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

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Chapter 5

Conceptual influences on change

The ES operates through a set of interrelated stories that conceptualise problems, contexts, and possible solutions, and how solutions might be implemented. The way we think about a problem affects the kinds of solutions we seek. However, the way our OSs react influences our capacity to act in the ways we think we should. This chapter is concerned with the generic thematic content of stories that are used to help engineer change.

As elaborated in Chapter 3, the ES creates three kinds of stories: descriptions of situations or events, explanations or stories of why we act the way we do and scripts or stories of pathways to action.

Collectively, our stories allow us to create conceptualisations of possible futures, generate goals with respect to those stories, and develop plans for achieving those goals, including seeking out environments more amenable to the achievement of our goals. The distinction between setting and/or refining goals and the subsequent development and refinement of plans or scripts for action is an important one for HTM behaviours, as goals are rarely achieved immediately after they are formed. Several attempts, often over a period of years, may be required and for some, the goal will never be attained.

This chapter focusses on the kinds of beliefs that are relevant to behaviour change and how such goals contribute to the development of goals for action. The ways in which people move from goal development, to behaviour ...

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