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2016: Personal Goals and Creating Your Own Self-Serving Habits

Danika Brysha

I have organized a group of women where I live, who are committed to improving themselves and their experience, and as I was sending out an email to them this morning, I felt like these words may be something that are beneficial to many more than just the several women in my inner circle who were brave enough to come to a very vague event I hosted entitled "Goal Setting Party". 

Below is a version of the email I sent them (edited to remove useless information and elaborate on some things) with tips for setting their own goals, some of the habits I have developed through my own journey of wellness that may inspire you as well, and my personal list of goals I am aiming to achieve in 2016. 

Hello ladies,

On this last day of 2015, I wanted to reach out and begin our conversation about what we're all committing to for this upcoming year.  As I have mentioned, we will plan to hold a quarterly meeting to regroup, share, and just open the conversation up and help each other stay accountable or talk through challenges. 

For me I've found that speaking my goals out loud and putting them on paper has been a great tool. I wanted to share some of mine with you below. In bold are the specific goals I am committing to for the full month of January. I like to pick 1-3 goals that will be my primary focus that I give my 100% commitment to- and then each month I add in 1-3 new ones once the first month's goals become habits (meaning that after a full month of experimentation and deciding if the new habit serves me, it is now essentially operating on auto-pilot, freeing up the energy and space to move on to my next challenges).

My main tip is to make sure that the goals you are committing to for the month are nearly fail-proof. For example, if you want to start meditating, commit to 3 minutes daily, not 20. You can always do 20 if you choose to, but it leaves very little space for failure. Lasting change comes from love, not fear. The moment that a challenge becomes unrealistic and we skip a day, we are left feeling frustrated and defeated and stuck in the same place we've been in all along. Set yourself up for success no matter what and be realistic with what you commit to!  If a Whole30 Challenge is on your radar but feels completely overwhelming, start with one piece of it like "eliminating dairy" or making a commitment to not eat any ingredients you wouldn't be able to explain to a friend. 

I also highly suggest tracking these challenges in some sort of daily tracking note that you can checkbox at the end of each day. I swear by the app Evernote- I have a daily tracking template note (see below) that I copy paste each morning into a new note. Making your goals measurable is a key to success so that they don't stay vague and so that you can have the satisfaction of daily progress and accomplishment. This also gives me a place to write my daily gratitude, core belief statements (more below), and things I'd like to manifest, allowing me to come back to it years down the road and see how my dreams turned into my reality. Hint: they usually do unless something even better comes along.

My checklist is constantly changing but below is an example of what it will look like beginning January 1st, 2016. Some of the listed things are habits but it still feels good checking them off each day so I keep them there. Little victories my friends!

Before I share my 2016 goals, I wanted to share a few of my daily habits that have become a part of my life as a result of this habit-tracking practice. These have been incredibly transformational for me and may give you some ideas on things you'd like to focus on for yourself: 

MY DAILY SELF-CARE HABITS: getting enough sleep, eating clean, sobriety (abstaining from alcohol, drugs, prescription pills, and any unnatural medicine), journaling, not watching TV (I watch something on Netflix once or twice a month if I want to relax or shutoff), meditation, prayer, writing 3 things I'm grateful for in the morning and at night, writing daily affirmations that challenge the core beliefs I'm trying to work through ex. If I feel like I don't have any money, I write a few sentences about how I am abundant and there is always enough money, or if I'm struggling with my body, I write about how strong and vibrant and healthy and inspiring it is etc., sleeping with my phone in the other room, keeping my phone on "do not disturb" mode regularly, using essential oils, doing something daily that educates me like a podcast or book, visualizing- I view and add to my private pinterest board every single day, writing a biography from my future as if someone was writing about me 1, 3, 5 years down the road, writing a journal entry from my future describing all the amazing things in my life in detail, eating mindfully with no distractions whatsoever, describing and feeling my feelings with depth and detail (this has been pivotal in releasing my emotional eating behaviors and not using food to comfort)

*Am I perfect with these? Absolutely Not! But most of these things, though extremely challenging to commit to at one point, are on total autopilot now. All that matters is that we do our best.

Below is a list of some of my personal goals for 2016 (in no particular order).  Also, you'll see that I have 7 January focuses rather than my suggested "1-3". About half of these 7 things are practices I've already been doing every day for a few weeks or months so they are not entirely new, just things that are bordering on habits but not fully on auto-pilot yet so they are still being measured.  Also, I've been following the habit formation and tracking process for two years now and am very familiar with what commitments are realistically manageable for myself. I definitely still encourage sticking to 1-3 new things monthly. If the goal is a big one like "not drinking alcohol for a month", I suggest sticking to just that one. It doesn't mean you can't work on others, it just means that anything else in addition to it will be mega bonus points. Remember, lasting change comes from positive reinforcement. The idea with the self-care checklist is that it eventually gets empty, meaning that I've made all of my wellness practices naturally occurring parts of my life and a part of my "being" rather than my "doing". For example, I no longer have "eat clean" on my checklist, because it has become a non-negotiable and no longer requires measuring. It is on auto-pilot. I have set separate ones for my businesses but I know that unless I am functioning at my highest personally, I cannot give myself to my business or others. Self-care is the greatest gift you can give to the people you love. They likely deserve the best version of you available, so make that your priority so that you fill yourself up with so much positivity and light that the only option is that it spills out onto the people who surround you. 


January Focus: these are the things I will do every day in January and will be tracking daily on my self-care checklist

One full month of no personal social media

365 days of A Course in Miracles (unless I begin the material and recognize that I'm not ready for it just yet) 

Work on Book 10 minutes daily

3 things daily that serve or empower others

No cell phone in the bedroom

11-minute smile challenge

Evening Meditation



  • Fully SURRENDER: to God/the universe/something much greater than me - trust that I don’t need to control or manage and that when I try to do so, I often get in my own way - allow myself to be of service to others in whatever way that looks
  • Be more happy, joyful, playful, and childlike: Have more fun but make sure that it truly evokes joy in me and I’m not just doing something that is “supposed to be fun” based on society’s expectations - find the authentic joy in what I truly love by tuning into my feelings in the present
  • Release myself from my ego and live humbly and presently from my heart
  • Create more leaders - lead silently from behind
  • Surfing - every day for a month
  • Early morning workouts: get in a routine of 6am workouts daily
  • Begin freeing myself from the constraints of “time” and “space": less attention to clock time and more intuitive “being"
  • Make presence my predominant space - release past and future (note: manifestation and visualization practices may appear to be future-driven practices, but they are actually activities in the present because the aim is to experience fully the feelings you would like to feel, and by doing so, you are creating them in your present space) 
  • Engage actively in nature more: hikes, surfing, paddle boarding, etc.
  • Share my writing (when it feels right and natural): blogging, writing my book; Write and publish my book - Work on Book 10 minutes daily; Publish one article monthly in an external publication- MBG,, etc
  • Do at least 3 things daily that serve or empower others: In sharing anything, always ask “what does this give to others?"
  • Be a better dog mom to Kingsley: walks, play, brushing, bathing, love
  • Be more responsible with money things: get taxes done on time, organize debts, create financial strategy
  • Read more: schedule in reading time - maybe 1 hour each night; A Course in Miracles, The Bible, Tao Te Ching, and all the many books I already have on my shelf that I am eager to read
  • No cell phone in the bedroom
  • Be a more prompt “Do-er”: do things immediately when possible
  • Manage my availability: formally schedule myself the time to read and practice self-care DAILY. Create more structured “work hours"; Only do things that evoke a “fuck yes” response
  • Cut out distractions: focus on one task until completion; keep phone on “do not disturb” and email closed so that it is only updated when I choose to
  • Be a person of my word: Follow up on things I say I will do; ex. Sending someone my book list I said I would send, etc
  • Don't talk badly about anyone
  • Always be 5 minutes early - commit to being on time
  • Get TSA precheck
  • BE the romantic partner I want to meet: list all of his qualities and make sure that I embody all of those things myself
  • Make Sleep a priority: Wake up EARLY - 5AM; structure my sleep so that I am waking up with no alarm clock for the majority of mornings- learn the natural pattern of my body’s needs; get to bed early and rise early
  • Be more prompt and organized with tasks/responses: with presents, and notes and gifts; only read an email or text or message when I have the time to respond to it so that it doesn’t take up space in my mind; deal with things and move on so that my energy is free and open; always create SPACE
  • Release what others think: remember that anyone’s opinion of me is strictly a reflection of themselves - nothing is personal
  • Take a solo vacation: silent meditation retreat, active camping in nature, week away to write my book, etc
  • Less words, more feelings, more being: be quietly influential
  • Quality over quantity in everything! 
  • Get childhood VHS tapes transferred to digital professionally 
  • Surround myself in greatness - be great; surround myself with people who are living their greatness and passion out loud; Spend time with people I am truly inspired and excited by - mentors and people I’d say “fuck yes” to hanging out with and really really mean it
  • Go First: introduce yourself first, smile first, say it first, go first; don’t wait for others to start, be the leader
  • Happen to the world, don’t let it happen to me: choose what I want and go after it. Don’t let others choose for me; learn to ASK for what I need and want
  • Deeper Meditation Practice: adding Evening meditation in addition to my morning practice
  • Be less compulsive: with posting photos or to social media, with food, with decisions; pause and take the time to tune in and ask my inner self what I need and what’s best, rather than reacting in whatever way I think I "should" react - TUNE IN
  • 11 minute smile challenge: spend 11 minutes straight every day for a month smiling; maybe progress to 1 hr daily later in the year
  • Take more workshops from authors and thought leaders that I love: Marianne Williamson, Gabrielle Bernstein, Mike Dooley, Geneen Roth, Tony Robbins, Oprah, Tim Ferris, Dave Asprey, Brian Weiss; this will also surround me in like-minded people




{Also, if you need some motivational quotes in your life, here's a LINK to my "Quotes to Live By" page on Pinterest. That shit gets me going. Big Time.}