As a matchmaker and dating mentor, I get it. Dating can be an overwhelming process. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing you can do to improve your chances of finding the right one. And then many of you have put huge amounts of time and energy into following every tip and trick out there. You’ve read the books. You’ve gone to the classes. You’ve been praying. Now you’re waiting for your soul mate to appear.

From my experience with a wide variety of my clients, “waiting” will not lead you to your other half. Here are three things you can do while dating... instead of waiting.

1. Before you reach out, reach in

You’ve heard the expression, “One step forward and two steps back.” Here’s my revision of this expression: One step back and two steps forward. Your very first step should be a step back. Take a step back; really listen to yourself and make sure that everything you’ve been working towards is really what you want. When you tell people what you’re looking for, is that you talking? Make sure it’s you, and not your friends’, mentors’ or family’s opinions that are being relayed.

Once you have taken that time and have some clarity on what you really want, a good thing to do is stay in the moment of one step back. Before running to find your soul mate, look at the people you have already met, known or dated. Evaluate this list carefully and make sure you haven't passed up your potential spouse. My clients usually tell me there is no one for them from their past. However, after having made and evaluated their list, more often than not we find someone from the past to date or at least look into again. And surprisingly, many clients have married people they already knew.

When you are confident you won't be marrying anyone you already know, then proceed to looking into other options. Sometimes it isn’t about finding the right person, but recognizing them. The best way to do that is to start by reaching in.

2. Know your D.E.W. date

What’s a D.E.W. date? It’s your ideal dating timeline, what your process would look like if you ran the world for a moment. When would you want to start dating? Supposing you meet your soul mate on that date, when would you like to get engaged? And after that milestone, how long would you like it to be before your wedding day? D.E.W.: Dating, Engagement, Wedding.

There is no right or wrong answer to this question; there is only your answer. But we need dates! Why? So we know that your vision is in line with your current reality.

If you say, “Sure, I’d love to be engaged tomorrow and married next week!” I would answer, “Really? That won’t work for you if you would like friends and family members at the wedding.” Look at your real life, your real schedule and what is happening today and in the coming months. See if your plan aligns with your life. Now you’re ready to plug in dates. Start with today’s date (or if you aren’t ready to start dating today, start with your chosen future date). If you want to be engaged six months from today and married six months after that, go to your calendar and mark down those dates (including the year).

Here’s a sample timeline:

D________________ E________________ W_______________
(January 1st, ‘14) (April 1st, ‘14) (August 1st, ‘14)

Look at your own dates. Do they sound right? Feel right? Do they make sense with all that you have going on in your life? You’ll know when you have it right when you look at the timing and think, “Yup, I can D.E.W. that.”

Having a set timeline will help you to understand your own goals. And you won’t be frustrated if you aren’t meeting anyone else’s timeline. It will also help you to keep thinking clearly about your dating process.

3. Make sure you’re using your WHYpower as well as your willpower

Why do you want to be married? Notice that I’m not asking you if you want to be married. I’m asking why? I know you want to be married; I know you have the willpower. But when your willpower isn't enough to get you married, it's time to combine your willpower with your WHYpower. Your why is your motivation, your value. It keeps your will going. Why do you want to be married? Make a list right now!

I imagine your list probably includes some selfless reasons, maybe some selfish reasons, some universal human reasons and perhaps some Jewish reasons. Whatever is on the list, it is not for judging but rather for noticing and understanding why you want to be married. Knowing why you want to be married is the foundation for getting engaged, getting married and staying married to the same person forever. I’m sure you know that the statistics on long term relationships aren’t terribly favorable and that the divorce rate is high. Living by your why can help you beat those odds.

We see this with dieting. A clear and important reason for being on that diet will stop you from eating that delicious cookie. That’s because your why is a value. If you value your health and that cookie might harm it, you’ll stay away from the cookie. If you value your safety, tapping into that value can bring your foot off the gas pedal even when you’re in a real hurry. So the trick to getting married and staying married is to first engage your will, then activate your why.

Instead of waiting and distracting yourself, add these three items to your to-do list. And may your journey to your soul mate be sweet and short, and may you have good people to help you along the way.