2020 is a leap year! It only happens once every four years. For many, it's the perfect opportunity to take a leap of faith. In our new series "Take a Leap," "Good Morning America" is profiling three women who are each taking their own "leap" to discover love, happiness and ultimately, a new adventure.
Elizabeth Long, 39, is taking a leap to find love again. After losing her fiancé, Michael Dolan, who passed away unexpectedly in 2018, Long struggled to cope.
She turned to meditation and prayer to help mend her heart and recently had a wake-up call.
“I texted a friend of mine who knew both Michael and I very well,” Long explained. “And I texted her and said, 'Okay, this is it. I'm ready. I'm gonna start dating in 2020. I'm open, I'm ready for love even in this area of my life.'"
Gandhi will guide Long through the process of getting back into the dating game -- and is taking our "GMA" viewers along for the ride. Join our Facebook community here to follow along on her journey to find love.
Gandhi set up a dating game plan with Long and helped her set up a "dating ritual" to transform her mindset from work mode to date mode. Read on to get her tips, in her own words, on how to approach dating like a pro.
6 tips to leap back into love
Create a manageable dating strategy
Have a dating plan that includes online dating, meeting people in real life, and getting set up by friends family. Don't let online dating overwhelm you or feel like a job -- just build dating into your life like you would going to the gym, etc.
Spend 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening on the apps -- that is ALL.
Be on 1 to 2 sites or apps -- max
Don't go crazy and join six different sites right away. Start with one and then slowly expand it to two. Have a 30-day strategy with a site or app -- keep it fluid. If something isn't working for you, change it in a month.
Keep it to 2 dates per week
You don't want to empty your personal cup by going on too many dates. Pace yourself -- dating is a marathon, not a sprint!
Keep dates short and sweet
Your first dates shouldn't be eight-hour epic dates! They should be short and sweet -- no more than one to two hours. First dates are to connect casually and to get to know each other. Spending too much time together right away can lead us to overshare. Keeping the dates short leaves the daters wanting more.
Create a dating funnel
Most people don't date exclusively unless you've had the conversation of "exclusivity." Dating many people in the beginning makes you feel powerful, like you have a lot of options. It keeps you more objective and less likely to settle for someone who has red flags.
Develop a dating ritual
Do you find yourself going straight from work to a date? Or just find yourself feeling anxious before dates, and not knowing how to get yourself into the right mindset? Well, here is a great way to get into the right mood -- and it involves creating a great "pre-date" ritual.
Here are five easy things that you can do to get you into a positive, fun, easy breezy, confident state of mind -- and be like the daters at Smart Dating Academy!
Some ideas include:
Make a playlist of songs that make you want to dance or just make you happy. This is my favorite way to boost my mood anytime. What are the songs that make you happy? Or if music isn’t your thing, maybe it’s uplifting podcasts? Comedy shows? Whatever takes away the ‘stench’ of the current day is great.
Imagine it being a great, fun date -- and put yourself in those feelings. Picture yourself giving your date a nice hug at the beginning, and saying something nice to your date!
Freshen up your look, and create a signature date look. For many, that is using a brighter "berry lip" or "red lip." Get a color that works for you. If you love lashes, get some individuals and put them on for a flirty look. And dab just a little bit of your favorite scent behind your ears.
Make your favorite cocktail or mocktail: What’s your favorite drink that puts you at ease, and makes you happy? Maybe it’s a few sips of champagne, maybe it’s an espresso to amp you up, a beautiful tea, or some tequila with grapefruit juice! Sip this while getting ready, listening to your jam, and freshening up your look.
Wear something that makes you feel great: If you need to shed the masculine energy of your day, throw on a great wrap dress and some heels, or a pretty blouse and pencil skirt. If it's cold, pair your feminine look with some tights and boots, and you’ll be good to go!
If you follow these tips both when you're setting up a dating plan and on the dates, you will be on the road to finding love before you know it!
Bela Gandhi is the founder and president of the Smart Dating Academy, a coaching agency that helps clients “make dating fun, inspiring and focused” in their pursuit of a meaningful relationship. You can follow her and Smart Dating Academy on Instagram.