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Life 101: 2020

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The Year of Seeing Clearly

By Linda Arnold EBS CONTRIBUTOR

It’s 2020. A clean slate—yours to create!

The beginning of a new year is my favorite time, holding the promise of 365 delicious days, 52 wonderful weeks and 12 marvelous months.

A Year of Answers

Taking some creative license with the numeric description of 20/20, I’ve dubbed it “the year of seeing clearly.” The book, “Simple Abundancesays that “some years there are questions, and some years there are answers.” With a name like 20/20, I’m thinking this will surely be a year of answers.

My usual tendency is to blast out of the gate with a long list of plans. This year I’ve developed a discipline I call the One-Thirty Plan. It’s a simple yet sustainable model.

Day by Day

We’re all creatures of habit. That’s why the One-Thirty Plan is built around doing one thing for 30 days:

  1. Write down two major goals for 2020. Be as specific as possible.
  2. Break down each goal into three steps to get there.
  3. Each month take one of the steps and practice it for those 30 days. Resist the temptation to jump in any further.
  4. The following month, add the second step to the mix, while continuing the first one.
  5. By the end of the first quarter (March), you’ll have consistently practiced each of your steps for your first goal for 30 days—more than enough time to form a new habit.
  6. Beginning in April, start on your second goal, to culminate in June.
  7. July-December: reinforce these two goals or consider adding another.

The path to lasting change is taking baby steps and building on those.

Have You Let Yourself Down Before?

We’ve all been there. We’re gung-ho on Day One. Then old patterns rear their ugly heads.

Maybe you’re just not thinking small enough. According to a research study at Stanford University on “Habiteers,” you need to think tiny. Instead of vowing to go running every morning, just lace up your running shoes each day for one week.

That’s it. You’ve met your goal. Put an “X” on your chart next to the activity. Just set the bar higher the following week.

Instant Success

The key is building on small successes. Then you can take the next step and the next one. Do one pushup instead of ten. Floss one tooth, not all of them.

The secret is you’re “rewiring” your brain all along the way to register successes from Day One.

Celebration is crucial. Think of those fist pumps athletes use and anchor them in with an expression like ”yesssss.”

“Your brain wants to feel happy and excited,” according to that Stanford study. Do your new habit enough times, and your brain starts saying, “I get happy” when I do this.

It’s One Thirty All Year Long

No matter what time your watch shows, it’s always One Thirty when it comes to your plan. Every day you “get” to anchor in your success even further.

Even if you rewire your brain for the addition of “only” two major lifestyle changes all year, this could be light years beyond what you’ve accomplished before.

 Your internal trust meter starts to believe you really can do it this time. Cue the song, “I Can See Clearly Now.”

2020—bring it on!

Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at linda@lindaarnold.org or visit lindaarnold.org for information on her books

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