“New year, new me.” That’s what we always hear, right? Everyone’s setting goals to get more money, more muscle, more sleep, more self-care… but have you ever thought about setting a goal for your dating life?
I’m not talking about a “make out with x amount of girls before Kyle does” kind of goal. I’m talking about the kind of goals that can really propel you into the kind of dating life and future relationship you daydream about.
Setting the Right Kind of Goals
You may have heard that it’s important to write down your goals so that they become real and are more likely to be achieved, but it’s also important to word your goals correctly so that they’re achievable.
SMART goals – a concept introduced by George T. Doran in 1981 – are a popular way to set goals to help them become more achievable. In order to qualify as a SMART goal, the goal must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
However, in recent years, a new concept for goal setting, known as PACT goals (Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous, Trackable), has started to emerge. PACT goals can help your goals have long-term effects. They may seem similar to SMART goals, but there are some big differences that make PACT goals a lot more effective.
Setting ImPACTful Goals
PURPOSEFUL – Purposeful goals should be related to your long-term purpose. Think about your vision, your end game, and what steps you need to take to get there. This helps motivate you to reach your goal because you know it’s a stepping stone to your ultimate goal.
ACTIONABLE – Actionable goals are based on things that you can control. This means that the success or failure of the goal should be based on the action that you do or do not take. You want the outcome of your goal to be completely in your hands, not external, uncontrollable forces.
CONTINUOUS – Continuous goals are sustainable and repeatable. Be realistic about your resources such as time and energy when setting goals. Continuous goals are also flexible and continually changing. Focus on the journey of improvement while working towards your goal rather than having tunnel vision on a specific achievement.
TRACKABLE – Trackable goals are different than measurable goals. Focus on a “yes” or “no” kind of tracking rather than specific numbers. That way, you can track whether you put in an effort towards your goal rather than trying to gauge your amount of effort given.
Where SMART goals focus on outcomes (things that you sometimes can’t control), PACT goals focus on output (things you can usually 100% control) and help you not only set your goal, but create a game plan for how you will reach that goal.
Let’s Look At An Example
Let’s say that you have a vision of finding your future spouse on Mutual. In order to get there, you set a goal to go on more dates.
The SMART version of your goal would look something like: “Go on 2 dates every week for the next month.”
The PACT version of your goal would look something like: “Start 5 amazing conversations a week for the next month.”
The SMART version is really out of your control. You can’t decide whether people will say yes or no to a date, so your success or failure is completely out of your hands.
The PACT version is 100% in your control. You can’t necessarily control whether people will message you back, and whether or not the conversation is “amazing” may be up for debate. However, you can control how many conversations you start and you can control how much effort you put into the conversation. This puts the success or failure completely into your hands because it relies 100% on your effort!
We know that good conversation and communication is the gateway to a first date. First dates are the gateway to a relationship. So, in theory, the more good conversations you have, the more dates you will go on. This goal will lead you to your goal of going on more dates and eventually finding your future spouse.
Another version of this PACT goal could be to ask two people out every week. That way, regardless of whether they say yes or no, the success relies completely on whether or not you extended the invitation.
Dating Goal Ideas
Ideally, your goals will be personalized and tailored to you and your needs, so you’ll want to look at what your ultimate end goal is first. But, if you’re having a hard time coming up with specific goals, here are some ideas to get you started.
- Start two great conversations every week
- Use Mutual for 15 minutes every day
- Ask two people out every week
- Give out five genuine compliments every day
- Meet someone new at church every week
- Leave one comment on every profile I swipe up on
In Your Control
When so much of dating is out of your control, it can be easy to feel discouraged. Setting PACT goals can help you to feel like you are doing your part and putting in the effort required to find your eternal spouse.
Also, don’t be afraid to change your goals as you go! Life is fluid and always changing. You may set a goal and realize halfway through that it’s just not working out. That’s when it’s time to pivot and try something different. Don’t work against your goals, they’re meant to work FOR you and help get you to where you want to go.