Enter the Year of the Dragon

Beth Cooper Howell

While last year was calm and serene, the next 12 months will be an electric time

Beth Cooper Howell |

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In case you missed the memo, Chinese New Year starts tomorrow. This is the Year of the Dragon - and all of us are influenced by the electric, drama-filled energy of this fiery creature for the next 12 months.

The Dragon vibe rolls in with a bang, bringing excitement, extremes and unpredictability. You'll be tempted to chop your locks, argue with your BFF and push the limits because you're weighed down by a sense of boredom.

Yet during the Dragon's reign, taking risks is, er, risky. Thinking before you leap is crucial, because impulse decisions (and buys) are dangerous.

If you enjoy adventure and fireworks, you'll be in your element this year. The Dragon has a larger-than-life influence and if you play your cards right, you can harness fabulous opportunities.

A word of warning, however: don't let pride get the better of you. Big-headed people don't do well in a Dragon year, because although you have the ability to achieve big things, it's important to think of others and be a team player, too.

One of the best ways to win now is to avoid being pushy. Happy holidays, new hobbies and healthy relationships are key to a successful year.

Start 2012 by having a good clear-out. The Dragon has no time for clutter, so before you shoot off to the movies with mates, spend a day or two in your room, sorting out stuff that you don't want, dusting off ornaments, recycling things for friends or charity, and throwing away the endless bits of paper and trinkets that are taking up pointless space.

The same goes for relationships: if you have any issues with loved ones, make an appointment for a bit of face-to-face time and hammer any problems into the past. Carrying emotional baggage really weighs you down during a Dragon year, as the creature's energy is vibrant and full of fun. There's no point in beating the same old drum - shake hands, agree to disagree and resolve to choose pleasure over pain.

One of the biggest lessons for all of us this year is to work on upping patience levels. Because daring Dragon runs ahead, flattening everything in its path, you might be prone to impulsive actions, following your heart instead of your head.

Get yourself a diary and plan the year carefully. Mark birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates; make space for a bit of "down-time" with family and friends; start organising your projects and activities. Doing this will free you up to focus on fun things once responsibilities have been taken care of.

Remember, the vibration throughout the next 12 months leans towards "me-me-me", so it will take skill and, yes, patience to attend to all the duties that crop up both at home and school.

You'll keep feeling that it's your turn to change the world this year. Don't get too caught up in this way of thinking: Dragon energy runs at its own pace, so trying to va-va-voom your way through this fire-breathing animal's limelight almost always backfires. It's best, then, to avoid sulking and always keep your team smiling. Turn tail at the first sign of gossip and pettiness and try to stay out of harm's way. People are strange - we like to be liked, but we're so quick to judge others. This year, you have a unique chance to let go of opinionated and negative thoughts.

Whether you're a wallflower or a talkaholic, communication is the big buzz word. You can choose to say the right thing, or put your foot in your mouth at the wrong moment - and only you can decide which is best. Generally, we're all feeling a lot more confident about ourselves in 2012 and while that's great news, it's also cause for misunderstandings and melodrama.

By clearing clutter everywhere, from bedroom to friendships, and being mature about responsibilities, you are building a solid foundation for self-esteem and belief in your own talents.

All in all, Dragon's cheerful personality has a positive effect on just about every area of your life. It's an ideal time to create new and colourful aspects of your character: a new you that's all about democracy, expansion, happiness and kindness. Things do go wrong, but your attitude determines the outcome. Cool off in private rather than throwing tantrums. It's a particularly great year to start a new exercise programme: all that excess energy can be channelled into burning calories and pumping iron!

Dragon will keep you on your toes this year. That's a good thing - we can only grow if we reach beyond our grasp.