Making and keeping New Year’s resolutions is challenging—especially when you want to make the best resolutions about dating.

Don’t despair. You can make smart resolutions — and use your brain’s ability to undo old habits to keep your resolutions! Let’s start first with smart resolutions that are based on my research about love issues from thousands of people. The next section offers ways to prepare your brain for lasting change.

New Year’s New Dating Resolutions

1. I will not rely on “instant chemistry” to find mySoul Mate.

Unless you are emotionally knowledgeable about you, and highly trusting of your intuitive people-reading skills, don’t dismiss most potential partners because there isn’t instant chemistry. Give people at least a second chance. Soul mates are made—not found.

2. I will not have sex so soon.

Sex stimulates the neuro-chemical of oxytocin that makes you long for attachment to a person you hardly know. It also activates your brain’s endorphin, the hormone that makes you feel good. Having sex too soon hijacks your reason. Smart dating decisions need both your heartfelt feelings and a clear head.

3. I will go on many “un-dates.”

Make your dates resemble real life – which is where you will spend most of your couple time! Hang out with friends or go to lunch and local events. Observe how this person treats wait staff, and how much this person brags or confronts you. Observe the person’s social skills, ability to go with the flow, and be patient, caring, and positive. True romance transforms the ordinary.

4. I will not “over-correct” my previous choice of mate by choosing someone who seems the opposite.

If your previous partner was too unreliable or needy, it’s tempting to look for someone who is decisive and commanding. Many of my research participants flipped between people who were too meek or mean. Rather than focus on a “type” of person, find people who offer flexible and more evenly matched relationship roles where both of you are capable, reliable, and respectful.

5. I will not move in unless we are engaged—or close to an engagement—and share a goal of setting a wedding date in the near future.

Okay—go ahead and roll your eyes now. Previous marital statistics indicated that living together was a divorce factor. These couples were ambivalent, and they reported marrying for reasons such as “we may as well get married.” Current research shows that living together with marriage in mind can be a healthy step that reduces chances of divorce.

The next section teach you how to train your brain and your reactions so you can make your dating resolutions last.

5 Beginner’s Steps to Train Your Brain for Dating

It’s not surprising that we fall into old habits. Your brain’s neural network includes connections of your unique automatic behavior for pleasure — even if that behavior is not healthy.

Here are tips for changing your experience of pleasure, and creating new, healthier brain connections:

1. Focus and select.

Make a list of the top two dating issues that concern you. For example, you might choose “meeting more people who could be potential intimate partners.”

2. Know your inner obstacles and triggers.

Get emotionally brave and intuitive to face your fears of changing your dating behavior. To tease out your inner obstacles write all the ideas that come to mind for the sentences below.

  • If I am really honest and intuitive about me, I would say that my inner obstacles to dating are: (For example, it might be: Afraid to make another mistake.)

  • The situations that trigger my fears or unwanted behavior are: (For example, it might be: Giving in to sex too soon.)

3. Imagine.

Imagine you acting differently. Your brain does not fully distinguish between imaging and actually doing something. Athletes frequently imagine making a good play. So, in your mind, imagine you acting differently.

4. Change your pleasure reward, and tough out the anxiety of behavior change.

It is not easy to change your old but unhealthy behavior. Your old ways are stubborn because you relied on them to reduce anxiety to make you feel better. Your old ways are so strong that changing them makes you feel “not you.”

Think about how you felt when you did succeed at doing things such as saying no, taking your time, not focusing on romance or just hanging out. This memory of success will initiate new brain connections for pleasure and increasing comfort with change.

5. Start small.

You will probably feel tempted to fall back on your unwanted behavior such as getting defensive or hiding out and avoiding opportunities. Your old fears are strong, but you can overcome them by taking any of these small steps:

  • Take a breath

  • Wait 1-15 minutes before acting on your old behavior

  • Divide your day into small segments such as breakfast, after breakfast, coffee break, just before lunch, lunch, just after lunch, and so on. Focus on being your best in short bursts of time is easier and more effective than making global resolutions.

  • Be willing to feel anxious for a while.

Hope these tips help! Be kind to you, and start from the beginning many times!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish is a nationally recognized psychologist and licensed clinical social worker #7132, honored for her pioneering work with women and couples’ issues in love, life, work, and happiness. The National Association of Social Workers has named her on their list of the Fifty who has contributed to the profession. She is the subject of biographical entry in many Marquis’Who’sWho publications, and is a frequent expert for websites, and radio shows. Her latest self-help, research-based books are Smart Relationships and The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie, the cartoon companion book. Do you have a story to tell about when you followed or didn’t follow your intuition? Your story could be featured in her next book about intuition! To receive gifts and tell your story, go to