Mental Toughness and Goal Setting- What can we learn from endurance athletes?

Ironman Triathlete on the 112 mile bike ride


Determined, highly driven and tough minded are the character traits needed when competing in ultra-marathons, ironman triathlons or long distance endurance adventures. These can be beneficial to us all and translated to non-sport related activities.

I have been fascinated for many years by Ironman Triathletes and adventurers who push themselves to their physical limit.  Although I have never really had the inclination myself to climb the highest peaks on each continent, run round the world on my own or compete in an Ironman Triathlon, I find those who do very inspirational.  Like my husband who competed in an Ironman Triathlon several years ago, many individuals who do these events are not top athletes.  However, they have developed the qualities professional sports people use every day in order to succeed.  Whether your goal for this year is to lose weight, get fit by running your first half marathon or start learning to play a new musical instrument, self-discipline, mental toughness, grit, high self- efficacy are all qualities that help us to achieve our goals.

Self Discipline
Professional sports people have this in spades. Without it they would not be able to get up at 5.00 am to go and train in the pool or the gym.  It’s about delayed gratification and impulse control.   The idea of waiting for a greater reward instead of some instant gratification is something that affects us all to a lesser or greater extent.  There have been some interesting studies on impulse control, the most famous being the Marshmallow Test (Mischel et al 1970, Mischel, 1978, Mischel et al, 1989) where a group of 4-6 year old children were asked individually to go in a room [...]

Are phobias real?

Only if you believe that they are…It is fair to day that no one comes into the world with a phobia. How can we, when we don’t know what anything is. If we aren’t born with it, it means we must have (inadvertently) learnt how to create or have the phobia. Underlying any phobia are unhelpful belief systems and unhelpful and powerless thinking and an extremely unhelpful imagination.Some phobias may come about through an unpleasant experience, for example being bitten by a dog. It stands to reason that one may become fearful of dogs immediately after the incident, which in turn, may grow, to become a full blown phobia. This all makes logical sense. The question to ask, is “what about the person who is bitten, as badly, by the same or similar type or size dog, and still functions normally around dogs?”. Two very similar situations but two very different outcomes.So, what happens in the situation where a phobia about dogs develops? It goes something like this…person gets bitten. They feel a bit shocked and shaken. The dog is hauled away and the person’s bite is treated. The person feels relieved that there was no major damage done. This is where the scenario could potentially end. But it doesn’t. The person then keeps imagining the scenario over and over again and each time they re-imagine it, they build up more and more anxiety, fear and helplessness around the situation. Every time they see of think of a dog, they will probably recreate the scenario again, creating a strong association between dogs and anxiety and terror. The dog bite has gone from a one off slightly scary and unpleasant to a hugely terrifying ordeal [...]

Ten reasons why The Thrive Programme works better than therapy

You can work through The Thrive Programme at home, with a friendly consultant of over Skype from the comfort of your own home


No referrals, waiting lists or enormous bills (even a full course of the Thrive Programme with a Consultant is cheaper than learning to drive)


You’ll understand how and why you are feeling better: you become the expert in understanding your thinking and emotions
Overcoming a specific symptom is only the beginning: knowing how to thrive is the way forward. Don’t be surprised if you do the Thrive Programme to overcome a fear of flying (for example) and end up changing your life in ways you never hoped to dream of!


No jargon, no mumbo-jumbo, no magic: plain English with a dollop of humour


Thriving is about looking forward, not looking back. The Thrive Programme helps you move forward feeling empowered and capable. It’s not about the past.


The Thrive Programme memorable and it makes sense. Leave your consultation knowing exactly how to apply your learning and change your thinking.

The Thrive Programme is quick quickly. Most people completing the programme see huge life-changing results in a matter of weeks. This is in contrast to the years of therapy, counselling or psychiatric treatment you might have already experienced.


Anyone, anywhere, anytime and any age can learn how to thrive. Which Thrive Programme book is most suitable for you?


It works. We see it time and again. Read some real-life stories here.

By |February 9th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

A better way to spend Valentines? Cambridge Two-Day Thrive Programme Bootcamp 13 – 14 February

Big News! In less than 3 weeks we will be running an intensive two day Thrive Bootcamp hosted by Rob Kelly, in Cambridge.
We have been promising it for months, and we’re very excited to announce that we have now booked a two-day event in Cambridge, for Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February 2016.  If you want to kick-start a lasting change in your life and learn to thrive, book now!

Thrive is the No.1 cure for emetophobia. This UK bootcamp is a great way to get a head start.

At the two-day event in Cambridge, Rob Kelly will guide you through the Thrive Programme from start-to-finish, with opportunities for questions, discussion and some group-based activities. Our intention is to teach you all you need to know to understand  The Thrive Programme, so you can leave knowing how to apply it straight away. This is ideal for anyone who has (or has not) read the book at home, or has been held back in life for whatever reason. Whether or not you have had treatment or psychological interventions before (perhaps CBT, psychotherapy, NLP, hypnotherapy or counselling), come along and learn how to thrive.

You will need a copy of  The Thrive Programme manual, which you can order direct from here. There is no need to read the book in advance.

At the end of the weekend you will leave feeling invigorated and confident that life will not get the better of you; more to the point,  you will get know how to get the best out of life. You will leave ready to face life with optimism, enthuasiasm and hope, feeling keen to embrace change.

The Thrive Programme is not therapy; we will not be doing anything ‘to’ you but [...]

By |February 8th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The Thrive Programme in Schools – Recent Case Studies

Over the past year, The Thrive Programme has launched an initiative to put Thrive into schools. We have already been successful with our book Thrive for Teenagers and it is our opportunity to bring effective principles of The Thrive Programme to a younger audience in relevant environments. Below is the write up of our work in three case studies in Scotland and the South of England.



The Thrive Programme is a psychological training programme that equips people with the self-awareness, skills and resources that they need to flourish in life. Rob Kelly’s programme combines his twenty-five years of clinical experience in psychotherapy with research from the field of positive psychology, resulting in a dynamic course that helps students to change their lives for the better. The Thrive Programme offers a host of benefits: behavioural, educational and therapeutic, and can be tailored to your school or setting.

The Thrive Programme is a six–ten week course that boosts students’ resilience, self-esteem and self-confidence.   This offers educational, psychological and health-related benefits, both in the short and long-term. In addition to quantifiable benefits, students completing the Thrive Programme report advantages such as increased happiness, more self-reliance and even a calmer temper. The course is suitable for students from Year 7/Primary 7.
The Thrive Programme teaches students techniques in a meaningful, memorable way. Sessions are fun and interactive, making use of practical demonstrations, video clips and group tasks: they are deliberately not like a normal lesson, and this is one of the things that holds appeals for students. There is some written work and follow-up tasks, and schools often choose to recap learning during tutor time, for maximum impact. The course is suitable for all students regardless of literacy ability, and comprises a number [...]

By |November 11th, 2015|Blog & News|0 Comments|

Sometimes our Thrive Trainees deserve a special mention…

Just received another lovely email from a stranger. I have permission to share her email and some of her diary maps..
You can clearly see the amount of effort and determination this lady has put in to changing her life. She deserves the freedom she has created.
Dear Rob,I am a 55 year old wife and mother. For years I have suffered from being obese, self harming and self loathing.I work in primary education and thankfully for me I have a very understanding boss who acknowledges mental health and who referred me to our school counsellor.On meeting him I was apprehensive to say the least, he was half my age, what would he know? This wonderful young man introduced me to Thrive. It took me a while to digest the contents, possibly because my ‘Locus of control’ was most definitely EXTERNAL!I stuck with it, and this week whilst on half term, I decided to devote time each day to myself…I started to understand myself, accept myself. I made myself a scrapbook, with a page for the key events etc, in my life. Then I’ve spent the last few days just writing words, phrases, quotes and thoughts, anywhere and everywhere.I have to date lost 18lbs in eight weeks, food doesn’t control me anymore! I feel as though I’ve emerged from a cocoon into a bright, new place and in that place I’m happy to be me.I have revisited the quizzes in your book and I can’t believe the change, I feel that I can start to live my life. I know that not everything that comes my way will be easy but I know that I have the tools to cope.So I’d like to say [...]

By |November 11th, 2015|Blog & News|0 Comments|

Parenting right for brighter futures: Caring not controlling with The Thrive Programme

Parenting right for brighter futures: Caring not controlling

We all know that parenting is the toughest job out there ; now new research supports the Thrive Programme and helps us to do it right.

Caring and sensitivity.

As far back as the Bowlby research in the 1960s a link was established between maternal repsponisvenss, sensitivity, and secure attachment resulting in healthy and positive outcomes: this is now brought up to date with new research exploring a range of important factors such as independence, autonomy, self-esteem, identity and resilience, positive mental health and ultimately happiness.

The research carried out by University College London (UCL) focused on controlling vs caring parenting styles and asked participants to agree or disagree with such statements as “appeared to understand my problems and worries,” “tried to control everything I did,” “let me go out as often as I wanted”.

Dr Mai Stafford from the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health & Ageing at UCL, explains: “We found that people whose parents showed warmth and responsiveness had higher life satisfaction and better mental well-being throughout early, middle and late adulthood.”


So what is controlling parenting?

When parents are controlling they limit the amount of decisions the child can make, which also means they are less likely to learn from their own mistakes and conflicts. They may also invade their privacy, and not let the child have any psychological ‘space’.


And what are the effects of controlling parenting?

Children need to develop many psychological resources if they are to progress confidently and happily into adulthood. When parents are over controlling it limit the child’s opportunities to develop these as they do not get to interact independently with their environment.


Controlling parenting and mental health

Without opportunities to practice self-directed, independent decision making, children are [...]

By |September 19th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Flying High with The Thrive Programme

Have you ever watched, jaw-dropping, a light aircraft performing aerobatics?

Death-defying dives; stomach-lurching twists and turns?
There’s something awe-inspiring and captivating – if not perilously nerve-wracking – that keeps your eyes fixed on the sky.

Driving past a local airfield recently I spent a while watching planes, which brought to mind an obvious analogy with The Thrive Programme.

People do The Thrive Programme for a number of reasons, and in doing so they learn how to master their thinking, control their mind and make decisions with a newfound confidence and sense of capability. People who have completed the Programme and started to ‘thrive’ get in touch all the time to tell us of the dramatic ways their lives have changed; the decisions or life events they have taken in their stride whereas previously they might have hidden their head in the sand, quaked in their boots or nervously given excuses (sound like you?) . People find it easy to start undertaking new feats which would have been beyond them beforehand , without the skills and self-knowledge gained through the Thrive Programme.

Same with the pilot performing aerobatics… From the ground, the pilot’s skill is awe-inspiring and for most of us it is beyond our imaginations or wildest hopes to be able to perform the same feats. However, for the pilot in the cockpit, he/she was once just like you or I and had to start somewhere; little steps, careful mastery, conscientious practice. And once you’re airborne it’s much easier to put it all into practice and give the new skills a go: from the ground, it’s just theory, potential, possibility.

The Thrive Programme gets quick results but it is not a quick-fix; reading the theory is one important part [...]

By |August 5th, 2015|Blog & News|0 Comments|

Mary thrives again in her local paper!

Again Mary is picked up by her local paper as an amazing story of achievement for overcoming her debilitating fear of being sick. It is not surprising that Mary won Thrive Trainee of the Year considering her remarkable journey. And in case it is not clear, that’s her trophy she’s holding in the photograph! Well done Mary!

Laura transforms her life with the help of Thrive – another National Newspaper appearance for Thrive!

Laura (or Birdie as we know her) has come a tremendously long way from where she was just a few short years ago. Having had a poor childhood, Laura made a life changing (or ending decision) having had enough. Astoundingly after she threw herself in front of a lorry in full motorway traffic, Laura survived. She was nursed and cared for physically back to health having suffered some very significant injuries. Unfortunately her experience of being cared for psychologically did not match up. Laura was left feeling awful about herself, her actions and her life. It was within her, however, to keep searching for help. She found Thrive. She got stuck in. She turned her life around. The rest is history – having now found love and a passion for fitness in life, her next challenge to conquer is to qualify as a firefighter. And we know she will do it.


To read the full article, click here.

Personal trainer, 22, who tried to kill herself but survived with horrific injuries now says the traumatic experience has helped her appreciate the joys of life

Laura Bird, from Cambridge, was devastated by death of school friend
She tried to step into traffic but believes she was saved by fate
Miss Bird broke multiple ribs, had portions of skin ripped away and broke her femur so severely doctors considered amputating her leg
She has made a full recovery and now sees her ordeal as a blessing 

PUBLISHED: 15:19, 11 June 2015 | UPDATED: 16:52, 11 June 2015
A personal trainer who survived an attempt to kill herself says that despite being left with horrific injuries the experience has made her appreciate life.
Laura Bird, 22, [...]