"Ideally, I would love to walk away from this with a fiancée," Higgins, 26, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week's issue. "I'm excited about that next step of seeing her walk down the aisle towards me."
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No matter the outcome, Higgins says he's taking a good piece of advice from former Bachelor Sean Lowe to heart. "Sean reminded me to stay true to myself and not to try to be The Bachelor, to just be Ben."
Says Higgins: "It's important for me to make sure a relationship will last. My heart and her heart are involved in this and I want to make sure it's the real thing." But ideally? "I'll be down on one knee!"
The new season of The Bachelor premieres January 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.