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Understanding Hard to Maintain Behaviour Change: A Dual Process Approach by Ron Borland

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Chapter 1

An overview of the theory

Most behaviour change is unproblematic. People's behaviour changes all the time, both in response to an ever-changing environment and their increasingly refined responses to it as they learn and adapt. This book is about trying to understand those aspects of human behaviour that aren't readily brought into concordance with environmental conditions and individual desires. It develops and elaborates a theoretical framework, called CEOS theory (I will explain the acronym later), which is designed to be a new and comprehensive way of thinking about how people change habitual behaviours. This involves understanding the constraints on and the potential of volitional attempts to change behaviour patterns that are under the moment-to-moment control of non-volitional processes.

The theory also focusses on the different processes involved in the initiation and maintenance of behaviour change. It is primarily designed to understand behaviours that are hard-to-maintain (HTM behaviours); that is, ones that while seen as desirable by the individual are not spontaneously adopted or are hard to sustain and/or are seen as undesirable and hard to reduce or eliminate in the long term. These behaviours include stopping smoking, eating healthy foods to maintain a desirable weight, exercising regularly and controlling alcohol consumption. CEOS theory also encompasses easy-to-change behaviour, where it is similar to many existing theories because there is less need ...

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