Every Monday, I have a ritual, I write a “To Do” list for my work that week. Being a Pisces, I can be scatterbrained (I think I also suffer from Adult ADD) and so making the list forces me to be focused. I do more global goal setting at the beginning of: the year; the summer; and, the fall. It is the way I measure my progress, or lack thereof.

The thing about setting goals is that I also use them to measure whether or not I take on a new project. If it’s in line with my goals, I consider accepting it. If it doesn’t further my goals, I politely decline. In the past, I found myself accepting projects that took me too far off of my path and I ended up regretting them. Now, I have much more intention behind what I will and will not do. It has made all of the difference.

Two weeks ago, I was talking to one of my single sister-friends about dating. She’s a great girl and really doesn’t have a hard time dating. She keeps a man and not just any man, but quality guys who have it together. We, however, share the same dating predicament, “We don’t have a problem finding dates, we have a problem liking them.” With that said, she discussed her frustration with her string of 1-2 month relationships.  

“Have you set your love goals,” I asked? I posed this question knowing that she was very focused and driven professionally. (I got into the practice of writing my “To Do” lists because of her.) She started posting her goals around her desk because I encouraged her to do it. But, we’d never done that for our love goals. And, why not?

“To be honest, I’ve never even thought about doing that,” my sister-friend replied. She was clearly astonished that she’d never done something that seemed so clear and sensible. “Don’t worry, I just thought of that myself,” I added. Being the ‘get it done’ people we are we whipped out some paper and started writing down our goals for love in our lives.

First, we agreed that this was not going to be a laundry list of physical or personality characteristics. We were both pretty clear on our “types.” Instead, we set out to describe the kind of love life we wanted, the way we wanted to feel when we were with our partners, our vision for growing old in love, the amount of attention we required to feel loved and appreciated, the types of conversations we wanted to have on a daily basis with our partners, etc. We aimed to create the most desirable love life for us on paper.

It turned out to be a great and enlightening exercise. An important thing goal setting does for you is to help you to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking to achieve. Once you identify the target, you can then properly identify a strategy to reach that target. More importantly, you can more readily identify things that are not on target.

Then, my sister-friend and I did something that was even more eye opening. Now that we had a clear vision of our love goals, we applied those standards to the people we had dated over the past year. As you can imagine, none of the people we dated had been in line with those goals, which is why it didn’t work out. It also ruled out people we’d just met.

Although we approached this exercise in a fun spirit, it turned out to be cathartic. Ironically, our emotional focus made an evaluation of our recent dating history a lot more matter-of-fact and less emotional. We both agreed to post these new goals somewhere that would allow us to apply these standards when meeting new people. Hopefully, it will weed out some people and cut down on the string of go-nowhere relationships we’d both fallen victim to… I’ll keep you posted.

If you don’t know what you want, beyond the physical and superficial, you may not know when you encounter it or if you have not. Love is not scientific or as sterile as writing lists, but you can use a list to help you focus your spirit on your ultimate target. If you’ve been having difficulties with the people you’re dating, maybe its time for you to sit down and set your love goals!

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