5 Intentions To Set If You're Dating With A Specific Goal In Mind

There are many areas of your life in which it can be helpful to set goals — among them, in regards to fitness, your career, and finances. But what about dating? You might make it a point to define your aspirations in terms of working toward a promotion, shaving a few minutes off your 5K run time, or saving up to buy a car, but then approach your personal life completely haphazardly. Dating with a specific goal in mind is a phenomenal approach because it allows you to be more deliberate about who you open up to, when, where, and how. Knowing exactly what you want makes dating easier, too. You won’t second guess your decisions as much, because you’ll be acutely aware of who meets your standards.

If you’ve specified a goal, you’ll likely need to adjust how you go about dating accordingly. That means setting certain intentions. Think of it this way: When you want to save a certain amount of money, you need to define strategies, like putting a portion of your paycheck into a savings account, or cutting back on your monthly spending on clothing, to achieve that goal. When you want to land a pay raise at work, you must identify particular steps you can take toward justifying that, like getting more engaged during meetings, or pitching new ideas to your manager. So, why not deal with dating the same way?

Whether you're searching for your soulmate or simply a casual fling with satisfying sex, here are some intentions to set for success.

Put your goal into words.
Jamie Grill Atlas/Stocksy

There’s something very powerful about verbalizing exactly what you want. In fact, many influential people insist that stating their goals out loud help them to actually manifest their dreams. It makes sense, too. Saying something out loud or writing it down often helps you to remember it more easily. It solidifies that idea in your memory, meaning you’ll likely be more apt to adhere to that goal and more likely to recognize what you’re close to achieving it.

Knowing what you want is obviously the first step toward dating with intention. So, once you know what your goal is, write it down. Then, make it a point to re-read it on a regular basis — ideally before you start your day. And if you can get over feeling awk about it, say it to yourself out loud in the mirror. This reinforces your intention and makes it easier to harness your focus and stay on track while you’re dating.

Be deliberate in how you date.
Good Vibrations Images/Stocksy

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start exposing yourself to more scenarios that offer up higher chances that you’ll find it.

So, if you’re searching for your soul mate, a great place to start is by getting involved in more groups, classes, events, workshops, etc. that center around your passions. After all, you’re more likely to meet someone you really connect with through these channels, because you’ll probably have some interests and values in common. Or, if your goal involves casual dating or no-frills hookups, then be choosy about which dating apps you use, and how you use them. For example, Hinge (which boasts a tagline "Designed to be Deleted”) has many features that seem to encourage more serious relationships, while others, like FriendFinder-X and Happn have a reputation of being more well-suited to finding hookups.

Be upfront AF.
Luke + Mallory Leasure

It’s super important to be open with your dates about what you’re looking for from the get-go. Not only does this decrease the odds that someone gets hurt, but it also increases the odds that you get what you want out of dating.

If you’re using dating apps, consider putting a disclaimer in your bio clarifying your intentions. You can keep it simple and light — for example, a reference to The Office that you’re looking for the Jim to your Pam if you’re seeking something serious, or, alternatively, a “swipe right if you’re down to keep it casual.” It’s also a good idea to state your intentions in person, ideally on your first date. That kind of honest, upfront communication may feel a tad uncomfortable at first, but it’s for everyone’s benefit. Neither you nor your dates deserve to waste time with someone who isn’t on the same page. So make it a point to ask what you’re looking for, while also sharing your goal in return. Knowing whether or not you have the same motive can help you decide if you want to proceed and meet up again. Plus, opening up this conversation shows that you know what you want, and to boot, have some serious confidence, which is oh so attractive.

Learn from your mistakes.
Vera Lair/Stocksy

While on the road to achieving your dating goals, you’re bound to be hit with a few stumbling blocks. It can be helpful to keep track of these — because every dating disappointment provides an opportunity to learn something (and ultimately, perhaps avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly).

So make it a point to check in with yourself. What’s working for you? And equally importantly, what isn’t working? Maybe you’re noticing that you’re drawn to certain types of people, yet they never seem to make you feel fulfilled in the long run. Maybe you pick up on the fact that when you meet people through friends, you hit it off more effortlessly. Taking the time to acknowledge these lessons is so key to growing throughout your dating experiences, not to mention getting closer to reaching your goals.

Keep your besties in the loop.

You know how you’re more likely to hit that spin class if you promised your BFF you would? Telling your friend about your dating goals can be helpful in the same way, because they can help to keep you on track. Not only will you feel more accountable if you vocalize what you’re trying to accomplish to them, but they might also be able to offer useful guidance if they notice you aren’t really staying true to your goals.

It’s up to you how many friends you inform about your intentions. Even telling just one bestie could be super effective. Plus, who knows? They may even have some ideas for how you can closer to reaching your goals. And they can’t offer up that kind of insight if they don’t know what you’re looking for.

Dating with intention is a spectacular way to start honoring your own needs and desires. And by adhering to these strategies, you can move closer and closer toward your relationship goals. Remember, however, that it's a marathon, not a sprint. It can get all too easy to get fixated on the endpoint, whether that's snagging a long-term bae or exploring casual dating, but try to enjoy the ride along the way.