Your 20s are a pivotal time for self-development and embracing new experiences, but the can also be a source of immense pressure. If your resolution for 2017 is focused on dating, it might be time to rethink your priorities. In an impassioned article for Mind Body Green, Daniel Dowling argues that the pressure to find your S.O. and settle down is too common and consuming among millennials—and unnecessary.
"I was the classic hopeless romantic for the first half of my adulthood. I was depressed without a girlfriend, ecstatic with one—for the first month—and then increasingly miserable until the inevitable split," he explains.
The issue? Focusing on finding your other half means you rarely question your own values and needs. "I used to think a woman was the only way I could be happy. But after crashing and burning so many times, I realized I was wrecking my life with insecure relationships," he penned.
To put an end to the cycle, Dowling decided to stop Tinder swiping, blind dating, and endlessly searching for The One. For a year, he followed three simple habits that led him to realize that being single is one of the most important and precious times of your life; trying to rush past it in a bid to reach the next life stage is a huge mistake.
These are the three beneficial daily habits he recommends following while you're single, to get to know who you are before inviting someone else into your life:
"Each morning, write down what you need to do to be the best version of you," says Dowling. This encourages reflection on who you want to be and, more importantly, what it will take to become that person. "Reflect on what you can accomplish to excel in your profession, your hobbies, and your personal development."
"Your first thoughts of the day pave the way for the second, third, 34th, 87th, and so on," he says. "Make those waking thoughts empowering—focus on things like how capable, confident, useful, valuable, worthy, kind, generous, dependable, independent, happy, joyful, adventurous, bold, secure, and loving you are." By focusing on positivity, you'll be less likely to rely on a partner to provide praise or fulfillment.
At the end of each day, Dowling committed to spending 15 to 30 minutes writing down what he'd learned, excelled at, and faltered on throughout the day. Why? "Documenting your life in a journal will help you to accept yourself despite your mistakes; it will give you the awareness to change limiting thoughts and behaviors."
Thinking about taking up the one-year challenge? Rewrite your New Year's resolution and dedicate the year of 2017 to getting to know yourself. You won't regret it.