Spring has finally arrived. Inspired by the beauty of nature’s rebirth, many singles are enlivened with thoughts of romance. As our hopes and dreams of meeting someone special are awakened, so are our concerns for love’s success.

Though we live in a world with seemingly endless opportunities to meet people, finding love can feel like searching for the needle in a haystack. Serial dating can quickly become a rigorous job that ends in limited prospects. What’s the best way to focus our efforts?

Surprisingly, the formula for dating success is rather simple. No need for hours of sifting through online profiles and ending up on bad, boring dates. The key to getting the love you want lies in mental preparation. Not to worry. This is nothing like your masters thesis. It only takes answering three small questions to gain one huge benefit.

You need to know what you want, why you want it, and how you want to experience love. Without these three pillars of purpose all your dating efforts will fail to bring you joy. Your answers serve as guideposts to partner selection, behavior and attaining your goal.

Ask yourself:

1. “What do I want?”

This essential question often goes unanswered. What you seek should contain the elements you want to experience. Most people get turned around on this point. They do just the opposite by spending their time asking, “What does he/she want?” The question you should be asking is, “What do I want?”

How many times have you asked a friend, “What do you think he/she wants?” This approach guarantees being tossed about by the wants and needs of those you date, with no input as to your preferred outcome. Though you may find your way to some form of romantic involvement, chances are slim it will be the type of connection that makes you happy.

As a confident, self-possessed individual, the only thing you need to determine is what you want from your partner. Once that’s clearly established, proceed with honesty and consistency in your language, actions and behavior.

2. “Why am I dating?”

Dating for fun is an entirely different mindset than dating for commitment. It’s vital that you know which of these two paths you’re ready to take in order to make dating enjoyable. The answer to this question refines your purpose and builds upon your “what” answer.

Are you looking to sample a variety of partners? Do you want to have fun and see where life takes you? Or, are you looking for a serious relationship that involves living together or marriage? If you don’t know your end goal before you start, you’ll end up going nowhere.

Knowing your “what” and “why” gives you a consistent energetic signal that attracts prospective partners with the same goals. Identifying your end-goal eliminates confusion in partner selection as it becomes easy to distinguish between a good romantic match and those you should let pass.

3. “How do I want my romance to function, look and feel in the real world?”

The final step in preparing for love is to ask yourself “how” you’d like to experience your romance. How do you want to feel with your mate? What’s the main reason for this person entering your life? What does this relationship look like in the real world? Your answer should include your day-to-day interactions and the types of activities you might do together. How involved are you in each other’s lives? Perhaps you’d like to travel together or spend time with friends and family. Be specific. You want to experience the type of happiness that reflects your values and lifestyle.

How joined or how independent you want to be is up to you. This question allows you to be creative. Eliminate the parts of a relationship you haven’t liked and add in the parts you do like. Designing the type of love you want includes not only the main goals, but the finer details as well.

In today’s world, love takes on many forms and formats of expression. People are actively creating a love that works for them. Traditional relationship models have offered us a basic outline. We’re free to alter its components to suit our taste and desires.

What you want out of love may not look like what your friends or neighbor’s want. This is the evolution of love as it mirrors the evolution of society. No longer living life from a template of restricted designs, we can do it our way. We can design the type of relationships we want. We have the right to ask for what we truly want.

This is your life to create as you wish. The way you express love and how it looks in the world can be as individual as you are. There are no wrong answers. And surprisingly, the more specific you become the easier it is to identify the person who wants what you want.

Getting clear on your reasons for love will serve you well. Knowing your “what,” “why” and “how” gives you a road map to the kind of relationship that works for you and makes you happy. Now that you have a mental design for the quality of partnership you seek, you’re on your way to stunning success.