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What Makes Diets Fail? a Brief Lesson on the Differences Between "Motives" and "Reasons"

A Quick Summary



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Main Points on This Quick List



[1] All Real Diets Contain Some Truth. This "Truth" is Based on the "Reasons" Behind the Diet.
[2] Every Diet Attempts to Use The "Reasons Behind the Diet"to Create a Lasting "Motive."
[3] Unfortunately, "Reasons" Cannot Create Lasting "Motives." Why? Because "Motives" and "Reasons" Are Two Different Things. One is a Personal Experience. The other is a Logical Idea. This means while "Reasons," at times, can appear to be peoples' "motives," they never are.
[4] This Failure; the failure to recognize "Motives" as "Personal Experiences"; is every diet's weakness in that, by confusing "Motive" with "Reasons," Diets Expect Too Much From Us. How Much? They Expect us to Use Their "Reasons" To Create and Sustain Our "Motives."
[5]The Measure of a Diet's Success Should Be Based Only On How Long You Continued It While Motivated; Did It Last As Long As Your Motive? Then the Diet Succeeded. Did You Quit Before Your Motive Ran Out? Then the Diet Failed.
[6] The Only True Motive is "the Personal Experience of Learning."
[7] Learning About the "Reasons" Can Be a Very Potent "Motive."
[8] The Easiest Way to Tell "Motives" from "Reasons" is by their Level of Difficulty. "Motives," even those without "Reasons," are always easy to follow; "Reasons" without Motives are always hard.
[9] "Reasons" which result in "Doing" are called "Pseudo Motives." These Imitation Motives are What Make People Mistake Peoples' "Reasons" for Peoples' "Motives." "Reasons" are Never Peoples' "Motives."

Words and Phrases to Pay Attention To


(they've been redefined to reflect Emergence Personality Theory)
"reasons" as motives, as pseudo motives, as real motives, what is the measure of a diet's success?

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Quick List With Examples



[1] All Real Diets Contain Some Truth. This "Truth" is Based on the"Reasons" Behind the Diet.

  • there are no legitimate diets which are not based on some truth about health, even if this "truth" is simply that the person need be more conscious of how and what and when they eat.
  • some diets contain mostly science; some, mostly spirituality. Both can work, if the person doing the diet is motivated.
  • diets based on both science and spirituality make the best diets. This is based on the idea that "balance" between the "two worlds"; between the world of the "physical" and the world of the "non physical"; is essential to a lasting motive. No surprise this idea is contained in all the classic and / or newly traditional diets.

[2] Every Diet Attempts to Use The "Reasons" Behind the Diet to Create a Lasting "Motive."

  • All diets use their assumptions about health and weight management as the "reasons" to do the diet; as their "motives." More over, since these "reasons" often contain much truth, people believe and assume diets can create lasting motives.
  • An essential criteria for the validity of a spiritual truth is, if it's truly spiritual, it's always true. This is what made the ancient Greeks proclaim that knowledge of geometry was the proof of a prime mover; the evidence of a "God," if you will. Unfortunately, people fail to notice that this permanence is true for ideals but not for people. True ideals do last forever. A "square" remains a "square." People are not geometry though and so, people always eventually fail.
  • Herein lies the source of the worst guilt dieters feel; that they some how failed to keep going when the diet expert told them they could. In essence, they were told, if they tried hard enough, and if they practiced the usually "simple" and reasonable steps contained within the diet, that they could sustain their motive.
  • So what makes us respond so well to motives in the beginning? Motives are always "the personal vision of an ideal." This explains what makes them so easy to follow. There is a part of them which is perfect, and this part helps us to temporarily rise above our humanity.

[3] Unfortunately, "Reasons" Cannot Create Lasting "Motives." Why? Because "Motives" and "Reasons" Are Two Different Things. One is a Personal Experience. The other is a Logical Idea.

  • This belief happens to be the worst lie in all of dieting and weight management: that if you are really motivated, you will keep pursuing your goals. This idea, in fact, is very similar to what people are told about everything from exercise and getting better jobs to getting college diplomas and growing spiritually.
  • In effect, this false belief; that "motives" can last; has never led to people achieving any of these things. It is simply a variation of the "happily-ever-aftering myth," which, if you are reading this, then I hope you have come to know it for what it is; a wonderful children's fairy tale.
  • So what has this false belief led to? To some of the worst guilt and shame we human beings have ever endured. Worse yet, this lie about motive has actually obscured peoples' searches for a real motive, largely because people keep searching for a lasting motive. Even the best motives never last. Only reasons last. And even then, only some reasons. Here are some of the reasons which do last but still fail to create or sustain motivation:
    1. "When you really want it, you will do it."
      Many people say, "When you really want something bad enough, then you'll do something about it. I've met thousands of people who really want a lot of things "bad enough," including to lose weight and to be more healthy. Most of these people could recite lists of their "reasons" as to why they should have kept doing what they were doing. Even with these lists though, they still lacked motivation. No surprise, the most common thing people ask me is, "Why, when I know and truly believe these reasons are true, am I still unable to change?" The "reason?" These "reasons" can not create a "motive."
    2. "You'll do it when you hurt enough."
      This idea is simply insane. I see people every day who hurt more than enough, many of them very sincere and spiritual people. They pretty much all believe this lie, yet, they still lack motive. In truth, pain, while it can motivate people to look for reasons, can not create "motives." It can only create a "motive" to find the "motive."
    3. "You'll do it when your health gets bad enough."
      Many people say "fear" is a great motivator. How sad. In truth, though, although this belief is "reasonable," it fails to account for the fact that, rather than creating motivation, fear more often drains people so badly, they have no energy left. Can fear create a "motive" to look for a "motive?" Here again, yes, but only a "motive" to find a "motive." In truth then, these secondary motives are never the "prime movers" for change in us. At best, they simply keep us looking for a real motive.
    4. "You'll do it when you heal whatever is keeping you from doing it."
      Plenty of people have terrible things like cancers and heart problems. Many of them are told they must change their diets and exercise if they want to live. Many of these people do make these changes, and return to a level of health they have not seen in years. Despite these changes though, eventually, most of these people will fall off the wagon. Why? Because like all motives, eventually, even these motives will fail. When this happens then, most of these people will fall back to their old ways.

[4] This Failure; the failure to recognize "Motives" as "Personal Experiences"; is every Diet's Weakness in that, by Confusing "Motive" with "Reasons," Diets Expect Too Much From Us. How Much? They Expect us to Use Their "Reasons" To Create and Sustain Our "Motives."

  • These ideas take time to take in. If, at this point, you do not see what I'm getting at, try this. Try asking yourself if you have you ever quit something you have had good reasons to continue? If you are normal, you will have done this many times. So now ask yourself, how often have you started something and then lost interest? Many times? Over and over? If you've answered yes, then in all likelihood, you are both aware of yourself and honest. And if you answered no, let me ask you, did you ever really try anything? My guess is, if you are reading this article, then you have really tried many things. And quit many times. If this is you, then consider yourself a great success. Why? See my next point.

[5] The Measure of a Diet's Success Should Be Based Only On How Long You Continued It While Motivated; Did It Last As Long As Your Motive? Then the Diet Succeeded. Did You Quit Before Your Motive Ran Out? Then the Diet Failed.

  • The failure and success of a diet should never be based on reasons alone. All diets contain reasons. Even so, no diet contains a lasting motive. Why? Because, while a diet can supply very good reasons, the motive must come from inside you.
  • So what about the times you did quit even when you felt motivated? Being honest with yourself about your failures is the basis of real motive. How? By pointing you toward what you could learn next. And toward what you could put into your life to make it better.

[6] The Only True Motive is "the Personal Experience of Learning."

  • Learning how to do a diet is simply one of the best motives there is. In fact, many people quit a diet as soon as they know how to do it. In other words, many people quit diets simply because they lose "interest" in the diet. Which is just another way to say, "they lost their motive."
  • If you can keep finding things to learn about a diet, you will sustain your motivation. If you don't, then will power can substitute for a brief period of time. This time should be used to reactivate your interest in learning. How? By finding something new to learn about this diet.
  • When you stop finding things to learn about a diet, it will fail. Or be so terribly painful that you will wish it would fail. So how do you manage this situation; the end of the learning aspect? By taking a brief rest in order to find a new diet which does interest you; a new diet in which you see something new to learn about managing your health and weight.
  • What could you learn? New things to learn may include, [1] new things about nutritional content (e.g. how vitamin E affects vitamin C, or what the best source of zinc is), [2] basic food group theory (the degree of fats in certain foods, the differences between sugars, how carbs effect fats, etc.), [3] new things about how the body processes foods, for instance, how the body processes complex proteins, or simple sugars, or carbs when inactive, [4] new ideas about how consciousness and stress effect absorption or elimination, [5] new things about how fasts effect health, [6] how food combining effects mood, etc.
  • Finally, many people will get hung up on how I'm using the word "learning." Please know, my use of this word is as follows: All real learning is personal; all "learning for yourself." Inherent in this brief definition is very deep truth about "wheel making." Question: "Why should you reinvent the wheel?" Answer: "To become a wheel maker. Other than this, you are but a parrot. And parrots, at least the human kind, are never "self motivated." Because they are not learning. They are parroting.

[7] Learning About the "Reasons" Can Be a Very Potent "Motive."

  • Learning about "why a diet works" can be a very potent way to keep your interest high. Learning why a diet works for you in particular can be an even better motive which in fact, can sometimes last for many, many months; sometimes, even for years. Becoming a vegetarian and watching how your body changes over time is a good example of this kind of a long lasting motive.

[8] The Easiest Way to Tell "Motives" from "Reasons" is by their Level of Difficulty. "Motives," even those without "Reasons," are always easy to follow; "Reasons" without Motives are always hard.

  • Both "motives" and "reasons" can result in "doing," but only one is easy. Which one? "Motives." Why? Because "reasons" are someone else's personal experience. "Motives" are our own personal experience.

[9] "Reasons" which result in "Doing" are called "Pseudo Motives." These Imitation Motives are What Make People Mistake Peoples' "Reasons" for Peoples' "Motives." "Reasons" are Never Peoples' "Motives."

  • This idea, that people's reasons are their motives, has become so embedded in most peoples' brains, that most folks will simply have to accept that changing this belief will take work. Thus, if you need to re-read this article many times, don't be discouraged. Hopefully, what will happen is, I will inspire you to test out these ideas for yourself. Even then, the differences between reasons and motives which I've posited her may still elude you. If so, please try to look more deeply into how you, yourself, define the word, "motives." If you are like most folks, your definition will be something like, "Motives are the reasons people do things." In this definition then lies the evidence you see these two things as the same. Now ask yourself how many times you have had reasons to do things but have not followed up? So were the reasons not good enough? Be honest. In fact, I'd bet they were good enough. So was it you then that failed? In a way, yes. You failed to notice that you were not motivated despite having reasons. This is not your fault. It is the simply one of the blindnesses we humans have been living with for all of recorded time.
  • Finally, one of the best statements for realizing this truth; that reasons and motives are different; came from a very reasonable and logical man, a fellow whose logical mind had led him to a career in accounting and financial planning. His statement? When I explained to him what I've just told you, he responded with, "This explains why my brain and my motive often don't sync up." He's right. More often then not, our reasons and motives simply do not sync up.
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