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How to be Optimistic – James Woodworth Free E-book

How to be Optimistic – James Woodworth Click here for free ebook download


Most of us will find ourselves drifting, from time to time into negative, pessimistic, unhelpful thinking. It’s not easy recognising when we’ve fallen into the negativity trap nor is escaping it as straight-forward as it may, at first, appear. But this is not to say that each and every one of us can’t have an abundance of hope, optimism and positivity in our lives. Read on…

Self-Efficacy, Motivation and Our Explanatory Style


What exactly is self-efficacy? Self-efficacy is the extent in which we believe we are capable of succeeding in any given situation.  These beliefs according to the American psychologist Albert Bandura (1986) determine our thoughts, feelings and behaviours – our beliefs, therefore have a huge impact on our motivation.


Have you noticed, for example, how difficult it is to motivate yourself to do something you don’t believe is possible? Our beliefs also influence our expectations – we have to expect things of ourselves before we can achieve them.


We may want to change but wanting to change and actually committing to change are too completely different things – we may have an idea of some goal we wish to accomplish but if we don’t believe we are capable of achieving that goal then we are unlikely to find the motivation we need to succeed (makes sense, doesn’t it?).


Whether a person can find the motivation needed to achieve the goals they set for themselves is determined largely, though not exclusively, by their self-efficacy.


Those with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View a problem as an interesting challenge to be mastered.
  • Are determined and commit themselves to activities and interests.
  • Focus on what they have achieved as opposed to the mistakes they have made.
  • Are resilient and so recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments.


Those with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid tasks that are challenging.
  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities.
  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes.
  • Quickly lose confidence in their personal abilities.


Another question worth considering relates to the origin of self-efficacy – where does a person’s self-efficacy come from?

Self-efficacy, like all personal belief systems is learned – a person’s self-efficacy is formed initially in early childhood but can continue to grow and develop throughout life depending on whatever events, circumstances or situations a person experiences.

According to Bandura, there are four major sources of self-efficacy.

  1. Mastery Experiences

The most effective way of developing a strong sense of self-efficacy is through experiencing success, “I did that.  Well done me.”

  1. Social Modelling

Seeing other people succeed is also important particularly if those who are succeeding are understood to be similar to us, i.e. “If she can do it so can I.”

  1. Social Persuasion

Praise, encouragement and constructive criticism can help overcome issues of self-doubt.  This can come in the form of positive feedback from others but can also be a part of a person’s self-talk, i.e. the things we say to ourselves “I’m improving in so many different ways.” “I can do this.”

  1. Psychological Responses

Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all have an impact on how a person feels about their personal capabilities in any given situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in this particularly area for example.  However, according to Bandura it is not the intensity of any emotional or physical reaction we may have that matters – it’s how we perceive and interpret the event.  How we explain events to ourselves is hugely significant and impactful – it can make all the difference in the world between whether the adversity we face will defeat us or whether we rise up against it and triumph.   The psychologist Martin Seligman (1990) also stressed the importance of the way we explain situations to ourselves through a process he called our explanatory style.  It is not so much adversity itself that knocks us back but how we explain difficult and challenging situations to ourselves – whether, for example, we interpret the experience as being something that we overcome or not.  Having an optimistic explanatory style is not only empowering but plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of self-efficacy.


Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Seligman, M.E.P. (1990). Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. New York: Random House.

Sugar and Spice and all things nice… what of ‘disgust propensity’?

By Rob Kelly

Sugar and Spice and all things nice…

SO, just what is the connection between muddy wellies and The Thrive Programme?

Modern life is all too trigger-happy on the germ-bashing front –  we all have an arsenal of antibacterial sprays, wipes and gels in our cupboards (and even our handbags) and some people are intent on living a super-clean and sanitised life.  Especially people with OCD and emetophobia for whom keeping clean can be a particular priority.

In our work as Thrive Programme Consultants, we notice that sufferers of emetophobia and OCD often have a very strong disgust propensity: that is a strong tendency to respond with the emotion of disgust to situations.  Dirty or disgusting things are commonly be met with a hysterical reaction of ‘eeeewwww’ and ‘gross’. People respond to a bit of muck by overestimating the risk of illness, and sufferers might even try to prevent themselves or their children from getting mucky or messy or use other ‘safety-seeking’ behaviours such as excessive hand washing or monitoring of physical symptoms.

Most of us were taught this disgust propensity by their own (often obsessive) mothers; and were brought up to be ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’ as young girls.  Identifying this as one of the root causes of your thinking problems can take you a step closer to recovery. Responding to dirty or disgusting situations with a calmer, more realistic approach can be really helpful, in place of aspiring to germ-free dazzling-white perfection and health-related anxiety.

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In taking people through the Thrive Programme, we may help you to challenge yourself in the face of something ‘disgusting’, and especially if you have a daughter, allow yourself to experience a little bit of muck, mess or disorder as it will benefit your mental well-being.  We advocate a responsible approach to health, hygiene and food preparation with the emphasis on as clean as necessary, not as clean as possible, and at no point will we suggest unnecessary exposure to risk or illness.

Getting outside and getting a little bit muddy offers a host of benefits; mud is ‘just clean dirt’ after all!

Craving a CALM Christmas? Stress-free tips from the Thrive Programme

Craving a CALM Christmas? Stress-free tips from the Thrive Programme

So, 16 days until Christmas.

How are you feeling?


Or frenzied?


Or overwhelmed?

Whether you’re looking forward to festive frivolity, decorating your house to Instagram-worthy perfection and catching up with your nearest and dearest, or worrying that you’ll never meet those end of year deadlines and get to the end of your To Do list, the Thrive Programme can help you to feel calm and in control without the stress.

Yes, that’s right, with a bit of help from the Thrive Programme you can appreciate the pleasures of Christmas without going into meltdown.

Firstly, think perspective, not panic, and take control of your thinking. Stress sabotages success, which leads to… yes, more stress. Identify when your stress levels are starting to skyrocket, and think your way to calm. A few minutes to conquer your thoughts is time well spent during this busy holiday season.  Mulled wine and a mince pie might really help the process….

Secondly, don’t let yourself fall into self-defeating perfectionism. Good enough really is good enough.  Credit yourself for all you manage to achieve, be it buying presents, juggling a busy social schedule, remembering to place your online shopping order or simply finding the end of the sellotape (or simply FINDING the sellotape!) Keep a sense of perspective and be realistic.

Most importantly, be in the moment. Parties,  Christmas cocktails, over-excited children and even Brussels sprouts: there will be plenty of memorable moments to enjoy over the coming weeks. Take the time to savour and appreciate the real spirit of Christmas.

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The ‘Stress-o-meter’… manage your thinking well and keep your stress-o-meter needle pointing towards the lower
end of the board.  It’s much easier to keep calm, than it is to calm down once you’re stressed!

And if you’re looking for the ultimate gift suggestion, why not buy your friend, neighbour, colleague, boss or even mother-in-law a copy of Rob Kelly’s Thrive book? It’s full of proven & practical ways to achieve health, happiness & success. £24.95, available here.  Who wouldn’t like to find a gift like that under their Christmas tree?

Thrive – by Alecea White

My own experience of Thrive – by Thrive Consultant Alecea White

I use Thrive with many of my clients because I believe in it. I have recently had to become a thrive trainee again and apply the principles to myself all over again. Just a few days ago I was driving along the M25 200 miles from home heading back to our holiday apartment when I heard a bang and then all of a sudden we were spinning round the motorway nose to nose with an oncoming lorry at one point and eventually coming to a stop in the fast lane facing the central reservation.  A lorry in the next lane to us had decided to change lanes without checking his blind spot first. Over the next few hours images of the accident would flash into my head. Because of my Thrive training I know that I was creating these images and that they weren’t just happening to me. I began to shout STOP in my head to make the images disappear, looking at the smiley face of my 1 year old helped too!  I refused to let the images make me think what if…

I always have been and always will be a daddy’s girl and the first person I rang whilst standing on the hard shoulder was my dad. He told me I should be elated we had survived and that he was so proud of me for keeping my family alive. I said thankyou and yes I’ll take that praise because I knew I deserved it and it is now on my list of 10 achievements!

Well today I got behind the wheel of a car again. I was nervous and extremely hypervigilant of course but I had to keep reminding myself not to give in to Coue’s law as any doubts I had about my driving may turn into silly mistakes on the road.

I knew I had the skills to get through this and I knew to be kind to myself and not demand too much of myself. And yes after all that I have increased my self esteem and lowered my social anxiety (I won’t go into what I shouted at the lorry driver on the side of the motorway!)

Alecea White
Thrive Consultant

Thrive by Rob Kelly in the Sun Newspaper

The Sun Newspaper self-help books: Thrive by Rob Kelly @ number 2!

In todays Sun Newspaper, in a section on Health, Well-being and Fitness, they recommend Rob Kelly’s Thrive book..

Thrive – The changing limiting beliefs workbook by Rob Kelly. £19.95

If you are struggling with anxiety, depression or obsessive disorders, this book could show you the light at the end of the tunnel. It details ways to tackle negative thinking, motivational problems and confidence issues.

You can buy the 150+ five star reviewed ‘Thrive’ book, off Amazon.

Daily Mirror Lifestyle: The 20 New Year’s resolutions the experts are trying…

Daily Mirror Lifestyle: The 20 New Year’s resolutions the experts are trying…


6) Use positive words

  • Rob Kelly, therapist and creator of The Thrive Programme

“This New Year, I’m going to ‘mind my language’ – that is be more thoughtful about how I say things by trying to be positive in my wording. Our language is hugely powerful. The words that we speak both out loud and in our minds actually influences our beliefs and emotions. If you speak and think negative words, you’ll make yourself feel miserable and stressed, while using positive language can make you feel confident and upbeat. For example, ‘I’ve had an awful day and I’m completely exhausted’ could become, ‘My day hasn’t been great, but I can’t wait to have a nice relaxing bath and early night’.”


See full Daily Mirror article:

Yahoo Lifestyle top tip from Rob Kelly’s Thrive Programme..

5. Recognise your achievements
Make sure you say well done to yourself for the efforts you are putting into achieving your goals and realise that it is this hard work that will lead to success. Whenever you achieve a goal (or a step along the way), praise yourself for your accomplishment.

Additionally, rather than just thinking about what you have achieved, what you have learned along the way is really important – often more important than the actual outcome – since it is these skills that will enable you to thrive in life.

The Thrive Programme is a new and unique psychological programme, which helps people with a number of different problems including, motivation, negative thinking, addictions, confidence, phobias and a variety of other health and social conditions. Rob can be found on Twitter and his workbook, Thrive – the Changing Limiting Beliefs workbook: Health, Happiness and Success is out now.


Yahoo link: http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/how-to-achieve-goals-new-years-resolutions-104759829.html

‘Thrive Programme’ in Healthy Magazine – 5 ways to Thrive in 2014

 5 ways to Thrive in 2014

Why not try these tips, based upon therapist Rob Kelly’s Thrive Programme, for achieving your New Year’s resolutions?

1. Start accepting yourself

It’s beneficial to think of ways in which you can make positive changes in your life, but some people become very caught up in thinking about their perceived imperfections and problems. This is unhelpful because it decreases self-esteem and contributes to feelings of helplessness. This New Year, as well as making some resolutions, set aside some time to reflect upon 10 positive things about yourself, regardless of how small. This will help you to build self-esteem and a sense of power and enable you to feel more empowered in relation to achieving your goals.

2. Set attainable goals

It would, for example, be rather unrealistic to state that you are going are going to run a marathon next month when you currently struggle to walk a mile.  Rather than making rash, drunken promises, think about this year’s resolutions in advance. This way, you will be able to (soberly!) think about the kind of goals that are actually attainable. What are reasonable expectations? Don’t be pessimistic about your ability to achieve things, but think carefully about whether or not what you are asking of yourself is realistic. You can set yourself challenging goals BUT these goals should be achievable if you put in determined effort.

3. Start believing that you are in control

Many people approach their New Year’s resolutions in a powerless way, expecting magical positive changes, without really considering their role in achieving them. Unsurprisingly, this is a pretty likely route to failure! Realise that you are in control of whether or not you are successful in your goals; your successes come about as a result of your efforts and skills. So, keep reminding yourself that it is down to your whether or not you achieve your resolutions this year.

4. Take steps to achieve your resolutions

In line with tip 3, and perhaps rather obviously, you need to to take action! What small steps do you need to take in order to accomplish your resolutions? Your goal may be to lose a stone over the course of the year. But a whole year is a quite long way away. So, to keep yourself motivated and to ensure you are taking the steps to achieve this goal, you should set yourself smaller short-term targets. For example, you might decide that you are going to go for a run twice a week.

5. Recognise your achievements

You want say well done to yourself for the efforts you are putting into achieving your goals and realise that it is this hard work that will lead to success. Whenever you achieve a goal (or a step along the way), again, praise yourself for your accomplishment. Additionally, rather than just thinking about what you have achieved, what you have learned along the way is really important – often more important than the actual outcome – since it is these skills that will enable you to thrive in life.

For more top tips on how to achieve your goals, check out Rob Kelly’s book, Thrive – the Changing Limiting Beliefs workbook (£19.99. Available from Amazon, and all good bookstores).

The Thrive Programme is a NEW and unique psychological programme, which helps people with a number of different problems including, motivation, negative thinking, addictions, confidence, phobias and a variety of other health and social conditions.

Follow Rob Kelly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thriveprogramme

Visit the Thrive Programme website: www.thriveprogramme.org

Words: Rob Kelly