01/07/2013 09:58 EST

Inspirational People Of 2012: 8 Motivational Stories

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The new year is about a new you, but sometimes you need to look outside for some inspiration. Seeing how others have dreamt big, overcome obstacles and ultimately achieved the good life can do a world of good when it comes to kicking your own butt into gear. After reading about everything these high-profile go-getters are doing, tackling your own goals will seem like a piece of cake!

From TV stars and singers to designers and chefs, we’ve highlighted eight impressive souls whose stories (and advice) will get you motivated in no time – no matter what your mission is. Here’s a list of people doing big things who can serve as an inspiration to us all:

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1. Shania Twain: After a very public betrayal by her husband and her best friend, Twain’s confidence was shaken, and she even lost her ability to perform for years. The beloved Canadian songbird didn’t just give up and just disappear, though. She shared her very personal journey on the OWN TV show ‘Why Not? With Shania Twain,’ proving that even super celebs have to deal with unpleasant personal drama. This year she’s made a triumphant return to the stage in a glitzy residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

2. Jillian Michaels: TV’s toughest trainer balances a busy career, including her fitness empire and a gig on ‘The Biggest Loser,’ with a full home life. Earlier this year, she and partner Heidi Rhoades welcome two bundles of joy into their lives. Now, Michaels regularly dishes out great advice on not only how to get into killer shape, but also how to juggle everything. No wonder even the famously disciplined financial guru Suze Orman turns to Michaels for help reaching her fitness goals.

3.Sarah Richardson: Watching this bubbly HGTV personality deliver dramatic home transformations through design certainly inspires plenty of Canadians to put some of her tricks into practice to beautify their own homes. In addition to hosting several TV shows on HGTV, the busy wife and mother also runs a successful design firm she built from scratch. Richardson proves that nice gals can finish first.

4.Tony Robbins: It’s almost cliché to include this world-famous motivational speaker on a list of inspiring people. But anyone who’s seen Robbins speak or read his books knows that he’s the foremost expert on getting inspired for a reason: he’s effective! Whether you’re trying to improve your relationships, improve your health, get a promotion or manage your time better, Robbins’s no-nonsense words of wisdom can help you formulate a plan and tackle your goals head-on.

5.Gretchen Rubin: The author of the best-selling books ‘The Happiness Project’ and ‘Happier at Home’ has spawned a happiness-seeking movement, with ‘Happiness Project’ groups sprouting up across the globe. Rubin’s quest to discover the secrets to achieving true happiness has inspired millions of people to spend more time and energy working towards attaining more meaningful lives. After all, who doesn’t want to be happy?

6. Mark Brand: Instead of launching another high-end restaurant as many top chefs in his position may have done, conscientious gourmand Brand rescued Vancouver’s iconic Save-on-Meats and transformed it into a delicious deli/ social experiment. The shop offers affordable and tasty meals for everyone in its gritty east Vancouver neighbourhood, where the less fortunate can dine alongside buttoned-up businessmen. Brand continues to demonstrate that with a little elbow grease, anyone can make a difference.

7. Katie Couric: After a disappointing stint as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, the former ‘Today Show’ host has reinvented herself yet again. This time around, Couric’s TV vehicle, the daytime talk show ‘Katie,’ seems to be a better fit for the affable-yet-probing interviewer. While Couric’s many professional successes are inspirational on their own, her personal story is even more empowering: she lost her husband to colon cancer in 1998 and had to raise their young children on her own while juggling a high-profile career. If you’re looking for inspiration beyond Couric herself, tune in to ‘Katie’ to watch her unique segment called ‘Women Who Should be Famous,’ which spotlights impressive ladies.

8. Pink: Her high-octane songs definitely inspire legions of fans to work harder at the gym. The feisty singer’s influence extends beyond her empowering lyrics, too. She recognizes that she’s a role model to many young girls, and she takes that responsibility seriously. She regularly advocates being healthy, strong, confident, and, above all else, true to yourself. After all these years in the spotlight, she’s still outspoken, authentic and has refused to conform.