These pieces of advice can be worked on individually, however, for the most bang for your buck, incorporate them simultaneously and your dating life will absolutely improve.

Hold Up a Mirror and Point Your Finger
The hardest thing to do is self-assess and accept responsibility. I can see Bill Clinton still believing ‘he didn’t have sexual relations with that woman,” but the fact is, he did. And for many of us, we don’t know how to face the hard facts — we’re picky (not selective), we’re overweight (not curvy), our style is outdated (not vintage), etc. The sooner we admit our flaws, the easier it is to accept or improve them. Self-awareness is always the first step to self-development.

Identify A Love Mentor
This is a person who can objectively give you relationship advice. Securing a Love Mentor can be the single most impactful step you make in your romantic life, if done correctly! Doing this correctly means selecting the right person. Love mentors can be the same or opposite sex from you. The keys are that they a) share your values. b) can speak to you objectively. c) know what a healthy relationship is (through experience not just watching the Obamas on TV).

Surround Yourself with New People
As we get older, our social circles typically shrink. With friends still being a top source for meeting the partners we eventually marry, a shrinking pool of people doesn’t help. That said, it is important to accept that invitation to your co-worker’s dinner party that you had intended to blow off, or take the plunge and join the art appreciation group at the museum. The best thing you can do for your dating life is to create new opportunities … and opportunities come through people.

Drop 10% of Your Friends
This is something I learned years ago … and apologies to my old friends reading this that I no longer talk to. Yes, that’s right, I intentionally drop 10% of my friends EVERY year. This is not to be confused with the naturally occurring attrition that comes with time and distance. I’m talking about taking account of your current social circles and evaluating those with negative intent. Life is hard enough just keeping up, and the last thing we need is a negative force bringing us down and imposing doubt. While we all evolve, not all of us evolve in a positive direction.

If They Aren’t Marriage Material, They Aren’t Sex Material
I can’t tell you how many people tell me, “I slept with this person because I think they really care for me.” WHAAAAT? That’s your standard for sex? When did the bar drop so low? Sex is not a reward for good behavior — if you want to reward someone’s kindness, you take them to lunch, not between the sheets! Period. And, don’t get me started on “I had sex to save the relationship,” I’ve never once heard someone tell me “Paul, you know I hadn’t planned on marrying her, but damn, the sex is so good I’ll buy the ring.” NEVER. This doesn’t happen! Raise your standard and maintain it!

Unexpected Packages
I remember being in a room with the top 250 matchmakers from around the world, most of them had been in the profession for over 15 years, working with 50-100 clients per year. Collectively, that’s A LOT of relationships these folks have played a direct role in. When asked what was the number one lesson learned, time after time it was said “love comes in unexpected packages.” I have personally witnessed this in my matchmaking business — someone will say, “I’ll never date a guy with this and that.” Then, they meet a guy with “this and that,” the chemistry is on, and everything else becomes secondary. I do not want you to miss out on love because you are not open-minded to all the ways it can arrive. Expect love to come in unexpected packages!

Create a Plan and Follow It
What’s most fascinating with what I call my “corporate power” clients is that while they can micro-manage their way through the minefields of the top businesses in the country, they use no planning in their dating life. The reason this digs at me is because in literally every other aspect of our lives, we plan… to get in the right school … to get the promotion … to lose the weight … all of these parts of our lives cannot be accomplished without planning. Our romantic life should be no different. Identify an online and offline dating strategy … and follow it!