New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life

Many of us make resolutions at the beginning of the New Year, but how many of us actually end up turning them in action, let alone achieve them? Now that we’ve had some time to get over New Year’s Eve festivities, reflecting on 2013, what were your best and worst moments of the past year? If you made resolutions last year, did you come close to achieving any of them? I managed to achieve 5.5 out of 7 of my resolutions, but I didn’t read nearly enough books as I’d hoped, and I lost some excess weight, but not nearly as much as I’d set as a goal. Starting and maintaining this blog was one of my resolutions last year and I’m looking forward to continuing and expanding it this year. It now has its own web address, too: findkeeplove.com.

Thinking about what we might like to achieve in 2014, let’s look at the resolutions you might have made. Many resolutions are made without serious intent and are too vague to actually achieve: “lose weight,” “find love,” “be happier,” and so on. Making resolutions for the right reasons and that are achievable give you a goal to aim at throughout the year, something to look forward to, a personal challenge, and/or a new start. We feel better about ourselves when we set personal goals, no matter how small, and then end up accomplishing them.

So how can we set realistic New Year resolutions and set out to achieve them? First, don’t think of a resolution as something silly you make up on New Year’s Eve, but as you would any other goal or challenge you might make on any other day of the year. If you have trouble taking a “New Year resolution” seriously, call it something else, like “Goals for 2014.” Then follow these simple steps:

1. Pick the right resolution(s)

Think about what you really want to achieve this year and how you will benefit from it.

2. Set an achievable goal

Unrealistic goals are doomed to fail and a goal is more achievable if you can quantify it in terms of numbers.

3. Set a time line for the goal

and if possible, break the goal up into steps. This helps you review your progress against tangible performance metrics. A resolution made without thinking of the steps necessary to achieve that resolution will most likely fail. If you want to lose weight, for example, try “exercise for 30 minutes a day,” “replace crisps/chocolate with a piece of fruit,” and so on, in order to lose weight (e.g., lose x kilograms).

4. Review your progress towards the goal

This helps you stay on track… and remember to try as hard as possible not to move the goalposts, but also remain somewhat flexible – at the end of the day, you are only letting yourself down, but you are the main influencer of your own happiness! At the end of January, review the progress towards your goals and see how you’re going.

5. Achieve your challenge

… or part of it. Even if you don’t complete 100% of the original goal, you may have learnt a thing or two along the way. And there’s always a chance to make new resolutions in a year’s time.

Making New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life – For Singles

For singles looking to find love, perhaps you can set yourself the goal of one activity a month that allows you to meet someone new. This might be joining new club, group or organisation related to something that interests you or something you’ve wanted to try. One place you can start looking is Meetup. It’s always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself from time to time. You can use these activities as an opportunity of assessing others’ suitability as a partner (subtly, of course).

If you’re serious about finding love this year, you’ll want to have a look at Find Keep Love’s three step program to finding love:

If you want to try online dating, sign up to a dating website or two and start creating a profile. You’ll might also like to check out our series of posts on online dating:

Making New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life – For Couples

For couples, you can set goals individually or together. As an individual goal, for example, resolve to do a random nice thing for your partner once a month (or once a week if you’re feeling overly ambitious) or to take your partner out for a proper romantic date once a month. Find Keep Love’s post on 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner addresses this topic and will point you in the right direction. You could also aim to pay your loved one a compliment a day for the entirety of 2014. 365 compliments will gain you some serious love points, and you’ll form good habits to strengthen your relationship.

You can also set goals together – to learn something new by taking a course together (a new language or a cooking course perhaps) or to go on a romantic getaway once or twice this year. Resolve to spend more quality time together, particularly if work or family life gets in the way. Our posts on Modern Day Dating & Scheduling Dates, Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts and The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last discuss some of the common issues with modern relationships and some ways to overcome them. You may also find some inspiration from our two-part post on the 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love and on the 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – you’ll want to aim to do more of the former and less of the latter.

What are your New Year resolutions? What steps will you take to achieve them?

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Online Dating – Tips & Advice To Stay Safe Online

The internet offers so many different and exciting opportunities to explore, share information, and meet new people. In Part 1: Find Love. Step 3. (Where To) Start Looking For Love., internet/online dating was introduced as one of the common places to look for love, which was then extended in Online Dating – The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love. Find Keep Love also covered the potential of Facebook as a dating tool in Online Dating – Could A Facebook Dating App Become The World’s Biggest Dating Site?

But using the internet can put you at risk of illegal activities or abuse, including bullying, fraud, cyber crime or something more serious. Unlike seeing someone face to face, people aren’t always what they first seem in the digital world. In this post, Find Keep Love looks at how to stay safe online, so that you can utilise the huge potential of the internet to enjoy meeting new friends and date safely.

  • Protect your privacy on social networking sites. Almost everyone nowadays is connected via one or more social network, such as Facebook, Google+, Sina Weibo [Chinese], LinkedIn, Bebo and so on. Check your social media privacy settings and the information you are allowing into the public domain and to your connections. The abundant personal information available on such sites is a predator’s dream come true. Set up privacy restrictions to give only trusted people access to personal information and activities. Do not give strangers access to your social networking sites, but if you must connect with strangers for some reason (some games encourage you to build a large social network), make sure you restrict their access.
  • Understand the settings for your GPS and geolocation services on your electronic devices, as well as your social media networks. Consider turning off the GPS on your mobile phones and cameras, unless you want people to know where you are. You may be inadvertently be posting your location when you post photos, status updates, and so on. To keep your location private, avoid sending or posting images from GPS-enabled devices.
  • Don’t give out private personal information online. Unless you are 100% sure of the person you are giving it to, of course. Use discretion when deciding what information to reveal about yourself, but never, ever disclose private information such as bank details, your passport number, account passwords, and so on.
  • Keep your login information and passwords private and secure. Your passwords are the most common way to prove your identity when using websites, email accounts and even your computer itself (via User Accounts). Avoid public or shared computers where login information can be saved or cached, and avoid automatic login features and do not save passwords to avoid entering a password. The use of strong (varied and difficult) passwords is essential to protect your security and identity. The best security in the world is useless if a malicious person has a legitimate user name and password. Here are some tips for choosing the best passwords:

Password Dos:

  • Choose a password with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and keyboard symbols such as @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ +. For example, SP1D3Rm@n – a variation of Spiderman, with letters and numbers, upper and lower case. But be aware that some of these punctuation marks may be difficult to enter on foreign keyboards.
  • Choose a password containing at least eight characters. Longer passwords are harder for criminals to guess or break.

Password Don’ts:

Don’t use the following as passwords:

  • Your username, actual name or business name.
  • Family members’ or pets’ names.
  • Your birthday or the birthdays of family members.
  • Favourite sports team or other words easy to work out with a little background knowledge of your likes and dislikes.
  • The word ‘password’ (you’d be surprised how many people use this as their deafult password!).
  • Numerical sequences.
  • A commonplace dictionary word, which could be cracked by common hacking programs.
  • Protect your computer from viruses, malware and spyware. Use software, such as free software like Microsoft Security Essentials, Avast, AVG or McAfee’s free virus removal tools.
  • Make sure you’re using a reputable online dating service, chat site or phone app. There are many, many dodgy internet sites, and a number of these are dating sites wanting to exploit those seriously looking for love. For our recommended websites and phone apps, check out our post on Online Dating – The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love. Make sure you read the dating site or app’s terms of service and privacy policy. This can be difficult at times, because many privacy policies seem to be written in the most confusing language possible. Here are some things you should look for:
  • A dating site should provide online security – HTTPS
  • It should delete all your personal data after you close the account.
  • It should be upfront about how it shares your personal information with other members.
  • It should be upfront about who else gets to see your data.
  • It should indicate whether the dating site shares your e-mail address with third parties.
  • Does it give you a chance to opt out?
  • Does it provide the name of a real human being to contact if you have questions?
  • Use an email address without your full name or use a pseudonym or nickname. If you use a work or personal email account, your full name may appear on any email you send. With your full name and location, someone may find your address and even phone number via people search websites like 192.com. To get around this, we suggest you get a free email account (for example, from Yahoo Mail, Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Outlook.com) and avoid using your last name. You may even want to use a different first name – try making up a fun nickname like “StaticKitten”. This nickname doesn’t need to be your screen name.
  • Take your time and don’t rush into things. Do not feel compelled or pressured to do anything you are not completely comfortable with. The online world allows for anonymity, which can work for you and against you. Start with a few emails back and forth or use online chat (some dating websites offer this as part of their package), then a few phone calls, before meeting in person. A highly recommended alternative to the phone is Skype, which offers free video calls over the internet and cheap calls to phones. There are also a number of smartphone apps, like Line, WhatsApp*, ooVoo, Viber and Tango that offer various combinations of free messaging and audio/video calling.
    *WhatsApp is now a paid service.
  • Be aware that webcams and Skype calls may be recorded. Be extremely wary about removing clothes or doing other private things in front of your webcam, which could be used against you, even if you feel comfortable with and think you know the other party. It is really easy these days to record both video and audio using a number of different software packages. Some chat websites, for example, cache live images to show on your profile. Webcam blackmail is becoming more commonplace, where fraudsters record your webcam then use the recording to extort money. Emails, messages, screen captures and so on can be forwarded to others at the click of a button, so be careful what you do and say.
  • When you do meet your new date (especially the first time), do it with a friend and in a public place. If you can’t arrange a friend to be there physically with you (or nearby), at least tell a friend or family member and check in with them at some stage during the date.
  • Never leave or go home with them. Be wary if they suggest going somewhere more private (unless the date is going well and heading in that direction). If you begin to feel uncomfortable (in a more serious way, not those normal dating jitters) or unsafe, leave the situation as soon as possible.
  • Report any attacks or threats to the police immediately.

Are you as safe as you should be online? Have you ever had a bad experience with someone or something online?

With these tips – and following the dos and don’ts in our post on Part 1: Find Love. First Date Dos and Don’ts – you’ll ensure your date is both safe and enjoyable.

A special thanks goes to Alastair at CitizenArc for providing a number of useful tips for this article. CitizenArc is a West London-based computer support service offering technical support and professional training for individuals and businesses, specialising in Apple Mac and iOS.

For more information on staying safe online, check out Google’s post on How you can stay safe and secure online.

Part 1: Find Love. Step 3. (Where To) Start Looking For Love.

So you’ve taken the first step to finding love and learnt to love yourself (Step 1. Love Yourself), and you’ve got a good understanding of who you are and what you want from a relationship/partner (Step 2. Know Yourself & What You Really Want From A Partner). Now you want to find love and a special person, but where do you start looking? In this post, we’ll go through a few of the common places to start looking for love, and look at some of the pros and cons of each.

Internet/Online Dating

You’ve probably all heard of internet/online dating, and many of you may have tried it at least once or twice in some form or another. With so many different websites out there, it can be hard to tell which ones are worthwhile, which are reputable, and which ones have predominately real profiles (a good handful of sites use fake profiles to seem more popular and full of “like-minded people like YOU”!). A discussion on online dating could fill several blog posts, so I’ll keep this brief for now, but there will be other posts on the ins and outs of this form of dating throughout the year. There is still some stigma attached to internet dating sites – often that if you are on an online dating site that there’s something wrong with you or that you’re ‘spoiled goods’. But almost everyone is connected to the internet now and it is fairly easy to use modern technology to your advantage to help you find love – there are a multitude of smartphone apps now, too. For the best online dating websites, including specialised/alternate ones and smartphone/mobile dating apps, check out Online Dating – The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love. Also, with reportedly over one billion active users, Could A Facebook App Become The World’s Biggest Dating Site?

Bars/Nightclubs

For those in their late teens and 20s, it is quite easy to meet potential partners at a bar or nightclub, and for this kind of age group, it isn’t socially awkward to be at such a place. Personally, although I met many prospective partners at bars and clubs, I never seemed to meet exactly the right girl for me. Alcohol can be a great social lubricant for meeting new people and is in plentiful abundance in such establishments. The good news for everyone is that it is a fallacy that you need to be young or a heavy drinker or a lover of house music – particularly in bigger cities like London and Tokyo, there are themed bars and clubs for all different tastes and ages… it isn’t just for the young’uns. There are jazz bars, cocktail lounges, salsa bars, cabaret – the list goes on and on.

Friends/Family

How many times have your friends or family offered, with their best intentions, to set you up with someone they know who is “just perfect for you”, yet it turns out to be far from the truth. This experience can range from awkward to just plain horrible. Sure, there are some success stories out there, but more often than not, the family- or friend-arranged date doesn’t work amazingly well. A lot of things need to line up in your favour for it to work. Does your family member or friend really know you and your wants/needs, as well as those of your prospective partner? Too many times they judge you on what they think you want, not what you actually want. It’s hard enough sometimes for us to know what we really want ourselves, let alone someone else making this judgement for us! Arranged relationships – or even arranged marriages – can be convenient, but I don’t think it’s a sure-fire way of finding love.

Hobby/Social Clubs

For those who are uncomfortable with online dating or going to bars or nightclubs for whatever reason, and don’t trust their family or friends to find a suitable partner, find an activity that you love – one that also involves others – and join a hobby/social club. This could be a gym class, a dance class, a training course on something you’ve always wanted to learn, or a group/organisation that has similar values/beliefs/ideas to you. Here you may meet someone as passionate about you about a particular hobby or interest. On the other hand, this may also be an opportunity to try something completely different and do a new activity you may never have considered before. There are, of course, pros and cons to dating someone similar or different to you (see Dating Someone Similar Or Different – Opposites Attract?). Again the internet has made it simpler to meet new and likeminded people – try searching Facebook groups or pages or try the website Meetup. Meet new people, make new friends, and see what happens. You can find love in the strangest of places, at the most random times!

These are just some of the many examples of places you might find love or at least start looking for it. But keep one eye open at all times, love might turn up in the strangest of places – in a supermarket aisle, on the bus or train, at work or university. You might come across the love of your life taking out your garbage even. Love is all around us, and potential partners everywhere!

If you have a partner, where did you meet them? Was it a conventional way or unconventional? If you’re single, where have you been looking and how successful have you been?