The first place to start is by (knowing yourself.)
If you know your authenitc self inside and out then you know what YOU want, need, and desire most of all from a mate and relationship. From there on it's all about finding someone who "naturally" wants the same things.
Opposites may attract in the short run but "Like attracts like in the long run." If you're with someone that always wants to go left and you want to go right then you're in store for a bumpy ride.
The most difficult thing is holding back emotionally during the "infatuation phase" of any new relationship. This is the period where people tend to bend over backwards to "impress" one another. They'll do things and go places with you early on that is against their nature. It takes time to really get to know someone. Unfortunately most people aren't willing to invest enough time before moving in together or getting engage these days.
Best of luck!