What our furry rodent friends can teach us in the Year of the Rat

By Beth Cooper Howell

Celebrate the brave and the bold and be ready to rock this year

By Beth Cooper Howell |

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The Year of the Rat is a happy mix of new beginnings, loads of luck and oodles of bold new opportunities. There is no better time then now to try something new.

Raring-to-go Rats are sure to celebrate the brave and the bold – as long as you’re logical, careful and street-smart.

Shake it up

This year reflects all the generous traits of a Rat’s charming personality: practicality, insight, can-do attitude and the ability to plan ahead.

It all makes sense. How else would rats have survived humanity’s hatred for so long? Across the world, people associate these rodents with dingy alleys, dirt, decay and disease – but Chinese astrology’s Rat is no urban criminal, that’s for sure.

The positive, electric charge crackling through 2020 is Rat’s greatest gift to society over the next 12 months. How you handle this awesome energy is up to you.

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Make it count

For starters, a Rat year highlights both your strengths and weaknesses – so you’ll instinctively know how to fix what’s wrong and improve what’s right. It’s smart to take stock of the past few months before launching into the new year with a grand plan.

Think about what didn’t work for you in 2019 and why? Did you have any bad habits or behaviours that affected your grades, friendships or health? Which people, places or events had a negative effect on your life? What steps can you take – no matter how small – to avoid the traps that tripped you up last year?

Being mousy in a Rat year never works. A clear, unemotional and realistic strategy does.

Once you’ve made your personal “pros and cons” list, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to rock.

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Who’s the boss?

You are, of course – and now’s the time for you to show that you’re really up to the challenge!

The Rat vibe is pushy and passionate – be better, do better and, most importantly, feel better. Although society sets out the structures and rules that guide your daily routines, it’s totally up to you how creatively you make the most of the huge opportunities that a Rat year brings.

The secret behind Rat’s success is learning to be more opportunistic. How can you do this? Try being open to new and interesting ideas – don’t judge a topic or person too quickly, as you might lose the chance to discover something amazing.

Stretch out of your comfort zone – try a new sport, or improve a life skill, such as learning to type faster than you do now. Be confident when you make a decision – Rats love action – even if you make a mistake.

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Read the fine print

Living your best Rat year could be compared to wearing powerful prescription glasses.

When you’re seeing every detail clearly, you have all the facts. But if your vision is blurry, and you don’t take the time to look at all the alternatives or available information, you may trip up.

Astrologers explain that a Rat year offers simple ingredients for happiness: have a plan, work hard, be patient, don’t be lazy and always, always make the best of a bad situation. Easy! Of course.

It’s great advice for life in general – but why is it especially significant this year?


If you’ve ever watched a rat look for food or find a new home, or seen one find a quick escape from a hysterical human, you’ll know that they’re born survivors by their very nature.

They got this far because they have an uncanny eye for detail. You, too, can win the Rat race by not allowing any of those little things to pass you by.

Here’s some suggestions as to how you can do this:

  • Turn cute ideas into hard, cold reality – if you were going to colour-code your year planner, do it now. No excuses.
  • Sweat the small stuff – in a good way. Mend broken zips, fix your tatty shoes, get rid of that decade of junk under your bed.
  • Take one for the team. Your individual success isn’t your No. 1 focus this year – but partnerships and group-based achievements are. Learn to work well in a group.

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Stop, look, listen

Your mum’s wise advice about how to safely cross a busy road is brilliantly suitable as you move through this vibrant, speed-demon year of the rodent.

Rats are cunning types who know when to act, and when to hold back. Keeping this in mind will be good for all your relationships including your family and classmates (it’s all about teamwork, remember?).

Your ability to know when to be silent, or to speak up, at the right moment, could lead to unexpected rewards, so it’s worth investing in yourself this year: practise mindfulness and deep breathing. Try to judge people less, and avoid ugly arguments.

Rats value change, so you may feel out of control some of the time – but that’s OK. Take another deep breath, look for the positives, and know that everything will work out just fine, in the end. It’s a great year!

Edited by Ingrid Piper