Top view of young businessman making decision, thought cloud above head with a question mark

Decision Making That Will Stick: Mediation Examples You Can Learn From


I hear “I should…” all the time.

General Life Examples of I Should Decision Making:

  • I should go to the gym…(but watches more TV instead)
  • I should go on a diet…(but digs in to her ice cream instead)
  • I should save more money…(but shops online instead)
  • I should call her and mend fences…(but holds the grudge instead)

I should, I should, I should…

Mediation Examples of I Should Decision Making:

  • Divorce Mediation: “I should stop bringing it up…” (but she does anyway)
  • Parent Teen Mediation: “I should stop suffocating her and give her more space…” (but she texts every hour anyway)
  • Marital Mediation: “I should apologize…” (but he remains defensive anyway)

I should, I should, I should…

Red Flag Decision Making

How often do you say I should in a week when you are trying to make your own decisions?

Too many times would be my guess.

To my ears any sentence beginning with I should is a red flag. It most likely means that you are feeling pressured or compelled to do (or not do) something based on the expectations of someone else. It is natural of course for our decisions to be influenced by others.

But think about it – isn’t there a difference between being influenced to make your own decisions and the influencer making decisions for you?

The thing with I shoulds is that they often do not lead to action. More often than not they are code for “Well, I kinda want to but not really.” And what normally happens with a “well, I kinda want to but not really?”


Decision Making 2.0: Mediation Examples Illustrate a Better Approach

There are a lot of strategies to help folks make better decisions like this one I read that provide four useful strategies. But what if you were to make just one change?

Stop saying I should and instead say I will.

What do you think would happen if you replaced I should with I will?

Would you be more likely to follow through on your decision making? More likely to make your own decisions (versus someone else making decisions for you)? My guess is yes and yes. After all, the way we think and talk can have a great influence on the way we behave.

Let’s take a look at the three mediation examples from earlier – when I replace I should with I will, do they sound or feel different to you?

  • Divorce Mediation: “I will stop bringing it up…”
  • Parent Teen Mediation: “I will stop suffocating her and give her more space…”
  • Marital Mediation: “I will apologize…”

In what ways do you think replacing I should with I will can change the way you make your own decisions? Or someone you know?

Please comment below – I would love to hear from you!