As a personal trainer, I hear a lot of reasons why people to get started. I hear a lot of "I want to get toned", "I want to fit in my clothes", "I want to lose [x] pounds".
These are all valid reasons to get seek change. They're also superficial. Fitting in the dress you wore to your wedding 5+ years ago isn't going to take you to a different plane of moral superiority. You can still fit in that dress and feel unhappy. You can fit in that dress and have a really unloving relationship with your body, with what you put in your body, and how you talk to yourself.
That's not to say that many people who set and achieve their goals don't then become happy. But, in my experience, the beneficial result comes from a new outlook on the "why".
"I want to get toned" helps someone reevaluate their fitness and health on day 1.
It's later - on day 30, or 60, or 90 - when they have an ah-ha moment... when they realize "I picked up my kid with zero back pain" or "I went on a hike and felt completely sure of my step." It's the moment when they feel confident in their abilities and their purpose. THAT is what keeps people coming back.
Health, fitness, wellness...they're tools to a full life. Nutrition alone is not going to solve your problems. Movement alone is not going to help you feel complete. It's when the gaps in your health are nurtured and filled, helping you heal and enter a place where you can better serve your purpose.
Health is a tool. It is not an end journey. And once we realize this - once my clients realize this - it changes everything. It turns showing up because the trainer is expecting you into showing up because you want to be there. It turns self-doubt into perseverance, resilience, and testing your own limits.
It helps you understand your why. Because it's not about a number on the scale - it's about moving through the world the best version of you. I don't care how cliche it sounds. WHY makes a difference.