It’s hard to work out simply for the sake of it. No matter how much you enjoy your fitness regimen (and I sincerely hope you at least sometimes find pleasure in exercise), it’s simple to put off a gym session until tomorrow, until next week, until January 1.

You might go to sleep telling yourself you should awaken early to go for a run. But exactly how many times do you hit snooze and linger in bed for an extra hour? I’ve lost count from the number of times that knowing I should simply wasn’t enough.

When you are looking at goal-setting in fitness, identifying your why is a common first step. And for good reason: If you can connect your actions to something meaningful — whether it is improving your health to live of sufficient length to meet your grandchildren, accomplishing an ongoing goal of completing an Ironman, or getting the strength to carry all the groceries into the house in one trip — you improve your chances of showing up and carrying it out to achieve these goals.

Saying I should get up to run has set me up to fail and disrupted my sleep. But identifying my why — for example, my love of watching the sunrise on the cool morning or accumulating the stamina to run a race 8 weeks down the line — is plenty to get me moving. This links my workouts to something beyond just working out; it takes me out of some momentary discomfort by focusing on something I truly want or believe in.

In recent years, though, I’ve found yet another powerful source of motivation: naming my who.

The very first time I worked out with someone else in mind was in 2010, when my cousin Louisa asked if I’d operate a half-marathon with her to celebrate her 50th birthday. I wasn’t a jogger and had never imagined running a 5K, let alone a 13.1-mile course. Yet I agreed without hesitation.

The reality of coaching hit me only later, but at that time I was committed. I often attempted to convince myself it was OK to not run — because it was hard, because it was hot, because it was cold, because I was tired, because I was self-conscious. But every time, I remembered that every step leading up to the race celebrated Louisa. It had been easier to show up for her rather than show up for the training, or for the race. By turning up for her, I ultimately showed up for myself.

More recently, I was invited to name a new who: Kelly Richards. Minus the coupon-clipping Kelly, and neither did I, but because soon as I heard her story I felt connected. The manager of Life Time’s Target Center club in Minneapolis, Kelly is really a triathlete who loves dancing, Bitmojis, New Kids on the Block, the Seattle Seahawks, and her friends. And in August, Kelly was involved in a horrifying bike accident that caused serious brain injuries. In a moment, she went from a fun-loving, big-hearted athlete to a woman in a coma fighting on her life.

Her colleagues rallied around her to design a benefit workout with a party atmosphere. Rally for Richards — a triathlon of sorts, comprising an Alpha workout, a cycling workout, along with a yoga session — raised money for Kelly’s treatment and hoped-for recovery.

Additionally, it gave the folks in her life a chance to combined efforts to support her and each other.

That night, dozens of us worked out side by side, breaking a sweat and pushing our physical limits. However the workouts were more than just exercise.

“Remember who you’re here for,” drilled one of the coaches leading the Alpha crew as we slogged through an interval circuit of box jumps, kettlebell swings, burpees, jumping rope, and rowing. It was an effective workout, a frightening combo of strength and conditioning moves.

We all turned up to work out, and work out hard, but none of us was there for the workout itself. We were there for Kelly. For her family. For her friends. For each other. For ourselves.

Since then, as Kelly makes slow progress, I think of her — still a woman I don’t know personally — every time I feel my commitment to my workouts falter. I remember that if she could, she'd. And I know that every step, every lift, every rep is really a shot of positive energy. On her. For the people who love her. And ultimately, for me, too.

When it comes to working out, who are you here for?