Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 30, 2010

Your Astrology Chart—a Key to Setting Achievable Goals for 2016

©12-31-15 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Most New Year’s resolutions are pretty lame—too sweeping, too much driven by a post-holiday attack of the “shoulds,” and all too soon forgotten.

What has worked well for me for many years is to create a set of achievable goals for the year. Then I work on setting them as INTENTIONS rather than wishes, and put the list away in one of my “piles.” (You’ve got “piles”, too, right?)

 Most often, by the time I unearth it later in the year in one of those periodic purges of the piles, I’ve already accomplished most of the items. One secret to this success is that the goals are connected with the coming year’s transits to my chart. It’s the goal-setting process and the focusing of intent, rather than any compulsive attention to the list that does the trick. If you want to achieve more of your goals this year, here’s a step-by-step guide to a method that works:

 1) Start by creating a degree list for your chart. Make a list of key placements in your chart—the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Midheaven, planets, and any other factors you’re fond of. Arrange them by number rather than the order of the zodiac, as this enables you to spot hot zones that will be affected by transits this year.

 Barak Obama astrology chart

A hot zone is when several placements are clustered in a narrow numerical range, such 0-8° and 27-28° in the degree list shown below for Barak Obama’s chart.  (His birth record lists his data as August 4, 1961, 7:24 PM AHST, Honolulu, HI, 21N18; 156W51, Rated AA, from the birth certificate.)

  • 0° 52’Aquarius…Jupiter
  • 1°46’ Cancer…Venus
  • 2°22’ Leo…Mercury
  • 3°22 Gemini…Moon
  • 5°19’ Pisces…Chiron
  • 6°59’ Virgo…Pluto
  • 8°36’ of Scorpio…Neptune
  • 12°33 of Leo…Sun
  • 18°03’ Aquarius…Ascendant
  • 22°35 Virgo…Mars
  • 25°16’ Leo…Uranus
  • 25°20’ Capricorn…Saturn
  • 27°18’ Leo…N. Node/ 27°18’Aquarius S. Node
  • 28°54 Scorpio…Midheaven

2) Find the degree range of important transits for the year. Download a free transit tracker under the “Free” tab on the front page of this blog/

ong.)4) Locate the house position of the natal and transiting planets, as this will tell you areas of life you can profitably work on. The more difficult planets and aspects, in fact, signify conditions and situations that almost compel you to take action to change those areas.  (There’s an entire category of articles on this blog devoted to learning about the houses and finding things to do to make those areas of life better for you.  See:  Houses of the Horoscope.)

5) Design do-able projects and goals related to the transit. Transits would give you extra energy and motivation to work on goals related to the planets, signs, and houses involved. You’ll find examples of how to set realizable, realistic goals with specific steps to take at Pluto-Saturn Preparedness Kit #4–Taking Concrete Action to Change your Life, as well as links to a wealth of material about goal-setting.  There are more explanations of the houses and examples of projects in the downloadable file, Shovel-Ready Projects for the 12 Astrological Houses.

6) Work consciously with the power of intention to “aim” your goals.  I highly recommend that you read Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s techniques from The Power of Intention.  See more articles on manifestation vs. being stuck in the category Metaphysics–Mind over Matter at the side of this blog. In particular, there are several articles about thought forms that can help you improve your manifestation mojo.

This morning I got a letter I had written to myself one year ago, wishing myself well in my goals for 2015.  I’d totally forgotten about it, so it was a surprise.  I had forgotten FutureMe, which stores a message from you to yourself and delivers it by email on the date you specify.  I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter–again–to have it delivered a year from now! Maybe you could use a bit of love and support for yourself, too  Here’s the link: letters to the future

Readers, what about your own chart?  Do you have any hot zones?  And what  areas of life do the transits suggest would be important to work on?  Feel  free to share your own transit-related goals, if declaring them in the comment section would strengthen your commitment to them.


  1. Donna, Great ideas, there!
    Some people believe that those of us that use astrology should use either (or both) the beginning of the zodiacal new year, March 21(usually) or our solar return as the time to do “New Year’s” goals or resolutions.
    What say ye?

    • Interesting idea about the Astrological New Year at the Spring Equinox in March being a good time to set goals, Melo. Especially since this year, Uranus and Jupiter will be right in that area, just around the Aries Ingress. And astrologers do celebrate that date as International Astrology Day. I like it! Donna

  2. This makes so much sense! When I read this, I immediately thought of harnessing the power of the elements, as with solar or wind power. Why not look to the current flow of energy in your life to power your projects.

    There are a few transits that stand out for the next year in my chart and my life:

    #1 Pluto conjunct my Midheaven:
    I intend to make more of my private work public. I know that this will be a dramatic and difficult change for me. Even those first few baby steps have left me feeling exposed and vulnerable but it is time. (My MC opposes my Mars-Sun-Venus in Cancer)

    #2 Uranus conjunct my Chiron:
    It is Uranus, so I do expect the unexpected. That said, I will do my best to recognize and receive it.

    #3 Oh Saturn! traveling through my 7th house, conjoining my Moon, Ceres, and Juno and aspecting so much of my chart:

    This is the time for me to pay special attention to my husband and my relationship with him (Saturn is contacting his 5 Libra planets at this time). We have known each other for 17 years, been best friends for 15 years, been a couple for 13 years, and married for nearly 11 years. It is too easy to slide into habits that can be hurtful or, at the very least, unhelpful for your mate and your relationship with them. For me, this is my year to tackle my personal demon, Impatience.

    #4 A special shout-out to Saturn which, is currently opposing my Aries North Node and Ascendant for the first of three times. Then, it will go on to oppose my natal Saturn and Vesta at the end of next year.

    For me, this is part and parcel of letting the world see me as I truly am, to let my Inner Self speak OUT! Part of this does involve examining how I project myself through my appearance. I have already taken a long hard look in the mirror and it is time to make some changes in how I show myself to the world. As with all other Saturn projects, this will take some serious time and effort. I am ready, I just need to stay focused and maintain my commitment.

    @MEL810 I personally take every opportunity for a “new year”: 1 Jan, Chinese New Year, Zodiacal New Year, and Celtic New Year (Samhain): ) Is there ever a bad time for a little renewal?

    • Mari, you’ve got a great idea there on taking all those opportunities for new year beginnings. Why notgive ourselves as many chances to start again as we can?

  3. Thanks Donna, that has to be the best way to ‘see’ transits. Thank you for that one.

    The only good thing that I can see for myself is for the next two years Saturn will be aspecting my Ascendant. Alas Neptune is also in the mix. Perhaps I can dream myself thin? Here’s hoping.

    Thanks again for the wonderful way to set intentions.

    By the way every morning I write three pages. I always write about ten intentions for the day. (And after that I write what I am grateful for) I highly recommend this – I got it from The Artist’s Way by Cameron.

    What a help your way of seeing transits will be when I write my intentions!

    Saturn, bring it on Baby!

    • Yes, there’s a good chance of losing weight and toning up while Saturn is in the first. I see yoga related to Saturn and tai chi as related to Neptune, so those might be helpful spiritual practices in your quest. Donna

      • That is an excellent idea. Thanks! Have a wonderful new year. I look forward to reading more of your blogs: )

    • I like the writing of intentions. I think I will give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. I’m not big on making new years resolutions, but your approach sounds a lot more interesting and useful. Sounds like a plan can actually be made. My hotspot houses will be the 2nd/8th, 4th/10th and 3rd/9th – this just sounds way too much right now. Except for Venus, all my natal planets are in the 0-11′ range, so there’s a lot of things going on. Neptune will start to oppose my Stellium – so perhaps a foghorn might be a good investment. Uranus will oppose Mercury in the 10th, and Pluto is opposing Mars in the 8th. And I’m sorry to say, but when transiting Pluto in 2nd was directly opposing my natal Mars in 8th a few days back, my father died – he was 81 and very fragile, so it wasn’t unexpected – so I’m starting the new year with a funeral and an inheritance settlement. I figure that after that, it can only go uphill.

  5. Astrologically, 2011 looks to be a big year for me – one notable hot spot would have to be my packed 2nd house which holds my Libra Ceres, Venus, North Node and Sun, among others. Saturn’s transit – as well as the Jupiter/Uranus transit, which will once again sextile my 9th house retrograde Mars – has been helping me to discover hidden talents and a renewed sense of self-worth. Neptune/Chiron are still in my 6th, forming a trine with my 2nd house Sun; and good old Pluto (transiting through my 4th) will continue to trine natal 12th house Pluto, while forming a sextile with my 2nd/3rd house Scorpio Neptune/Mercury/Jupiter.

    I’m hoping to establish a home-based business in 2011 as a Reiki practitioner, using my Libra gifts to help “balance” energy and spread the LOVE (hahaha). I became certified last year (coincidentally on the day of the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction), and have spent these past months studying, practicing and researching. I plan to receive another level of certification next year and also to volunteer at a Reiki Clinic where I’ll receive supervised clinical hours. I’d also like to volunteer my services with either homebound or institutionalized seniors, if I can – transiting Saturn will sextile my natal 12th house Uranus, as well as my 4th house Saturn.

    No grand illusions here, as I know it will probably be slow going for quite a while – Saturn’s presence would seem to confirm that. We plan to maintain a tight budget and I’ll keep a meticulous record of all expenses. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I’d end up doing something like this, and I still sometimes wonder if it’s real – Neptune is going through my 6th, so I guess only time will tell. It was less than a year ago that I questioned if I had anything valuable left to offer the world – so no matter what happens, I’ll always be grateful for discovering this amazing gift.

    In 2011, I intend to make the most of my gifts and the second chances I’ve been given and to be grateful for, and respectful of, all that I have, including the love of friends, family and my husband. I also intend to continue learning how to put my God-given talents to their best possible use and to believe ALL things are possible. Happy New Year, Donna.

  6. This is so clear and helpful, Donna. Looking for degrees of impact in the sea of information can really bring clarity. And with the outer planets, there’s no rushing to get it all done at once because we can’t.

    This may seem like a weird place to ask this question, but do you hold to the idea that the eastern side of our chart indicates activities we instigate as opposed to the western side, which points out things that happen to us? In other words, might we be more successful setting intentions through our eastern planets and points? I hope that made sense. I guess the first question would be, do you think that’s true about the eatern/western chart division?

    • Hi, CJ! Actually, I loved YOUR article on Saturn and New Year’s resolutions and agreed with it wholeheartedly: Saturn/Capricorn is all about that mountain goat climbing to the top of that difficult mountain.

      I do believe that the eastern half of the chart is more prone to self-sufficiency and setting your own course, whereas the western half is where we seek to join with others and aren’t as likely to take the initiative. So your idea intrigues me…maybe the east is New Year’s resolutions that we need to do on our own and the west shows relationship-oriented goals, or things we need to do in partnership with others.

      The same principle might apply to goals we set around our birthday–perhaps with the aid of the solar return chart. Donna

    • Hi, CJ and Donna, the traditional Western labels and imagery – dependent, non-self-sufficient, non-proactive – never seemed a good fit for my own experience with this one.

      So – motivated by my response to the thinking of others! – I use a different approach to Eastern vs. Western meaning in a chart: An Eastern emphasis highlights self-consideration and a Western emphasis highlights consideration of others – in some motivational way.

      Donna, I like your goal-setting process plus the Transit Tracking Table is a great tool. Very user-friendly–Thanks!

  7. It’s nice to know that Neptune is now past transiting my Saturn/Venus conjunction squaring my Moon/Neptune conjunction! ha!
    Just yesterday, I was thinking about another job. MS is making the job I have very hard, though I like the job very much. Saturn is transiting my midheaven so this a good time to begin looking.

  8. I understand how one can “work” with and “focus” with Saturn and Pluto transits, but what about Neptune? Work and focus seem anathema to Neptune, so if I’ve got lots of Neptune transits going on, do I daydream my goals? I’m not sure I even know if I can get clear on what my goals are!

    • Hi, Leslee, you’re absolutely right that Neptune transits don’t lend themselves to focus and hard work. What they’re for is to balance out all that Saturn and Pluto (and even Mars) obsession with doing, doing, doing compulsively and never taking time to just sit quietly, breathe, and develop the soul and the creativity. I call Neptune transits the “God works in mysterious ways” principle, because in those intervals where we seem blocked from getting anywhere and where we believe we’re lost in a fog, we are really having to let go and surrender to God’s plan for us. That plan is way more brilliant and perfect than any our limited visions could ever come up wirth. Patience! Donna

      • Thanks, Donna! This is so right-on. Just finishing a long square to my 10th house Mars from Neptune in 7th (my decidedly unambitious bf has helped here). I’ve learned to let go a lot of needing to be seen as a hard working perfectionist (way too tired for that!) and I’ve been happier at work and management has not only cut me slack but seems happier with me, too. I’ve always been a highly efficient over-producer type Virgo. Neptune next opposes my Merc, Venus&Pluto in Virgo stellium so the process will continue. But my natal Neptune sextiles that stellium already, which should help.

      • “I call Neptune transits the “God works in mysterious ways” principle, because in those intervals where we seem blocked from getting anywhere and where we believe we’re lost in a fog, we are really having to let go and surrender to God’s plan for us. *That plan is way more brilliant and perfect than any our limited visions could ever come up wirth.* Patience!”
        “In some ways, we who are over-producers can misuse principles like goal setting to keep pushing ourselves when a transit like Neptune marks a time to surrender and let the plan unfold. *Then we spin our wheels futilely and beat up on ourselves for not accomplishing a back-breaking list of goals for the year.* ”
        What you wrote is so moving, and so true. Neptune will soon pay my 7th h. a very long visit, so in case the opposition to the asc won’t take my sorry life (joke -i think), I’ll try to bear this in mind. It’s not always easy to, but I’ll try my best.

    • Hi Leslee – Donna’s reply hit the nail right on the head! With progressed Neptune exactly conjunct my natal Mercury (ruler of my Ascendant/MC/Mars) and transiting Neptune in my 6th exactly trine my Sun – for a LONG time, I had no idea what I was doing or where I was headed. I was absolutely lost in the fog.

      Then I started to have recurring dreams in which I was no longer able to do my old job; my old “skills” continually failed me. This psychological/spiritual torture went on and on, until finally I began to have dreams about me touching people with my hands – healing them. Also past life dreams where I was visited by others in need of healing. I ignored them for a long time, until I watched a “Psychic Kids” episode (one of the teenagers was able to sense energy using her hands) that struck a strong familiar chord with me. On impulse, I began to experiment and one thing led to another, until I arrived where I believe God wanted me to be. Since then, I’ve received lots of validation.

      This would never have been my conscious choice, but like Donna said, surrender has led to a more amazing plan than I could ever have concocted (or imagined) on my own.

      • Exactly, LB. Your story illustrates what I was trying to say. In some ways, we who are over-producers can misuse principles like goal setting to keep pushing ourselves when a transit like Neptune marks a time to surrender and let the plan unfold. Then we spin our wheels futilely and beat up on ourselves for not accomplishing a back-breaking list of goals for the year. If it sounds like I’m contradicting the author of today’s post (that would be ME!), I guess what we’re getting at here is that there are also years when our chart could tell us we need to rest and retreat. Donna

      • Hi Donna – This reminds me of the old Yiddish proverb which goes something like “Man plans, God laughs.” For those of us who care about such things, it can be tough sometimes to differentiate between our will (goals/plans) and divine will – creating positive intentions allows us to remain open to the possibilities. I don’t think you contradicted yourself at all. 🙂

      • Thanks, LB – great story! I expect Neptune’s upcoming transit opposite my Mercury should stimulate my dreams and maybe give me some clues about my next direction. Your story is inspiring and instructive – and very exciting that you’ve found your way into something that feels right and and meaningful!

  9. Here’s to B. Obama’s empty MC. (If you invoke his relocation chart to contest that, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to kill you 🙂 )
    And I agree with the illustration. Hot, indeed!

  10. Thanks for Sharing Knowledge is power.Astro
    Gemology Mumbai India

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