Things You Need to Do to Wipe Your Dating Slate Clean and Start Over
Ex-tract! Remove ex-everythings from your space.
Move forward by not actually being able to go backward: Hide your ex on chat, delete his phone number, defriend him on Facebook and unfollow his Twitter. And we're not just talking about ex-boyfriends -- this includes ex-hookups, ex-booty calls, ex-FWBs and any other Bad News Dudes.
Rethink your type—especially if you keep dating the same kind of guy.
"Write down all the traits of the type of person you have liked, are attracted to or have dated, and whittle it down to 10 qualities," says Whitney Casey, author of [http://whitneycaseyproductions.com/] The Man Plan. When picking guys in the new year, you can keep three of those 10 qualities -- for the other seven, go for different types of traits. "Any time you're on a date and you notice that there are more than three common traits from your list, you don't give it another date. Stop right there."
Start a brand-new online dating profile...or finally sign up for one.
Rewrite your online dating profile from scratch; working with a blank page will get you thinking about what you really want. Then keep it updated, often -- Casey, also Match.com's relationships expert, says to keep it active, like your Facebook profile. "You change your résumé for every job -- so you should be changing your online profile picture to show you on a recent ski trip, or talk about the newest movie you've seen. You need to be putting things out there that people will respond to, not just 'Looking for someone with great eyes.'" And if you've yet to take the online dating plunge, c'mon, it's 2012: The stigma is so 2008.
Put "our _____" in a whole new context.
Give places and things you associate with past relationships a new meaning. Have a girls' night at the restaurant that reminds you of an ex, hold an impromptu dance party to "our song" or curl up with a date to that movie you thought you could never watch again.
Learn to be happy on your own.
Before you start rolling your eyes and saying, "Cheesy!" just listen to what Michelle, 27, of San Diego, says: "You're much less likely to settle for someone who isn't amazing if you know how to have fun without a guy. The very day I told my friend I was not interested in relationships and 'I just want to have fun with my friends' was the day I met my boyfriend."
Not good at seeing who's good for you? Then stop trying...
...and let a friend do it for you. Casey says pick a (preferably coupled-up) close friend and put her in charge of finding guys -- any other guy you meet automatically goes in the friend zone. "You'll only go on dates with someone she sets you up with," Casey says. Not only does this help you date better men, you'll also end up acting more genuinely around other guys you meet when the should-I-date-him pressure's off.
Relinquish control of your online dating life for two months.
Enlist one more super-close friend to be in charge of your online dating life: She answers your messages, picks out guys and sets you up to chat with them. Casey says to have your friend tell the guys, "She's having a hard time picking the right guys for her, so my New Year's present to her is that I'm going to be running her online life." If you want to start fresh Casey says, "That'll get you started in a great direction."
Feel shiny 'n' new.
Change something -- anything! Wear glasses? Try contacts. Addicted to your flatiron? Go au naturel. Never worn orange? Hello, tangerine dress! Whatever you do -- no matter how big or small -- should make you feel renewed and different and boost your confidence.
Reroute your routine.
Instead of sticking to all your usual haunts, go out of your way to try a new bar, new café or new club. Been there, done that? Bookmark sites like [http://www.metromix.com/pick_your_city] Metromix and [http://www.thrillist.com/] Thrillist for local event listings, and get googling to find hyper-local blogs with more opportunities you'd never thought of to meet people.
Work on yourself.
Bring your "me" time back to the top of your priority list. Set personal goals (separate from your New Year's resolutions!) and stick to 'em. Whether you're focusing on toning your abs or taking new risks with your hairstyles, as 27-year-old New Yorker Sara says, "There is nothing more gratifying than running into him later and having him say, 'Wow, you look great.'"