So you’re looking for a significant other in the new year? Mark your calendar for the evening of Sunday, January 7, 2018 because it could be your best chance to find love. The first Sunday of the year is typically the busiest day of the year for online dating, earning it the nickname “Dating Sunday.” This year, Match predicts that the busiest minute of the night will occur precisely at 8:55 p.m. ET.

Dating Sunday is the high point of what Match calls “peak season” for online dating, which lasts from December 26 to February 14–which we hypothesize to mean that nobody wants to be single for Valentine’s Day, but once it’s over, they feel less pressure to find a partner. From the cusp New Year’s Eve until the most romantic holiday of the year, the site’s users send more than 50 million messages, upload five million new photos, and arrange for one million dates. Last year, nearly 3 million messages were sent on Dating Sunday alone.

What prompts so many single people to go online at the same time? Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy and a dating expert for Match, explains, “The census says there are 107 million single adults in this country. That’s almost 43 percent of the population–almost half. And along with that comes ‘New Year, new you’ resolutions. Falling in love is consistently at the top of the list for single people.” As for why Sundays tend to be popular in general, she says, “If you think about it, it makes sense, right? If we’re single, Friday night, we’re out. Maybe Saturday, we’re working out or brunching. Saturday night we’re out again—maybe on a date. And then Sunday, the same thing. By Sunday evening, which is typically when numbers are highest, the hangovers are down and people are like, ‘OK, I’ve got a little bit of downtime.’ There’s not as much to distract us, so people start getting back online and looking at their sites and apps.”

If you want to get in on the Dating Sunday action, Gandhi suggests planning ahead to make sure your dating profile is in great shape. She says, “90 percent of anybody’s success online is going to come from having a great set of photos. I recommend five to six good photos. A great opening headshot where you’re looking right at the camera, smiling, looking good, high resolution, well lit.” She adds, “Think about it: In real life, when you meet someone, you have, like, 30 seconds to three minutes to make a good first impression. Online, whether you’re on Match and looking at 20 different thumbnails at the same time, or you’re on a dating app where you’re swiping, you have two milliseconds to make a good first impression. That first photo is key, and then to back it up, you want to have four to five head-to-toe shots that show you in real life, dressed to impress. In today’s day and age, you cannot get away with just one head shot. People will think you have something to hide.”

When you’re deciding which photos to post, you might be tempted to post one where you’re shirtless to show the goods, but Gandhi strongly advises against it. She says, “As many times as I say on television, on radio, or on webinars, ‘Don’t have shirtless photos in there,’ for some reason, the shirtless bathroom selfie, the gym selfies, or the car selfies even, are a big deal. No. What does that say about you? It says, ‘I’m telling you what I want, which is a quick hookup.’ Having a shirtless selfie is probably not going to get you a high-quality, serious woman, if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s game over for most women who are looking for a serious relationship. Put your shirt on.”

So, you get online on Dating Sunday, you swap a few messages. Then what? Gandhi says, “I think sometimes people forget that the goal of being online is to get offline. It’s to have an actual date. You’re not looking for a pen pal. Correspond back and forth a few times and then, you know, take it to the phone. Talk on the phone. Actually connect with people over the phone.” If you’re cringing at how old-fashioned that sounds, Gandhi understands—but she’s trying to prevent you from wasting your time. She says, “I know people, especially people in their twenties, are like, ‘Nobody talks on the phone anymore,’ but you can tell a hell of a lot about someone by talking on the phone with them versus just corresponding with their digital avatar.”

If you’re tempted to skip the phone call, and go straight from messaging to meeting in person, Gandhi cautions, “That’s how a lot of people have a lot of disappointments on dates, because you jump from texting straight to the date, and then all of a sudden the guy shows up and he’s like (in a high, squeaky voice) ‘Hi, nice to meet you!’ or you know, someone’s super negative, or just doesn’t have the right vibe.” At that point, you end up frustrated that you wasted your time and money on the date.

She adds, “Think about this process as you would a job interview. Most likely, for any job that’s worth its salt, you’re not going to get to go in person right away for an interview. You’re going to do an interview on the phone with HR, so HR can do that initial screening before they actually invite you in.” Just as phone calls are helpful to narrow down potential job applicants, they can help you identify when a potential partner has serious flaws. Gandhi says, “People cannot keep crazy in the closet for more than ten minutes, so if you’re going to talk to someone on the phone, have a ten to fifteen minute conversation. If that person is truly nuts, it will come out on the phone call.”

For phone calls, Gandhi suggests steering the conversation in a positive direction. She says, “Talk about what’s good in your life, and ask good questions.” Before the call, think about how you want to present yourself. “If someone’s like ‘How was your day?’ don’t say, ‘Same old… How was yours?’ Don’t say ‘Same old.’ Find something that was good to talk about.”

Gandhi also has advice for people who’ve tried online dating in the past and felt like it just didn’t work for them. She insists, “Most things in life take hard work, and it doesn’t happen right away. I think people have this expectation that they should get on an online dating website and we have this Amazon Prime mentality. ‘Oh, I see that guy right there, I’m going to send him an email, and I want him to arrive in my mailbox in 48 hours, and if not, this site sucks.’“ She continues, "The truth of the matter is, that’s not the right mindset to have. You might not find love on your first go round or your second or your third, but you don’t want to give up on the thing that’s most important to all human beings.”

And if you’re not getting as many responses as you hoped for, this expert is here to tell you that that’s totally normal: “I do this every day, all day, and it’s very rare that I have a client of any age or ethnicity who’s getting bombarded with messages on a daily basis. These are fallacies that men create, like, ‘Oh my god, women just have to show up and they get a hundred messages in their inbox every five minutes.’ These are the stories they tell themselves which demotivate them, which makes them not email women, which makes them get off the site.”

Also, contrary to popular belief, your focus for finding a love relationship shouldn’t strictly be online. While some days you might update your photos or send a few messages through a dating app, Gandhi believes single people should also make an effort to meet people in the real world. She suggests, “Go to a Meetup group. Find things you’re interested in—maybe you’re a wine taster, maybe you like modern art. Find groups of likeminded people, and go and get yourself out, because you never know who you’re going to meet.” Even if you don’t meet any attractive single people at that particular activity, you might meet someone who wants to introduce you to one of their single friends.

Make online dating part of your daily routine, like exercise. Gandhi says, “I recommend that people put in 15 to 30 minutes a day. You’ve got to put something into this to get something out of it. You can’t get on there for five minutes a week and say, ‘Oh, I sent a message and nothing’s happening.’” She says the typical response rate is about 10 percent long term, so if you send out ten emails, you can expect one person to respond. She recommends emailing three to five new people per day, and says, “You’ve got to start to pedal the bike to get any momentum.” Start pedaling now—by getting your profile ready—and you’ll be up to speed by Sunday.

Beyond all, Gandhi urges us to remember that finding a meaningful love relationship might not happen on Dating Sunday because—like anything else worthwhile in life—the process is a marathon, not a sprint.