Are you over 50 and looking for love? Here are eight ways to improve your chances of meeting someone special in 2017.
TRY ONLINE DATING TODAY:Visit Match.com
See also: Dating in your 50s-plus? What NOT to ask on a first date
See also: Dating after divorce - dos and don'ts
1. Don't turn down an invitation
Going out over the festive period can be exhausting. After all those parties and family get-togethers, you could be forgiven for wanting to stay home and watch the latest Bridget Jones movie – but don't! New evening courses start in January and your gym will be organising events to help you get fit. Make the effort to go out and you'll meet new people - plus, you're likely to feel better and happier in yourself.
2. Vary your routine
Do you always buy your morning cappuccino from the same cafe and stand at the same end of the train platform? If you're finding it difficult to strike up conversations with new people, try varying your routine. So, if you always go to yoga on a Tuesday, try Pilates on a Saturday instead. Making a few small changes can open up a lot more opportunities.
3. Great friend material
Don't let your desire to meet someone special take over your life. Sign up to the course you fancy doing and spend time with friends as well as looking for love. If you are true to yourself and follow your heart, you're far more likely to meet someone with shared interests and passions.
Focus on meeting new people – of both sexes – rather than meeting a potential new partner. It will help take the pressure of you to meet someone when you go out - and having a mutual friend to introduce you is much easier than chatting to someone cold.
4. Spread the word
Let friends and family do some of the hard work and find a potential date for you. Be upfront about what you're looking for – age, height, job, situation, etc. If you don't specify what you want, there's less chance you'll get it. Equally, be open to the idea of meeting someone who isn't necessarily your 'type'. There could be a connection between you that isn't obvious until you get to know one another.
5. Give them a chance
Do you give your dates a fighting chance? Make a list of everyone you dated in 2016 and write down why it didn't work out. If you tend to do most of the rejecting it's time to be honest with yourself. Are you really ready for a relationship? Next time you're not sure about someone, go on at least three dates before you make up your mind. It takes at least that long to get to know someone.
6. Forget the past
The New Year is the perfect time to make a promise to be more positive. No one is immune from knock-backs and break ups – not even A-list celebrities. Stop being hard on yourself and accept rejection with good grace. People who regain their confidence and get back out there are far more likely to meet someone special.
7. Makeover your mind
It's easy to get a new haircut and buy new clothes but not so easy to make over your mind. The beliefs we have about ourselves are very often outdated and can hold us back. Perhaps you were picked on at school or you were a doormat in your last relationship. Who you were then isn't who you are now. Yes, it's part of your experience but you've grown since then. Remind yourself of your achievements and say goodbye to the past.
8. Challenge yourself
In order to change what you're getting out of life you have to change what you're putting in. Doing something different can be scary, especially at first, but the more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the easier it gets. If you've never joined a social group, have a look online and see what's happening near you. Sites such as Meet Up advertise all kinds of interest groups, some for the over 50s.
If you like walking, what about joining a ramblers group for the 40-50s? If you don't have anyone to go on holiday with, book yourself a singles break for the over 50s, such as Saga Travel or Solo Holidays.
And if you haven't tried online dating yet, why not give it a three-month trial?