the Pursuit of Love
1. Act as though any man caught is worth keeping – You meet a guy and there is a mutual attraction. You start dating and getting to know one another. You don’t really think he’s the one – he doesn’t exactly measure up to the “Mr. Right” you’ve envisioned for yourself or you’ve observed some serious flaws in his character. In spite of your reservations, you continue the relationship. Soon, (for some it’s very soon) you begin a physical relationship. All the while that little voice inside your head is trying to tell you to move on, to let go! So, what’s so terrible about this? At least you have a date on Saturday night, right? The problem is you won’t catch Mr. Right if you’re hanging onto Mr. Wrong. Staying in a relationship with someone you know, down deep, isn’t your Mr. Right is sabotaging your love life and the longer you stay, the harder it will be to walk away.
2. Keep fishing in the same pond or falling for the same Mr. Wrong – There’s a saying that stupidity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. I frequently hear women complain that they’re tired of dating losers and wish they could meet a decent guy. Yet every weekend they return to the same bar or hangout apparently hoping to meet someone new. It doesn’t seem to register that fishing in the same ponds is going to result in catching the same kind of fish. You’re not likely to land a salmon in a pond full of catfish. Or, they chase after the same type of guy who treats them like crap and never commits while continuing to lament over the sorry state of their love lives. They change nothing in their pursuit of love yet desperately want a different result. If you want a different outcome – a Keeper man worth hanging onto – you have to be willing to change your strategy. You have to get out of your comfort zone and try a new approach (and I don’t mean a different bar). Determine what kind of Keeper man you’re looking for – you want a man with common goals, values, and likes – and then pursue things and places that would put you in contact with this type of guy. It could be a church, a club, a class, a volunteer group, or even a different group of friends.
3. Come off as needy – While men may like to feel needed and to know they’re an important part of your life, they can be put off by women who come off as “needy.” Women who bring emotional baggage into a relationship – talking about everything that’s wrong in their lives, bringing up past boyfriends or relationships, appearing insecure or suspicious, or displaying uncontrolled anger, jealousy, or threatening behavior – can send men running. You come off as a woman who doesn’t have her act together and most men don’t want to be a part of “fixing” someone else’s life. Likewise, acting clingy or possessive, calling him all the time or checking up on him, or looking for constant reassurance of a guy’s feelings can feel threatening to men, especially those who like their space or fear a loss of control. As you pursue him, he begins to distance himself. If you want a man to pursue you instead, then work on building a strong sense of self. Men are attracted to self-confidence and women who have a life outside of a love relationship. In my soon to be released book: Is He a Keeper?: Savvy Gal Secrets to Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right, I give helpful tips on how to build a strong personal foundation and become a confident woman able to attract Keeper men like a magnet.
4. Let physical chemistry be the deciding factor – It’s true that good physical chemistry is critical to relationship compatibility, but some women make the mistake of ignoring everything else. Sure it feels so good, but the heightened physical attraction you experience early on in a relationship can mask areas of incompatibility. This can spell trouble down the road, especially when it involves what you value most – your core values. For example, you see spending time with family as very important, but he’d rather stay home or go play golf. The chemistry is so great between you so you just put up with his lack of family involvement. Then, over time, as the attraction and sexual desire diminish, which is only natural, the sharp edges of your differences become more apparent and begin to cut at the relationship like a knife. Now this point of contention becomes the crux of your battles and you wonder what you ever saw in him! A healthy relationship requires compatibility in all aspects – mental, emotional, as well as physical – and especially in your core values.
5. Chase after the non-committal man – He’s had more exes than a season of The Bachelor yet women continue to fall for him. Each one hoping that she’ll be the one to win his heart and get him to settle down. For some women, it’s like big game fishing. They’re attracted to the thrill of the chase and the desire to be the one to finally land the trophy catch. Others try to convince themselves that he simply hasn’t met the right woman yet and you just might be her! In either case, you’re wasting a lot of precious time you could be spending with a true Keeper, trying to hook a man who has no intention of being caught. The commitment to forsake all others and to love and honor through good times as well as bad for “as long as you both shall live” is too much to ask of the unavailable man. Even if you manage to threaten or “trap” him into marriage, he isn’t likely to ever truly commit to the relationship. So, take a cue from his past. There’s a reason he’s still single or never stays married and you aren’t likely to change that.
It can take a lot of Mr. Wrongs to find your Mr. Right. But a string of breakups or disappointing relationships can leave anyone feeling discouraged or even a little panicky. What if Mr. Right never comes along? Is there something wrong with me? Have I been too picky?
A kind of desperation can set in from the fear we might end up alone or the nagging sound of that biological clock ticking away in our heads. Our fears and anxieties begin to take over our thoughts and drain us of our resolve to hold out for the man of our dreams. Then in walks a guy who clearly isn’t Mr. Right, but in light of all our angst to find love we choose to accept him as our Mr. Right Now. We hedge our bets and hang onto him just in case the real Mr. Right doesn’t show. We overlook his critical flaws – like he drinks too much and lacks ambition– and rationalize that his few redeeming qualities – like his nice looks and good sense of humor – are enough to make the relationship work…for now at least. We aren’t all that happy but we aren’t alone. We convince ourselves that we still have options – we can still walk away if Mr. Right would just show up already!
Then weeks turn into months and sometimes months turn into years and we hardly even recognize the truth that we have “settled.” We have broken the first and most important rule of fishing: You must throw him back if he doesn’t measure up. When we hang onto Mr. Wrong, we’ve let our vulnerabilities dictate our choices and hold us captive to a less than fulfilling relationship.
You won’t hook Mr. Right hanging onto Mr. Wrong. As hard as it may be to let him go, you have to free up your hook in order to catch the man you truly want. Hedging your bets or settling for less than what you truly want in a relationship will only lead to more pain down the road.
I offer many more tips for avoiding the ten common mistakes women make in love in my new book Is He a Keeper?: Savvy Gal Secrets for Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right. Checkout the book here on my website or on Amazon.