dating adviceMy bookshelves are sagging from the weight of the books I’ve accumulated over a lifetime. Today, I download e-books and check out my book club books from my fabulous library. The rare books that I do purchase are reference books. These are books I know I’ll refer to again and again. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of those evergreen books. His 7 habits are as relevant today as they were 15 years ago when he first wrote the book. And those 7 habits could all be easily applied to dating. I apologize in advance to Stephen Covey as I take artistic license in adapting his philosophy of living a life of integrity, kindness, and responsibility to self and others to the dating arena.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Daters:

1. BE PROACTIVE: You are free to continue to blame outside circumstances for the outcome of your love life. You can blame your parents for how poorly they modeled marriage. You can blame it on the lack of good men where you live. You can even blame men. Or you can begin to take full responsibility for having the love you want, no matter what your personal history, no matter where you come from or where you now live. It’s up to you to make the inner changes. That’s the first step in coaching with me. Heal from your past and take full responsibility for what you’re creating in your love life today. I can show you how.

2. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND: Without a clear vision for what you want, it’s hard to achieve anything – especially something as important as finding a great partner. Early in my coaching career, I coached someone about her vision for the future. “I want to be rich,” she said. “How rich?” I asked. “I want to be a millionaire, living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in a luxury apartment, with another home in Tahiti.” Pretty clear, huh? Last I checked, she was well on her way to great wealth and living her dream. If you want to find love, you need a clear vision for that, too. Do you want to be married? If so, by when? If not, what are your romantic goals? Set a date and work backwards. Then you can figure out what you need to do to achieve your love goals.

3. PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST: Learn to manage your time well and prioritize love. This is where your vision for love gets put into action. Did you set up time on the calendar to spend on online dating sites? Are you devoting a good amount of time to meeting new men? Are you signing up for social events on a regular basis? Are you effectively asking for setups? If you don’t prioritize dating and love, it will not materialize on its own. Sorry to say, but a fabulous man will not drop out of the sky and land on your doorstep, even though a good friend of mine wishes that were so.

4. THINK WIN-WIN: “If you win, I lose. If I win, you lose.” Many people believe there are only so many good men to go around. They think, “If you found a good man, it means that there’s one less good man for me. My success is based on your failure, and vice versa.” This is a losing proposition, one based on a sense of scarcity in the world. When you realize that there is an abundance of all that you need, you will begin to attract a wonderful partner into your life.

5. SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD: Good communication is crucial to quality loving relationships. But it’s a skill that doesn’t come naturally to most people. If you want to improve your love life, learn to listen first and communicate more effectively. Most of us filter our listening through our own experiences, what Stephen Covey calls autobiographical listening. We make false assumptions about the people we are talking to. This is dangerous, as it can lead to misunderstanding and judging people falsely. When you are trained to listen before you seek to be understood, you will have a better relationship with the man in your life (and everyone else, too).

6. SYNERGIZE: Synergy is the belief that “two heads are better than one.” A guy I once dated wrote in his online profile essay that in a good relationship, 1 + 1 = 3. Turns out, this is directly from Stephen Covey. In relationship terms, this means that in a great relationship, you complement your partner and in doing so, many new and wonderful things emerge. The key is in recognizing and valuing the complementary traits in your potential partner. In coaching, you can learn to identify what character traits will complement you most effectively.

7. SHARPEN THE SAW: This is about keeping yourself renewed and in growth mode for the rest of your life. If you don’t have balance, zest for life, and the zeal to grow and learn, you become stagnant and – let’s be honest – boring! In a great relationship, two people are dynamically moving forward on all fronts, continually working on self-improvement. Physical, social/emotional, spiritual and mental; these are all key areas of growth that must be nurtured for a truly great relationship to flourish.

Stephen Covey has added a new book on the 8th habit of highly effective people:

8. FROM EFFECTIVENESS TO GREATNESS: Once you’re in a great relationship, what are you doing to keep it going? This is all about going beyond… to fulfillment, to thriving, to excitement and keeping your relationship alive and growing for many wonderful years.

It’s my passion to help women get it right the second time around. There are too many people settling for ineffective and unfulfilling relationships, sometimes from the outset. If you become immersed in personal change, you will continually attract the right people into your life and be a much happier person.

Together, we can work to decrease the divorce rate for second marriages, and we can increase the number of loving, respectful and dynamic relationships on this planet.

Will you join me on my mission?

Happy holidays and much success in life and love,

Sandy Weiner

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