Living the Dream

This is how you get what you want…

How to improve your communication skills: be an effective listener March 8, 2009

Listening seems easy enough, but actually it’s an art that requires much time and practice to master. We’ve all encountered situations in which we’ve misinterpreted or made assumptions about what somebody said, only to lead to massive misunderstanding and possibly arguments! This is why it’s critical to be an active listener. When you are in the listener role, your job is to support the person who is speaking. You are not going to get very far if you just sit there and let their words go in one ear and out the other. If you care about the speaker, let them know through active listening.

Ways to respond while your partner is speaking:

  1. Show that you understand your partner’s statements and accept his/her right to have those thoughts and feelings, even if you disagree with their content. Let him/her speak for some time before interjecting with your own speech. When you do pipe up, reflect and summarize your partner’s most important feelings, desires, conflicts, and thoughts. Especially focus on feelings, as this is often what can deepen the conversation and lead to a deeper level of understanding. This means you’ll be doing some guesswork regarding what your partner is really trying to say- it’s trial and error. Sometimes you’ll get it wrong, sometimes you’ll be right on target. With practice, you’re going to improve.
  2. Demonstrate this acceptance through your tone of voice, facial expressions, and posture.
  3. Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and look at the situation from his/her perspective, in order to determine how s/he feels and thinks about the issue. If there’s a problem at stake, your partner already has the solution. Thing is, s/he may not be aware of it due to confusion or emotional overload. That’s where your critical role as the listener comes in. The listener’s job is to do some detective work and help the speaker come to peace with the topic at hand. As mentioned in #1, you must try to peel back the layers of what your partner has said and figure out what is going on underneath. Focus on feelings, try to guess what is at stake for your partner. Use your partner’s words– there’s no better way to make a person feel validated than by using their language.

While you are the listener, DO NOT:

  1. Express your own opinion or perspective.
  2. Think about how your partner’s words affect you– your job is to be helping them when you are in the listener role. You will get your turn as the speaker.
  3. Offer solutions or attempt to solve a problem without being asked.
  4. Make judgments or evaluate what your partner said.


With these skills, we hope you will become a better, more active listener!


How to hold a successful yard sale July 30, 2008

Filed under: Archives,How to... — mammyflop @ 11:55 pm
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“One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”

aka a perfect time for a yard sale.

We have all heard of this proverb but rarely believe it. How could anyone else want my old shower curtain, or my old art supplies… You would be surprised. If you find yourself swimming in a house full of ”trash”, and want to do a nice purging of the living space a yard sale or garage sale is the way to go.

Although you won’t be able to go into retirement from your yard sale funds, it’s always nice to have a little extra spending / redecorating cash. Yard sales are a great way to motivate yourself to sort through those boxes and clean house. Don’t be too generous to the trash can when cleaning, you would be amazed at some of the things people want to buy… Think about it, you wanted that ”trash” at one point in time.

So next time you find yourself frustrated with the lack of space or annoyed because your house is full of junk, get everyone together to have a yard sale. This world is divided into those who like yard sales and those who think it’s a waste of time. My belief is that if you are going to get rid of the stuff, might as well make an event out of it. Who knows how much spending cash you can make in one morning!

Materials you need:

– Price Stickers


-Change – coins and cash


-Mirror ( if you have clothing)


-Pen / Paper

-Poster Board / Boxes / Cardboard

– Tables

– Plastic Bags

– Lots of stuff to sell!

1- Before you can even get started with planning the ultimate yard sale – make sure you have enough stuff. Go through all your stuff and see what items are able to be resold. General rule of thumb is that even if you have used it – if it’s in good condition, and has some life left in it — you can sell it. *Make sure that your item is functional – last thing you want to do is sell a broken item *

2- Organize your items by category /price. For example, put all your books together and price them accordingly… Organization is key to a great yard sale!

3- Price your items individually. With the exclusion of grouped items ( books, pens/ pencils, old CDs, DVDs) make sure you price each item separately. Try to put a sticker on each item rather than grouping items and then having a price chart. Individual pricing makes is a lot easier to calculate your items, and less likely that people will try to trick you with the wrong pricing. As far as books and grouped items go, put them all in a box / container according to value – and label the box.

4- Pick a date. Make sure you avoid holiday weekends because a lot of people will already have previous plans, and miss your fabulous yard sale! Figure out what day you want to have it and also what time you want to start. Yard sales usually do better if you start early.. this is speaking from personal experience. *Not to mention, starting earlier means you can get out of the blazing heat faster* If you don’t want early birds, make sure you write that on your sign.. otherwise you may find people peering in while you are still setting up.

5- Know your demographic. When having a yard sale it’s important to know your ”client”…just like any other business. Knowing your client is important so you can have a good idea of what kind of items will sell, and for what price.

6- Check with your city, local government and / or homeowner’s association to see if there are any sign posting guidelines. Depending on your area, you may have to obtain a permit before opening up shop.

7- Start advertising! Make sure you give yourself enough time to put an ad in the local newspaper. Try posting an ad onto online communities and other classified websites. Good websites to post on are or

8-Time to make your signs! Don’t underestimate the power of the street signs. I am always surprised by the number of people who stumble upon my yard sales as a result of my bright, eye-catching signs. Signs are a great way to catch those yard sale shoppers. When making the signs try to use large, bold lettering and make sure you put an arrow in the right direction. Don’t put too much writing on the signs- you don’t want to cause any accidents from people trying to read the tiny writing. Write down the necessary info: YARD SALE, location, date, time. If you have the luxury to post the signs up a day or two early — do it! Just make sure you have the date on the sign. At the latest- try to post the signs up early, early morning on the day of your sale. Again, the longer your sign is up – the more people will see it. After posting your sign – drive by the signs to make sure they are visible. *If you don’t have the time / artistic skill to make bright, bold posters- generate an online poster. There are various websites with Yard Sale Sign generators and here are some: and

*A great sign making tip from the “YARDSALEQUEEN” at is to use paper bags as signs. This is such a great idea! Get a hold of paper grocery bags- write your information on the blank side ( or post your poster onto the bag) – add rocks to the bottom – staple bag shut and you instantly have a great sign!! SUCH A GREAT IDEA ( easier clean up too!)

9- Day of your sale – make sure you stock up on plastic bags. Having plastic bags to put your sold items in will make the shopping experience that much more pleasant for the customer.

10- Get lots of change. Depending on how you price your items, you will need to have lots of change and small bills. When I had my last garage sale – I made sure I stocked up on a lot of quarters and coins, since I had a lot of smaller items.

11- Set up your sale in an orderly manner. An organized selling area will result in your customers wanting to take a closer look. It’s just like shopping at a sale in a department store, it’s so much easier to shop when it’s organized. Try to put your ”hot” items up in front – so people driving by can spot them. I put a lot of my larger, new items up in front so people can see the large showcase of items at my sale.

12- Be kind and greet all your customers. Time to release the inner salesperson. Make sure you explain the pros of the item your customer is interested in. If they try to haggle the price with you – use your own discretion. If you think another customer will pay the marked price- say no. If you don’t think there will be another buyer, take their offer.

13- I usually start slashing prices an hour before closing time. You will find that many pro- yard sale shoppers will come towards the end of the sale — and they are looking for the real deals. Try to package items up and sell them at discounted rates.

14- If you have a lot of items left over at the conclusion of your sale- you have a couple of options. Save the items you think have value, and bring them out for your next sale. Donate larger items to a charity of your choice (they will usually come pick up the items). Or, you can post an ad for free items and just get rid of everything.

15- Make sure you clean up after yourself- Take down signs.

Having a yard sale can be a therapeutic experience.. you get to cleanse your home, while making a little extra money. Although moments of the yard sale can be stressful, it’s a great way to recycle usable products to those who want a great deal!

There are so many factors that go into yard sales. I have found the following link to be extremely helpful in my planning / executing of yard sales. For more information on yard sales please visit the Queen, at She has some great do’s and dont’s, along with great links!

Good luck!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENT!  — YES, a free box does wonders! All the little items do extremely well with a free box. Concessions are great too… especially with the hot, summer days – cold drinks do great.  T


How to be prepared for an Earthquake (Earthquake Survival Kit) July 29, 2008

Filed under: Archives,How to... — mammyflop @ 5:56 pm
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If you live in Southern California, you probably felt the earthquake this morning. Even though you learn to DROP, COVER and HOLD ON, when the walls start to rattle and the floor starts to roll –those 3 steps go out the window. If this morning’s earthquake had been a drill I would have failed. I did not drop, I did not cover, and I did NOT hold on. Instead, I looked around, screamed and started running down the stairs and outside. After the earthquake had calmed down, I realized that I need to brush up on my earthquake readiness plan and kit.

Although there isn’t a sure way of detecting an earthquake pre- rumble, you can be prepared for mother nature’s roar. By following the below steps, you and your loved ones will prepared and alert when the quake hits.

1 – Make sure everyone is on the same page. Pick an retreat location in each room. Although running to a doorway / door frame is a popular spot, the safest spot is to hide under a sturdy table.

2-After the shaking, retreat outside and make sure you have everyone. Watching the news coverage regarding this morning’s earthquake said that land lines have a better chance of working than your cell phone. So, if you need to make a phone call try to use a land line, or send a text message. Text messages use less bandwidth than phone calls so you are more likely to get a hold of the person. Try not to make phone calls unless they are an emergency!

3- Locate your emergency earthquake kit. This should have the essential items to aide in your survival – should you experience a bad shake.

Emergency Earthquake Kit:

– Flashlight ( Battery operated )

– Radio (Battery operated)

-Extra batteries

– Water – lots of water

-First Aid Kit


-Canned Food ( and can opener)

4- After the quake and the coast is clear, do a quick walk around the house to make sure there isn’t structural damage and / or gas leaks. Fires are easily started after earthquakes so make sure you don’t smell any gas leaking… If you do, turn off the gas.

Hopefully every one will be okay and there won’t be any major damages. If you do experience an earthquake don’t put the emergency kit away because you never know when an aftershock may hit. Hope you will be well prepared but won’t have to use your earthquake kit! If you have any other earthquake or natural disaster readiness tips, please feel free to comment!


How To Get What You Want In LAS VEGAS October 24, 2007

Filed under: How to...,Travel — mammyflop @ 6:34 pm
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WHAT HAPPENS IN LAS VEGAS …. STAYS IN LAS VEGAS. Here’s your guide on the best places to visit for going out, gambling and having the ultimate Sin City Experience. Las Vegas has changed since the days of gambling halls, and showgirls. There is so much to do in this wonderful city many people call home.


– WYNN HOTEL : Your experience at this luxury resort can be described in one word: Opulence. Talk about luxury. When you enter your room, you will find yourself facing a wall to ceiling window with amazing views. ( Try and request the Strip view) Decked out with plasma TVs, your own business center ( including fax and internet connection), this room is amazing. Now, most of the time when you are in Vegas you don’t want to be cooped up in your room – not here. Slip into the most comfortable bed in the world. Talk about beauty sleep. If you want to luxury at your fingertips, stay here.

-THE VENETIAN: The rooms at the Venetian are great for larger parties, for those who want some space. Not only do you get your sleeping area, there is also a section for relaxing and / or getting some work done (yes, there is a business center here too). The Venetian also has some great shopping so you can get that perfect outfit in the comfort of your own hotel.

-BELLAGIO: The water show hotel! Need we say more? This hotel is extravagant, and definitely for the high rollers. The rooms are grandiose and very sophisticated. The rooms are very spacious with extra seating available. This hotel has been featured in various movies… can you guess which ones?

– CAESARS PALACE – THE AUGUSTUS TOWER: Las Vegas big shot renovates the Augustus tower. The rooms in this tower are amazing. Large plasma screen TVs, great decor, very spacious seating area, and amazing bathrooms. Don’t forget the amazing views, and the shopping.


– Upon checking in ask if there is any way you can get an upgrade. Some times the hotel will be able to sneak in a free upgrade … if you ask nicely 🙂

-If you want to get an upgrade try this : tell the attendant at check in that you are in Las Vegas celebrating a special event. Proposal, Anniversary, Wedding, they may be able to give you some added perks.

OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY LAS VEGAS (other than gambling and going out):

-RED ROCK: You may be in the middle of the desert but there is a lot of nature to be found! Just 15 min away from the strip, you can find the 10+ hiking trails of Red Rock Canyon. You can enjoy your whole day walking along the trails, possibly even seeing little animals.

– SHOPPING: There is some amazing shopping in Sin City. You may be able to find one of the malls in your hotel, but the best is Fashion Show Mall. Conveniently located on the strip, you will never be away from a brand new outfit!

*Check out your hotel… there is a lot of things to see right on the strip*


-LAX: Located at the Luxor, the people who brought you PURE have done it again with LAX. With amazing celebrity appearances weekly, LAX is a great place to go dancing. The resident DJs play good music. The club is 2 levels… with the dance floor on the middle of the first floor. Lots of tables, and booths available for bottle service. BEST NIGHTS: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday

-TAO: Located at the Venetian, this spot is still hot. With multiple levels, and rooms, this place has something for everyone. During the summer, guests have access to Tao Beach as well. With multiple dance floors, this place is larger than other places in Vegas. As great as it is .. beware- this place can get very crowded. BEST NIGHTS: Thursday, Friday, Saturday

-BODY ENGLISH: Located in the Hard Rock Hotel ( off the strip) this place is insane. It usually gets packed by midnight so you have to get in as early as possible. The music is great, and the drinks are always flowing. The great thing about this club is that there is a second level of tables overlooking the dance floor. This way, those of you who pay the extra for bottle service have your own special area while looking over the club. BEST NIGHTS: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

-PURE: Located in Caesars Palace, this place is VEGAS. As seen in every major magazine, this place is where the Pussycat Dolls perform, it’s where all the celebrities have their birthday parties. It’s a must see VEGAS club. BEST NIGHTS: Friday, Saturday

– MOON/ PLAYBOY CLUB: Located in the Palms Casino this place gets you a 2 for 1 deal. One of the newest clubs in Las Vegas, Moon and Playboy Club get you to the top of the new Palms tower, over looking all of Las Vegas. Moon has an amazing sound system, outdoor areas and escalators taking you to the one of a kind Playboy Club. The Playboy Club features a bar, dance floor, and gambling. Every man’s dream come true. But beware- the gambling tables at the Playboy Club seem to have high limits so make sure you know what you are getting into. BEST NIGHTS: Tuesday, Friday, Saturday

As always, this is just a sampling of what Las Vegas has to offer. A great way to get the best of Las Vegas is to talk to your concierge at your hotel. If you want to get the most bang for your gambling buck you might want to get a player’s card so you can earn some points and goodies!

Viva Las Vegas!


How to succeed (and thrive!) in grad school October 22, 2007

Filed under: Archives,Education,How to... — mammyflop @ 9:18 pm
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As if getting into grad school wasn’t hard enough, actually surviving it is even tougher. Here are some tried and true suggestions that will help you make it though grad school – and maybe even enjoy it! 🙂

Befriend others in your program

You’re going to be spending a great deal of your time surrounded by people in your program, so you might as well make it a pleasant experience. Heck, you may even end up making a few life-long friends. It makes such a difference when you’re excited to see your classmates – going to school isn’t as big a drag as it could be because you get to look forward to hanging out with your buds!

Don’t try to do all the reading

If you’re hearing this for the first time, it might sound crazy to you. How are you supposed to show that you’re dedicated to school, willing to do what it takes to succeed, and not be made a fool of when called upon in class if you don’t pore over every word in the 100s of pages of assigned weekly reading?!? The simple answer is: you don’t need to worry so much. It’s just not worth it! Eventually you’ll realize that it’s also impossible. Here’s what you do: read what’s interesting to you, and skim the rest. Just make sure to read something each week for each class. You want to get something out of it, right? Don’t be so determined to get through everything that you don’t process anything.

Don’t try to do all the reading

See above.

Commit to your community

Get hobbies, pick up a sport, volunteer with local nonprofits, join a local language club, take a cooking class. The point is to get involved with SOMETHING non-academic that is a scheduled activity. This way, school is not your life, but one, albeit substantial, portion of your life. I know you’re probably thinking- I don’t have time for any of this! In truth, you really do have extra time, and more important, you have valid interests that extend beyond school. Chances are if you’ve made it this far, you’re not just Mammy the grad student- you might actually be Mammy the animal loving, environmental activist, marathon running, delicacy baking grad student. Pursuing outside interests will aid in your personal growth, give you new perspectives on life, and make you happy. This will spill over into school success. It’s important that you be committed to your hobby, otherwise school can easily encroach upon it and consume you! Don’t become a slave to your program! Make school just one thing you do.

Punctuate your work with planned festivities

Plan activities that you can look forward to! These things don’t have to be really time-consuming, but planning even a 1-2 hour coffee date with an old friend may keep your attitude positive through the week as you excitedly work towards it. Try the following: meet friends for dinner, try new restaurants, go to concerts, plays, movies, have friends in from out of town, check out local bars and farmer’s markets, go for hikes, play tennis, check out your school’s football or basketball games, have a pot-lucks with friends, and Mammy’s favorite- vacations! The bottom line is to plan things that keep you going through the week and the semester!

Get involved with your program

Don’t just scoot by doing the minimum. You know what they call the person who graduates dead last in their medical school class?? ……Doctor. Don’t be dead last in your class. You’ll need stellar letters of recommendation for residencies, internships, and jobs, and you need to show the faculty that you’re worthy of top positions. Help plan seminars, be on journal clubs, volunteer or find out about paid opportunities to work in a faculty member’s lab- all things to do so that faculty get to know you better, and write you better letters of rec. In addition, you’ll gain a broader perspective on your field, and perhaps identify surprising new areas of interest!

Get to know faculty informally

Aside from your academic and professional prowess, the faculty should get to know you on a more personal level. Make sure to interact with them at luncheons, colloquia, in the elevator, in the department office, etc. All of these microinteractions are opportunities for them to find out what an all-around nice, intelligent, and motivated person you are- in and outside of the classroom.

Have non-school friends

As important as it is to get along with your program mates, it’s equally important to maintain outside friendships with individuals not involved in your program. As has been mentioned in this list, school can easily consume you, so it’s important that you safeguard against this. You’ll want to maintain friendships with people who you know from various life stages. Whether it be having a weekly phone date with your high school friend, a monthly coffee date with your girl from college, or just randomly making plans with others from your life, make sure you put effort in to foster these older relationships. This is important for life in general! It’s heartwarming and special to maintain old friendships. Keep in mind that others in your program will have outside friends, too, so if you rely on them too much for your social outlet, then you might find yourself home alone on a Saturday night watching Crossroads (which is fine, sometimes…).


Yup, that’s right. Maybe it sounds crazy, but you really shouldn’t try to get too far ahead. In classes, assignments and due dates frequently change. Therefore, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by trying to get too far ahead in your work. Take things one step at a time, and if you find yourself with free time- spend it having fun!

Balance your priorities

There will be times when others make you feel guilty about not spending time with them. This is probably the most difficult part of being a grad student. It feels awful to turn people down when you’d truly rather spend time with them. At the same time, it’s frustrating when others don’t seem to understand how much work you have. This is a matter of priorities- both school and your relationships/family/friendships are probably at the top of your list. It can be challenging to achieve a balance, but know that you never have to keep one above the other for long. It’s a game of back and forth, and it’s your job to distinguish between times it’s appropriate to sacrifice school for life, and times you should stick to your guns and do your work. This takes some feeling out, but you’ll get it right. Generally, if you’ve got a due date approaching, stick to your guns. If you don’t, and you’re just trying to get ahead- which there’s no point in doing- you may as well kick back and have fun. What good is the ride if you don’t enjoy it?

Bottom line: You’re sacrificing a lot, and it’s inevitable that you’ll feel overwhelmed at some point. But seriously, don’t let grad school take your entire life- you’ll become a sad, unhealthy burnout. What got you into grad school in the first place was your ability to fit you uniqueness in with academic and professional demands. You gotta keep rolling like this, maintaining that individuality, those quirks, that zest for life!


How To Jump Start Your Car October 16, 2007

Filed under: How to... — mammyflop @ 1:19 pm
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How to Jump Start your Car… you may not see a use for this, or you may think it’s common sense but in the heat of the moment you might be a little lost. Mammie recently relocated to lovely Las Vegas from sunny Southern California, and during her drive …. there was some car trouble. After a rest stop, the car wouldn’t start!!! I grabbed the jumper cables, ready to do what I’ve seen a thousands of times … but I got flustered. Thank goodness, I was able to get the following directions:

1.If your car doesn’t start- don’t panic. Make sure you are in a safe area. ( Usually the case, since you were probably parked somewhere)… Make sure your car is in park and the brakes are on. Your car will be referred to as WEAK CAR from here on out.

2. Find someone with a vehicle that is larger than yours. Since you are using the other vehicle’s power, you want to make sure there is enough battery to charge your car. Translation: Don’t find a 2 seater to jump start your monster truck. If you don’t have jumper cables, make sure the other person does before moving to step 3. The working vehicle will be referred to as STRONG CAR from here.

3. Park STRONG CAR next to or facing WEAK CAR. The hoods should be in close distance.

4. Turn off STRONG CAR, making sure brakes are in place.

5. Pop the hoods of both cars.

6. Take the jumper cables to STRONG CAR and put the positive clamp (red clamp) over the positive terminal (indicated witha + sign).

7. Take the jumper cable to the WEAK CAR and put the other positive clamp (red) over the positive (+) terminal.

8.Take the STRONG CAR negative clamp (black) and place it over the negative (-) terminal of the STRONG CAR battery.

9. Place the remaining negative clamp (black) on a good solid shiny, non painted metal part of the engine. *Be careful – there may be a mini spark when attaching negative clamps*

10. Once cables are attached turn on your STRONG CAR and let the engine run for a few minutes. ( WEAK CAR is still off)

11. After a few minutes, hop into WEAK CAR and turn the key to see if the dashboard lights turn on. If they do- it’s a good sign! Try starting your engine. If it doesn’t start (but your lights work ) – let the battery charge a little bit before trying again. If the car doesn’t start and the lights don’t work- check your clamps.

12. After turning on the WEAK CAR you can remove the cables. Removal of the cables will be in semi-opposite order – Negative (black) clamp from WEAK CAR, black clamp on STRONG CAR, red clamp of STRONG CAR (this breaks current), lastly red clamp of WEAK CAR.

13.IF YOU ARE NOT DRIVNG THE ‘WEAK’ CAR MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE THE ENGINE RUNNING FOR APPROXIMATELY 30 MIN TO FULLY CHARGE THE BATTERY. If you are driving your ‘weak’ car the battery will continue to charge itself.

There you have it …. now if your car doesn’t start you know what needs to be done. Hope you don’t have to use the skills you have just learned but … it’s one of those skills you want to have up your sleeve… just in case. As always, drive safely!!


How to improve your communication skills: Problem solving October 6, 2007

So you’re ticked off at your intimate partner for something….maybe it’s a familiar problem rearing its ugly head once again, or perhaps it’s a new issue that just surfaced. Regardless of what it is or how often it happens, trying to find a solution can be difficult and stressful, and sometimes can even lead to additional problems. Sometimes just the thought of broaching the issue is tough. The Dream Team is here to help. Below are some guidelines for solving problems with your romantic partner. These may extend to other types of relationships as well.

1. Define and specify

Phrase the issue in terms of behaviors that are currently occurring or not occurring, or in terms of what needs to be decided.

Break down large, complex problems into several smaller & more manageable problems. Deal with each of these one at a time.

Make certain that both you and your parter agree on the statement of the problem, and are willing to discuss it.

2. Importance

Explain why the issue is important to you, and what you perceive the issues involved to be.

Explain what your needs are and that you would like to see them taken into account in the solution. DO NOT offer speicific solutions at this time.

3. Brainstorm possible solutions

Time to get creative! Brainstorm every possible solution, no matter how extreme, that you can think of. *Write them down on a piece of paper.* Each solution should be concrete and specificy the behaviors involved.

4. Decide on a solution

You and your partner should independently rate each solution from 1-3 in terms of how much you favor it (1=favor very much, 2=neutral/willing to try but skeptical, 3=dislike). Cross off solutions that both of you gave a 3, since these won’t work for either of you. If there are solutions that both of you rated a “1”, focus on these. Otherwise focus on solutions that one of you rated a “1” and the other rated a “2”. The best solutions will take both partners’ needs and preferences into account, and will be focused on the present and the futue. Do not focus on solutions that meet only your needs, even if your partner is willing to accept them. This could lead to resentment and/or withdrawal by your partner down the line. Do not dwell on the past – the solution should move your relationship forward. Do not accept solutions that you do not intend to follow through with, or one that will make you angry or resentful.

Once you have selected a solution, write it in clear, specific behavioral terms (if this has not already been done). Both you and your partner should verbally restate the solution in your own words to ensure that you each understand it in the same way.

5. Trial

Select a time frame during which to implement the solution on a trial basis. Both you and your partner should mark you calendars for the date when this trial period ends. Allow for several attempts at the new solution. Review the solution at the end of the trial period. If needed, revise the solution, taking into account what you learned during the trial.

All content from:

Baucom, D. H., Epstein, N., & LaTaillade, J. J. (2002). Cognitive-Behavioral Couple Therapy. In Gurman & Jacobson (eds.). Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy. The Guilford Press: New York.