The Question that Could Change Your Life

by | Dec 27, 2012 | General | 10 comments

It’s that time of year again when we all consider our New Year’s resolutions. Some of us will resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, or save more money. These are all legitimate resolutions and worthy pursuits.

But are they enough?

The New Year offers us more than just an excuse to quit an unhealthy habit. If we truly think about it, the New Year gives us the opportunity to take a good, hard look at our lives and decide if we are living the life we really want to live. We are all responsible for the choices we make and the lives we lead. It’s up to us to become the people to whom we aspire. It’s up to us to decide to reach for the brass ring or let it slide by.

When I reached my early forties, I asked myself a very powerful question.

“Do I want the next 20 years to look like the last 20 years?”

I imagined myself standing at a crossroads, a four way street. I stood on the curb, toes curled over the edge.

“Do I want the next 20 years to look like the last 20 years?”

My answer was no.

Now, I could have stood there on the corner. Let another decade go by. Asked myself the same question again in another 10 years. Maybe it would get better all by itself. But I just couldn’t. For years, a little voice inside my head kept telling me that I was not living an authentic life. I wasn’t reaching my potential. I knew I had a mission here on this planet to fulfill and I knew that I wasn’t fulfilling it. That knowledge ate a hole in me. It gnawed at me.

My answer was no, and only I could make the changes necessary to become the person I knew for sure I was here to become.

So, I made the changes. And they were radical.

I left my then husband.

I moved across town.

I healed my relationship with my mother and my sister.

I filed the divorce papers.

I met a man.

We started a long-distance relationship.

I bought a new car.

We got engaged.

I moved across the country.

I got a new job.

My fiancé and I bought a new house.

We got married.

I became stepmother to two incredible daughters.

I changed my last name.

We adopted a cat.

I quit the job.

I started a new company.

I started writing this blog.

I did all of this within — sometimes I can’t believe it — in just a little more than three years’ time. Three years.

I changed pretty much everything about myself, except my DNA, in three years.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you go out and make such radical changes. But for me, it was absolutely necessary if I were to become the me I always knew I could be.

I do, however, challenge you to take a look and ask yourself that same powerful question.

“Do I want the next 20 years to look like the last 20 years?”

If your answer is yes, congratulations! That’s fabulous and I truly couldn’t happier for you.

But if your answer is no, well, you may have some work to do.

That’s the rub, isn’t it? All of the work and where to start? Well, about a year before I finally asked myself that question, I began keeping a journal. I wrote down all of the crazy thoughts that swirled in my head, that kept me up at night, that made me feel like I was trapped in a version of my life that I didn’t want to face. By writing it down in the journal, something miraculous happened. I got it out of my head. Putting it on paper helped me gain some clarity, some space, some peace between my ears. I could look back on what I’d written and realize that I didn’t have to feel that way. Eventually, I didn’t even think those thoughts anymore.  They belonged to the journal, not to me. And it was an incredible relief.

I’ll also tell you another secret. I began keeping lists. What I wanted my life to look like, who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do. The lists helped me solidify my resolve, gave me strength, and created a path through the chaos.

I knew that someday I did want to remarry. I wrote a list of 28 things I wanted in a man. A month later, I met the man who would become my husband. And because I was so very specific and clear, I actually recognized him when we met. “Oh, there you are,” I thought. Cool, huh?

I can’t guarantee that these steps will lead you to the man of your dreams, to great wealth or nirvana. But I will guarantee you that for what may be the first time in your life, you will see that your life’s journey is made up of your actions and decisions, many of which can be altered mid-course if you set your mind to it.

So, I challenge you to ask yourself the question.

Do you want the next 20 years to look like the last 20 years?

What you do with the answer is entirely up to you.




  1. lou hernandez

    You motivated me again. If your are afraid of change you never get ahead so true

  2. Kathy

    Great post, Stacie! I’ve been doing exactly this sort of reflection and I like your slant on taking stock. Time for some changes!

    • Stacie Zinn Roberts

      What better time than the New Year to usher in a New You?! Good Luck!

  3. Linda Blackman

    Stacie, thank you for an excellent, motivating post. It takes a lot of courage to do what you did but the end result was definitely worth it. I am going to ask myself the same question and see if I need to make changes in my own life. 🙂

  4. Andrea Carroll

    I’m so glad that you recognized that change was possible and that you could make a better life for yourself.

  5. Jennifer Montoya


    Great article. I too hit that crossroads, and hopefully I am now on the right path to success. In order for me to continue on the right path, I first have to shed all the weight I have been carrying on my shoulders for 20+ years. I started my own blog, and have been reading about mind-mapping. It is a great source of reading and learning how the mind works, and how we can break old habits and create new ones.

    Knowledge is power. All the best.

    • Stacie Zinn Roberts

      Thanks for sharing your success story! The mind mapping sounds interesting. I’ve heard of it but not studied it. Now I’m intrigued…
      All the best to you,

  6. Joe Thurmond

    Love it!
    You and I need to talk sometime. I am flexible, when are you not rushed for time. Great article and writing. Great Day!