Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Life

The Ultimate Astrological Guide To Your 2017 Resolutions

New Year, who dis?

Listen, pobody’s nerfect—er, I mean, nobody’s perfect. Whatever. There isn’t a single person under the Sun and Moon who doesn’t enjoy (or suffer from) a vice or two, and I ain’t just talking about the light stuff. Like much of life’s idiosyncrasies, the art of astrology is based on observing patterns in nature as well as in human behavior and psychology. When harnessed, astrology can be a deft tool for delving deeper into self-discovery and improvement, whether the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2017, or 3pm on any other day of the year. Still, with a hellish year like 2016 freshly dead and buried in its cold, cold grave, it’s hard to not want to wake up and commit to being a better you—way better than anything seen in 2016’s flaming toboggan ride of insanity. (May we never, ever hear the utterance of 2016’s banshee shrieks again. Shudder.) Conquering the complex pitfalls and booby traps of our unique personalities and bolstering our strengths and talents can be as simple as reading your horoscope. So, without further ado, an astrological guide to your New Year’s resolutions, along with tips, tricks, and life hacks tailored for each sign’s success in 2017.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Aries: Choose Your Battles—Wisely

Being a little pushy with getting to the front of the crowd is one of your greatest strengths, and there’s certainly no shame in your abundance of courage to speak your mind freely. As an Aries, you’re one of the bravest signs of the zodiac—not to mention one of the most impulsive. Plus, as the first of the 12, you’re known as being a tad immature. Combine your eternal youth with all that aggressive energy from Mars, your warlike ruling planet, and you’ve got a walking, talking blessing and a curse when it comes to throwing down. Fighting for your ideals is an admirable part of being an Aries, but occasionally your fires can burn so brightly and intensely, it can be downright destructive. You’re certainly not afraid to burn bridges in the name of your values; burning them all is never a smart strategy, though. Blindly charging into battles might’ve been damaging to your relationships and connections in the past, so in 2017, make a resolution to count to 10, take some cleansing breaths, and consider your opposition’s point of view before going for the jugular. Taking a more balanced approach to fighting the good fight will help teach you some much-needed self-discipline, keep you from flying off the handle, and (perhaps most importantly) stave off high blood pressure.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Taurus: De-Clutter Your Space + Find Your (Fun!) Fitness Niche

If there’s two things Taurus detests, it’s cleaning (specifically, saying goodbye to past treasures—no matter how dusty) and working out. Taureans are no slobs, to be sure, but these cow-eyed, gentle earth signs are more focused on the creature comforts of life than most. Ruled by Venus, characterized by the pleasure-seeking goddess of love, romance, beauty, and luxury, Bulls are both the collectors of the zodiac and the hedonists. Occasionally, these traits can become unbalanced for the Taurus-born, resulting in a glut of clutter—or worse, blind materialism—and laziness. No one likes pain, especially not Taurus, but these epicurean beasts tend to become energized when they experience the resulting gains of their work. And when it comes to the second sign of the zodiac, the more visceral and physical the benefits, the better. Although clearing out some of your most cherished, cobwebbed tchotchkes and clothes may send pangs of nostalgia, donating the excess of your forgotten knick-knacks to those who might appreciate them as new brings a sense of purpose and embraces the high-minded values you strive for. Once a Bull’s space has been revamped to be more comfortable, they’ll see the benefit of keeping a lean, clean space. The same goes for finding a fitness routine that works for you in 2017. Few like feeling the burn, but as soon as you learn to have fun getting physical—which usually requires a little trial-and-error for this sign—and start noticing the payoff (think: more sleep, more tasty calories, more energy, an enviable bod, perennial sweatpants, and a longer life), you’ll wonder why you were ever a couch potato.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Gemini: Put Down Your Damn Phone

Graced with the gift of gab and a talent for staying on the pulse of what’s burning up trends worldwide makes Gemini a chameleon of culture, information, and technology. As air signs, the Twin sign is constantly flitting from one focus to the next, hardly leaving room to breathe and process anything in-between. If you didn’t live life in such a detached and curious manner, you’d probably go mad with boredom—or at least, you tend to think so. Mercurial to the max, Gemini is an intellectual whirlwind to behold. To be sure, you’re a fabulous conversationalist and the life of any discussion, but when was the last time you quieted your mind and truly listened? Your friends know who you are and accept your informational ADD—or else they wouldn’t be able to be friends with you, Gem! But when it comes to professional colleagues or new connections, your motormouth and obsession with constant stimulation might be a bit of a turnoff at best and a liability at worst. Carving some time out of your hectic schedule for activities that allow you to quiet your chattering mind, like guided meditation, yoga, or exercise, can give you a leg up on paying attention, becoming a better listener, and finding peace of mind. Challenge yourself to limit your internet and social media use in 2017, too—who knows, you might just form some new, independent opinions of your own, sans Facebook.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Cancer: Break Out of Your Shell—Literally

Perhaps the most comfort-minded sign of the 12, Cancers are most at home when they’re, well, at home. Ruled by the maternal Moon and the emotionally choppy water element, celestial Crustaceans are quite literally glued to their shells, much like their crabby symbol. No shade—being invited into a Cancerian’s home is one of the greatest badges of friendship for these signs; they really know how to cozy up and entertain without ever leaving their cushy castle. But these Moon Babies’ predilection for being homebodies can lean toward isolation and reclusiveness. The Cancer-born are known for developing unbalanced relationships, codependency, and even agoraphobia if they’re not mindful of their closed-off borders. Don’t freak out—I’m not suggesting you become an exhibitionist or lead a parade nude or any dramatic changes to your set lifestyle. Simply test your own spacial and social limits by committing to exploring the world outside the confines of your domestic space or work. Try being a tourist in your own town in 2017, or set a goal of striking out and exploring a few new places in your city this month. Bring a friend or—even better—go it alone and build your sense of independence and autonomy. You never know, you might discover your new favorite haunt or befriend some of the locals (otherwise known as your neighbors).

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Leo: Embrace Your Authenticity

Leos are heartily blessed with charm, wit, and regal creativity that tend to arrest the attention of any room. These kingly rulers of the zodiac seem to always capture the spotlight—even unintentionally. Being ruled by the Sun, our solar system’s head honcho, will do that to you. Consider President Barack Obama as a perfect example of Leo’s characteristically engaging charisma and inviting personality. But heavy is the head that wears the crown, and with all eyes on you, there’s bound to be some haters. Leos have a lot to live up to, especially being so keenly aware of their court. Egoism and arrogance are this leonine sign’s darker traits, but most of the time their more unpleasant side serves as a complex shield to their warm, sensitive center—their heart, of course. No one cares more what others think than Leo, who can become dejected and completely thrown off course by negativity. Conversely, these Sun-ruled kitties can become overblown with the praise and worship of others. Any way you slice it, absorbing all these outside opinions can throw off any Leo’s personal compass, ultimately confusing their personality and values, leading to a domineering quality that no one really likes. This year, do your best to shrug off what anyone may think of you—good or bad—and work on forming your own values. Centering yourself in the eye of such natural celebrity certainly isn’t easy, but brushing off the haters as well as those drawn to blindly fawn over your power will make you grow into yourself. A wise monarch is better than a headstrong one, after all.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Virgo: Celebrate Self-Care

No doubt Virgo has already made a long, long list of resolutions for 2017, edited that one down, composed another, and ultimately decided those goals weren’t good enough, either. Sigh. With so much responsibility and duty, how do these nitpicky, pure earth signs find any time for themselves? News flash: They don’t. It’s not your fault, though—when mile-a-minute Mercury is your ruling planet, your mind is basically a hamster wheel of ideas. Virgos are a whiz with the mechanics of how things work, constantly honing in on details other signs might find pedantic or unimportant, then refining and redefining the process to work smarter. All this hard-core efficiency takes a lot of time and energy, which usually translates to these cerebral signs working harder, and not necessarily smarter, themselves. One thing to add to your Virgin to-do list in the new year is celebrating yourself and the magnificent machine of productivity you are by dedicating time to self-care. Rest and relaxation easily become your last priority when you’re so anxiety-ridden, but relish the discipline necessary to kick up your feet and (gasp!) get a pedicure or—goddess forbid!—sleep in every now and then. You’ll still get everything done without shirking your responsibility, and you’ll likely make less mistakes running on a well-fed, rested body and mind. Focusing on making healthy choices is logical, after all, and you can certainly understand that language. Making your physical and mental peace a priority now will lead to a much happier, healthier, and far more efficient you years down the road.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Libra: Cut the Credit Cards

Finding beauty in everyday things is your absolute specialty, Libra—especially the mundane. What’s trash to another sign can be made into gleaming treasure with your innovative, balanced mind and deft sense of style. Nothing less than luxury will be accepted in your world, and who can blame you when you’ve got Venus ruling your fair sign? Curious and cultured, you can count on these chic air signs to know what’s what at any given time in the fashion, design, and technology spheres. Their homes are curated masterpieces, not to mention their wardrobes. More often than not, Libra’s sharp instincts as a style hunter translates into debt, and lots of it. Out of all the signs, Libra clings to the stereotypical shopaholic, possessing every single piece of plastic available in their wallets. Of course, this isn’t always true of the Scales. Being so balanced does have its perks when it comes to personal accounting. But the influence of materialism and their love of shopping undeniably leads to spending more than saving. This year, instead of lustfully pledging the last of your credit card balance to a pair of sky-high (read: basically unwearable) Charlotte Olympias, dedicate that chunk of change to your retirement account or a worthwhile investment that will gain value over time. You can’t eat a pair of platforms when you’re 90 years old, Libra. And if anyone can hit their mark when it comes to living on a balanced budget, it’s you. You’ve got this!

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Scorpio: Let. It. Go.

Scorpio, the mysterious eighth sign of the zodiac, may be a member of the heartfelt water element, but these hypersensitive arachnids have a predisposition to the darker side of life—and a scorching sting to match. And it’s no wonder that the Scorp-born are known as the most intense (and most intensely sexy) of the zodiac, with dual planetary rulership of Pluto—macabre god of the underworld and keeper of the dead—and Mars, the red-hot planet associated with aggression and force. These planets provide a lethal combo, making this the most extreme water sign of all, characterized by an icy exterior and a fiery heart. Anyone would be well-advised to stay out of Scorpio’s way, particularly when you consider how hard—nay, bone-crushingly impossible—it is to get back on their good side once they’ve been crossed. Scorpio doesn’t squash beef; they burn the whole damn thing down, then grind up what’s left of the ashes and make you eat it every single day. Sure, they love hard and will remain as loyal and devoted to a bond as they will a grudge, but their hair-trigger sensitivity is a detriment to how expansive and healing their adoration is. Honestly, one wrong word and you’re dead to a Scorpio (speaking as a Scorpio here, folks), which means these surprisingly sensitive creatures carry around a lot of dead weight, ultimately hindering and blocking them from giving and receiving love, healing, trust, and happiness. These are a broody, self-destructive sort, and something as simple as a private journal or daily diary can be incredibly cathartic to letting go of all that toxicity. Living well truly is the best vengeance, but no one can be their best, healthiest self when they’re clinging to the painful sins of the past. Remember: Forgiveness doesn’t mean you completely forget—or that you ever have to breathe the same air as the perpetrator. Wash your hands of the haters and focus your intense passion on loving yourself deeply in 2017.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Sagittarius: Look Before You Leap

Adventurous Sagittarius, the expansive explorers of the zodiac, can’t be contained when it comes to their trademark enthusiasm and spirit. With Jupiter, the Father of Fortune, abundance, and expansion as their ruling planet, these wild and free Centaur-Archers always seem to be flying by the seat of their jeans. Even when they find themselves stuck in a sticky situation other signs wouldn’t be able to escape so easily, Sag somehow always has an ace up their sleeve. Lady Luck follows this sometimes reckless sign with a safety net, which often lends the Sag-born to believe in a false sense of security. Sagittarians are the most likely to simply throw caution to the wind and leap into the unknown—which constantly leads to these folks sticking a hoof in their mouth. Honesty is the best policy, but Sagittarius takes this axiom to a new level. Yes, their brutal sense of truth can be hilarious and endearing, but occasionally this freewheeling talk can unintentionally hurt feelings. Never malicious, Sag simply doesn’t know when to keep their mouth shut. This year, make conversational etiquette a priority—you know, the basics: Wait your turn, don’t interrupt, and pay attention. Once you’ve mastered that, kick it up a notch by considering the feelings of who you’re talking to. Empathy is a trait that can be (usually) easily learned for Sag, and you’d be surprised how many fences this simple task can mend. Social Sagittarius is practically a professional friend, always looking to add more faces to their circle—and what better way to achieve a wider network in 2017 than with a little understanding?

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Capricorn: Work-Life Balance

Serious and steadfast, Capricorn takes the lead when it comes to professionalism, reigning as the supreme worker over all other signs—even their sibling earth signs. Saturn, known to ancients as Father Time and tough love teacher of life’s hard lessons, rules these stoic Sea-Goats, which means Cap never, ever takes the quick and easy route to success. Capricorn-born folks are hard-nosed and wooden in the face of daunting challenge and will happily scale treacherous cliffsides to earn their keep. Being committed to securing a top-notch professional reputation (and an astronomical salary to boot) is admirable, but Capricorn’s dedication can easily tumble into a gloomy work-addiction. Any Capricorn’s friends and family can attest to their scarce time away from the grind, but few of Saturn’s children realize how much more their productivity and earning potential can be boosted with a healthy work-life balance. Sacrificing a few hours of time you’d normally spend on working to catch up with friends over dinner and drinks can refresh your spirit as well as your mind. Take time out of your schedule in 2017 to commune with the natural world, and be sure to include those rarely seen friends and family members. Most Capricorns get a great physical workout when in the natural world, too. Plus, putting time and space between work and play can give creativity a massive boost. Who knows, a work-life balance might even produce your next million-dollar idea.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Aquarius: Perfect Your Follow-Through

Aquarius the Water-Bearer is skilled beyond belief, blessed with an inventive mind and inquisitive soul. Just think of Steve Jobs, an Aquarian genius par excellence. Those born under this futuristic air sign never stop learning throughout their lives, possessing an inextinguishable curiosity about the universe and beyond. Ruled by Uranus, the rebellious planet of individuality and global awareness, the Aquarius-born are graced with unparalleled brainpower and an adventurous spirit. But these signs get bored and are easily distracted, which can make them jacks of all trades and masters of none. As a result, one of Aquarius’ biggest challenges is sticking to their commitments and finishing up projects. A major reason for this is their inability to focus on just one thing—Aquarians are master multitaskers, thriving when their minds are stretched in many different directions at once. It may sound counterintuitive, but a surefire strategy for staving off project dropout rates is by beginning several different tasks at once, working on them, and completing them at the same rate. Doing a little bit at a time will keep interest fresh, as well, ensuring that you learn to use your full potential this year—rather than just half-assing it all the time.

Illustrated by Julie Kwon

Pisces: Shirk Escapism

Pisces is known as the most spiritual sign of the zodiac, which often means that those born to the 12th and final sign are also lifelong idealists. As a water sign, Pisces is ultra-feeling and sentient to an otherworldly degree. Sometimes the Pisces-born are full-on psychic, but all born to this sign are emotionally absorbing and empathic. True Indigo Children, Pisces is ruled by Neptune, the planet associated with illusions, dreams, and imagination. As the most watery sign of the zodiac, Pisces has a fluid sense of reality (all puns intended). These folks are gifted storytellers and creators of illusion, making them some of the most imaginative, creative people out there. This slippery, reflexive view of facts can often lead Fish-born people to skew ugly truths, only seeing what they want to see. Since Pisces are constantly questing for understanding and harmony, they’re not above experimenting with substances and ducking into altered states of consciousness. Pisces can typically handle themselves when it comes to mind-bending party favors, but it’s important to take note of when and how. Have you been shirking your responsibilities with a good time? This year, instead of hitting the club or rolling with your party buds when the going gets tough, try to find inner nirvana with steady yoga practice and meditation. Watersports—especially swimming, rowing, and sailing—are excellent for balancing out the Piscean mind. Enlist a close friend or hire a professional counselor or therapist in 2017 to help wade through life’s murky puddles in lieu of going it alone. Relationships like these can help tether your watery soul to the earth when all you really need is some healthy grounding.