For some people, it’s easy to exercise regularly. They love their hula hoop fitness class, they get a rush from a run. But for a lot of us, getting to the gym can feel like drudgery. Or worse, it can feel like it’s not working and therefore not worth it. That often has a lot more to do with our goals than ourselves. Translation: It’s not your fault. Motivation doesn’t work if it’s not the right kind of motivation.Losing weight or keeping weight off is both the most common reason women want to work out and the least effective way to motivate yourself to actually do it. Focusing too much on how you look isn’t as powerful as pursuing goals to feel better, sleep better and be more healthy—all of which you can get from regular physical activity. And here’s a new one that’s bound to get the wheels spinning, at Flywheel and in your mind: Exercising now can make you smarter later.According to an April 2014 study in the journal Neurology, people who are more fit in their 20s have better cognitive performance in their 40s and 50s. That’s right, the sweat sessions you go through today will make you sharper in middle age. Researchers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis put more than 2,700 young adults through a treadmill test to see how fast they could go and how long they could run. They then revisited those same participants two decades later and did the test again.Five years after that, they took a cognitive exam that tested verbal memory and high-level brain function. Those who did the best on the initial treadmill task performed better on the cognitive test 20 years later. The researchers also found that while people didn’t do quite as well on the fitness test the second time around, those who stayed closer to their twenty-something level scored higher cognitively.Take it from two older guys who have to use their brains a lot: This is a great reason to kick up the cardio and keep it up. And yes, you’ll probably look better and definitely feel better now, too. So when you’re packing up your gym back or pondering pounding the pavement, remind yourself that the smart decision today will make you smarter for all your tomorrows.MORE: The Real Reason You Don’t Have Your Bikini Body Has Nothing to Do With Exercise