Oh, those wish lists from holidays past!
Your desires weren’t all granted — hey, nice try on the moon trip, sport! — but somehow, just jotting down the list made it seem like your dreams would all come true.
When it comes to looking for love during the holidays — and year-round, for that matter — we could all learn a lesson from our inner child.
When’s the last time you made a wish list of what you’re looking for in another person? In all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to lose focus. But the cool thing about identifying your wishes and needs is that the minute you do, you’ll start to instinctively move toward that goal. So put down that to-do list you’ve compiled for your brother’s holiday party and get started on your “Love List.” Here’s how:
1. Loosen up. It might take you a while to warm up to the idea of putting down your romantic needs in a list (it seemed weird to us at first, too!) When you’re getting started, just remember that this list is for you — only you. Don’t worry about your spelling or writing skills (your third grade teacher won’t be grading you). Write short sentences or long — whatever feels most natural.
Example: Likes to hike, enjoys outdoor music festivals.
2. Brainstorm. When you think of what you want from a partner, what is literally the first thing that comes to mind? Jot that down. And don’t worry if you thought, “My sweetie has to be smokin’ hot!” — good looks are important to a lot of people, and it doesn’t mean you’re being superficial. Then take it one step further: What else do you want from a partner? Should your date be physically active? Smart and sensitive? Ambitious? Write that down.
Example: I want someone who loves his or her profession.
3. Stay positive. When you’re creating your list, focus on what you do want, not on what you don’t want. It’s easy to start out with the things you hate — “NOT some cheeseball with a fake tan, that’s for sure!” — but a lot harder to express what you are looking for in a mate. That said, framing your priorities positively rather than negatively will automatically put you in an inspired, ready-to-go state of mind.
Example: I want someone who is ready to be in a committed relationship.
4. Be realistic. Don’t think you deserve the best from a relationship? Think again. Everyone deserves the best from love; just make sure you know what you really want. Is it crucial that your fantasy partner drive the latest model BMW — and will that guarantee you romantic happiness? No, and probably not. But consider what you’re really trying to say. Do you want someone who is financially stable? Now, that’s something that is important — and can play a large role in determining future happiness.
Example: I want someone who is responsible and owns his or her own home (or will within the not-too-distant future).
5. Focus on you. The point of this list isn’t just to create a kind of dream mate; in listing the things you hope to find in another person, take time to remember someone else — you! Take a look at your past relationships and think about what worked. Did your ex make you feel like the funniest person alive? Did another former flame teach you how to cook? These are great things to write down when you’re making your “Love List” to ponder. At the end of the day, a relationship isn’t just about the person you meet — it’s about the person you become when you’re together.
Example: I want someone who’s as passionate about me as I am about him or her; someone who makes me smile when we spend time together.
Will you get every item on your wish list? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s important to take time to think carefully about your romantic priorities. When you consider what you really want and ask for it, you’ve taken the first (and most important) step!
Mackenzie Dawson is the deputy features editor at the New York Post. She lives in New York.