Well, here it is. A year in which we can expect sweeping change, according to a panoply of prophets and experts.

There are ancient prophecies about worldwide change in 2012, U.S. demographic measurements that point to a post-World War II tipping point now taking place, Hollywood catastrophe movies, best-selling new-age books, and social and political observers projecting the obvious follow-on action from last year’s revolution in the streets. And if that weren’t enough, the mere fact of so many people expecting change makes change more likely.

How do you prepare for a period of change when you don’t know exactly what may happen, or when? Paradoxically, there is a way to prepare for the unknown. It involves getting yourself ready to react. You are more able to respond to events if you are stronger and if your life is simpler.

Stronger could mean muscular strength — certainly that is a big asset for the heroes of Hollywood disaster stories. But it can also mean healthier in general, a stronger financial position, keep a car maintained, and dropping distractions, obsessions, and other unproductive ties to the past.

Simpler starts with having fewer things, focusing particularly on the things you don’t use. It also helps to have fewer things to do, and this comes about by shedding marginal or merely habitual activities. If you have time and space to spare, even if it is not a lot, you are more ready for something new to happen.

It may help to consider that the period of change is already underway. Change has come upon us in an accelerated way since the late 1980s, and last year was a banner year for both political changes and natural disasters. Some of that will continue, but there will also be changes in other areas, including changes that hardly anyone is expecting.

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