Sometimes the hardest part of the journey to any goal is keeping motivated. Whether you’re trying to get fitter, gunning for a promotion, or on a mission to finally stop using your floor as a closet, staying on track can be tough. When the goal line is looking 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 do this.
Here at SELF we love to celebrate the successes of women who have decided to put 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 satisfied lives. In these cases, weight loss was the intention, but by dedicating themselves to healthy habits each woman got so much more than that. Because that’s the thing: Weight loss isn’t just about hitting a certain number on the scale. As these women demonstrate, losing weight takes a lot of work, including eating and exercising in a way that works for your body, managing life’s stressors, engaging in healthy habits like getting enough sleep, and keeping a reality check on what’s sustainable and what’s not.
And an important note before we get into it: Healthy habits are for everyone—but weight loss isn’t. If you have a history of disordered eating, you should talk to your doctor before going after any weight-loss goals. Sometimes the healthiest habits you can adopt are to not think about your weight at all. It’s different for everyone, and deeply personal.
Even if your goals have nothing to do with weight whatsoever, seeing what people can accomplish when they set their minds to it can be a powerful boost if ever you feel your motivation flagging. Let the stories of these 12 total strangers inspire you to move toward that thing that will make you feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled.
1. Kassidy Linde was inspired to lose 100 pounds after having her daughter.
New mom Kassidy Linde, 25, felt tired, unhealthy, and uncomfortable in her own skin, so she turned to a sustainable weight-loss regimen. She starting seeing healthy eating as a lifelong habit, and she introduced weekly cardio workouts. Within a year and a half, she lost 130 pounds. She’s now way stronger and confident, and she has more energy to play with her daughter.
2. Lobke Meulemeester lost 72 pounds with the help of Instagram.