What ACTUALLY keeps you going?

Normally these threads are for paid subscribers only, but I’m opening this one up to everyone!

Last night I was thinking about how not a single person on this Earth has ever actually gotten shredded abs in two weeks, or lost ten pounds in a week (not in a meaningful way, anyway). Not one. Not one! We have this motivational marketing language around working out and food that is not only improbable, it’s impossible, and yet it persists. Wild!

In that spirit (or really, hopefully, the total opposite of that spirit), I’ve talked a lot in my columns about what keeps me lifting my little weights and eating my little proteins. If the above scenarios are totally unreasonable, what goals keep you showing up at the gym that ARE real?

What ‘motivates’ you, or what keeps you going when you’re not motivated at all?

As someone who’s developed a functional (if not perfect or even always good!) relationship with all of this stuff, what is a more reasonable picture you’d paint for someone who’s been discouraged over and over by promises like the ones above of how this can all work?