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Online Dating Enters January Like a Lion, Leaves Like an ‘Ex’

Just as gyms and diet programs fill up as the calendar turns, online dating sites get as crowded as a trendy nightclub in January. But if your new year's resolution involves finding love, you'd best get busy, experts say.

January is the busiest month of the year for online dating and the most likely time to meet a new romantic partner. The dating site Plenty of Fish says that users who log on this month are 15 percent more likely to get a match than at any other time of year.

But around Feb. 1, when the bootcamp and aerobarre classes begin to thin out and salads give way to hamburgers, Internet romance sites also cool down.

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"Though we see users a lot more engaged in the month of January, toward the end of January things just become business as normal," said Dawoon Kang, cofounder of dating app Coffee Meets Bagel.

The phenomenon appears to have parallels with the well-documented drop-off in fitness and dieting vows that occurs as old habits reassert themselves.

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"I'd guess that less than 50 percent of folks stay on task with fitness-wellness goals," personal trainer Andia Winslow told NBC News.

So what's the secret to sticking with the resolve to eat better, get fit or find love? The answer, experts in all three areas agree, is to manage expectations and to for employ a strategy that gives you a chance to succeed.

Signing up for a dating app and then sitting back waiting to be messaged, for example, is no strategy for success.

Suzanna Mathews, aka the Date Maven, said searching for a partner requires a commitment similar to a job search.

"It requires time and effort and patience," she said. "And just as with the job search, it shouldn't be your only tool in the toolbox."

Erika Ettin, a relationship coach who specializes in online dating, agreed. "Rather than joining five sites or apps and not writing to any of your matches, try really maximizing your results on just two of them. Too many people get matches and then don't write. Isn't the point to meet eventually?"

Kang, of Coffee Meets Bagel, agreed, adding that time spent polishing your profile is well spent.

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"Take the time to write a few words about yourself," she said. "A lot of people spend three seconds on their profile or don't chat or don't arrange a meet up -- guess what? You are not going to get results if you don't do anything!"

Whatever your resolution may be, make sure you've set a realistic goal where you're not setting yourself up for failure.

"Ninety percent of the people out there are not your future partner," dating coach Evan Marc Katz told NBC. "You think you're going to fall in love within 28 days? Don't put pressure on yourself. It's more about a dedication to the process."