Sometimes the hardest part of the journey to any aim is keeping motivated. Whether you’re trying to get fitter, gunning for a promotion, or on a mission to finally quit using your floor for a closet, staying on course can be tough. When the goal line is appearing fuzzy in the distance, it can be super inspiring to revel in other people’s successes and be reminded that, yes, like them, you can accomplish this.

Here at SELF, we love to celebrate the successes of women who have opted to place their health and happiness first. Here we have gathered together some of our favorite stories from the last year showing how women, armed with determination, self-love, and motivating communities, set, reached, and often exceeded their goals to lead healthier, fitter, more satisfying lives. In such cases, weight loss was the intention, but by devoting themselves to healthy habits every girl got so much more than that. Because that’s the thing: Weight loss is not just about hitting a certain number on the scale.

As these women demonstrate, losing weight takes a whole lot of work, including eating and exercising in a way that works for your body, handling life’s stressors, engaging in healthy habits such as getting enough sleep and keeping a reality check on what is sustainable and what is not.

And an important note before we get into it: Healthy habits are for everybody –but weight loss is not. In case you have a history of disordered eating, you should talk to your doctor before going after any weight loss targets. Sometimes the healthiest habits you can adopt are not to think about your weight in any respect. It’s different for everybody and deeply personal.

Even if your goals have nothing to do with weight at all, seeing what people can accomplish when they set their minds to it can be a powerful boost if ever you feel your motivation. Let the stories of these 12 total strangers motivate you to move toward that thing which will make you feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled.