All of us have things we’d like to work on. Whether they’re bad habits that we’d like to quit (or simply gain control of), relationships we’d like to focus on, or our physical and mental health that we want to improve, the start of a new year offers the potential of a fresh slate. However, as we enter January, we all seem to forget how difficult New Year’s resolutions can be to maintain. In the quest for self-improvement, there are always hurdles to leap over—and usually some personal struggles to overcome.

It should be simple, and we desperately want for it to be as easy as our optimism is limitless, but actually sticking to resolutions can be more difficult than we anticipate. The truth is, they’re hard work—really hard work. Especially because January is basically one gigantic extended hangover from the gluttonous, party-heavy good times of the holidays, and that can be difficult to get over. As a result, January can be an uphill struggle—basically, it feels exactly like this:

1. You lived it up during the holidays.

Let’s be real, the whole of December is basically a nonstop merry-go-round of sparkling wine and questionable life choices.

2. And when you weren’t partying, you were likely doing as little as humanly possible.

It was the best time.

3. But as soon as January 1 arrived, you started to reflect on ways to better yourself.

If we’re all being honest here, it’s usually a long list. Really long. Some might even call such a list unrealistic or delusional, but they’d be wrong. Totally wrong.

4. Day One of living your new truth and your optimism for self-improvement was boundless.

Hey, world: Welcome to the new me. Don’t die of jealousy.

5. In fact, achieving the new you was so fun and easy… at first.

You’re doing great, sweetie. This is going to be the best year yet!

6. Except toward the end of your first week, you started to struggle (you’re human)!

Have mercy, why did we think this was ever a good idea?

7. And maybe you really struggled.

Sometimes changes feel like they can take more work than the Sistine Chapel. A fact that can send you spiraling into an existential crisis that requires multiple blankets and both seasons of Lady Dynamite to get through.

8. But you’ve managed to come out of it feeling stronger and full of enthusiasm.

Keep clinging on to those positive affirmations, friend-o.

9. You’ve started experiencing some small, motivational signs of success.

This is happening. This is totally happening.

10. Now, every time you struggle, you also struggle to remain positive.

Fight that temptation to let the old you re-emerge.

12. You try to reward yourself with treats in order to remain motivated.

It totally defeats the purpose, but champions deserve the occasional blowout. Right? Right?!

13. Until you hit an inevitable wall…

It probably had something to do with that blowout.

14. And wonder why the “new you” feels so uncomfortable.

But… I was born to feel healthy and amazing and be positive about everything at all times… so… why is this so hard?

15. This transformation simply cannot be done.

Excuse me while I bring this bottle of wine and multipack of Doritos to bed with me.

16. But then you manage to discover something inspiring and think, Yes, I can.

We’re back on track.

17. You give yourself the pep talk to end all pep talks about not quitting.

It’s basically just that speech from Rocky Balboa played on a loop, but whatever. It works.

18. And honey, you’re living it. And you feel victorious.

Let yourself celebrate this moment because you’re legit a champion right now.

19. You might even enjoy a streak of small victories.

Hitting the gym for three mornings in a row? That’s a pat on the back. Enjoying only one or two alcoholic drinks on a night out? Definite pat on the back. Going an entire week without junk food or cigarettes without murdering anyone? Have all the pats on the back!

20. You’re doing so well that you don’t want to jinx it, so you’ve been keeping your success on the DL.

You know you’re doing great, and that’s all that matters. Self-fives all the way.

23. But you know that it’s all worth it.

Even though it’s tough, you’ll be able to look back on the month of January and bask in even the smallest of achievements. Keep motivating yourself and keep moving forward.

Onwards and upwards. You got this.

Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, blogger, and musician based in Liverpool, UK. She’s the co-founder of the irreverent pop culture blog and podcast Clarissa Explains F*ck All and the bassist for d-beat punk band Aüralskit. She’s currently working on her first novel and slowly completing her debut poetry collection. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.