5 Things To Say 'F**k It To' In January

For the month of January, HuffPost UK Lifestyle is saying no to everything the month has become associated with: extreme diets, detox, alcohol and chocolate bans and so on.

If you want to do that, we wish you well. But for us, January is about what we can add to ourselves, not subtract. To kickstart this month-long campaign #SayNoToJan, we interviewed F**k It Therapy co-founder John Parkin, to find out his five mantras for 2014.

Say Fuck It:

To doing what you normally do every January

What we normally do is follow what all the magazines are telling us. We try to exercise and diet, and we do it every year, and like every other human being it doesn’t last for long. It makes us depressed because it doesn’t stick.

If you can’t overcome the urge to lose weight or diet, my suggestion is to try a new way to do it. Do not stop eating for a few days or stop eating chocolate for a month.

The funny thing about humans is that we repeat dysfunctional behaviour – so we keep doing things that don’t work for us. We’re bound to want to get fit and look better after a week of indulgence but instead of saying: this year I’m definitely going to go to the gym, tell yourself you’ll walk for half an hour each day. That’s what I did two years ago and I’m still doing it.

To goals and plans

Most of us will still do it, so if you need a goal – make it this: to be more in the moment and to live spontaneously.

The problem with goals and plans is that on one hand, it can be really good to focus us. But the problem is that it ends up being this thing that distracts us all the time.

Because we’re so focused on the goal. we take our eye off other spontaneous opportunities. So something amazing might come by, but rather than changing your plans to grasp it, you let it slip by because of the ‘bigger’ goal.

A perfect example is when someone says ‘this is what my ideal man would be like: he’d be 6ft tall, work in finance and like to travel’. By chance, you might mean a guy who is 5ft 10, has a different job and outlook, but you ignore him because you have this fixed idea. My advice is if you do have goals, keep them to a minimum and be flexible.

To changing your shape and appearance especially for others

Enjoy how you are, who you are, just as you are. What we do is we tend to exercise and buy things and eat well because we think we should. Often this is what the magazines are telling us.

This year, dump the role models presented by the media and make your role model you – the glorious you existing beneath all those thoughts that you think you don’t feel good enough.

January is an awful time because it’s a massive reminder you’re not who you used to be or perhaps who you thought you would be. This year, try saying: “Actually I’m ok. Things may be sagging here and there but I’m actually a good person.”

Self-acceptance doesn’t exclude the idea of self-improvement – it actually increases chances of it.

Be spontaneous

To what others think of you this year

So here’s the paradox – we all want to be freer and more spontaneous – most of us like the rebel idea of going our own way. It’s why we like the film character who stands up for what he/she believes in.

However, while we want to be spontaneous, we are held back by the contradictory idea of what others think. There’s a conflict between being free and the idea ofapproval. If we are stuck with the idea that people need to approve or agree with us, it will hold us back. So: care less what other people think.

To the idea of being happy

The idea is to take the pressure off yourself. Most people aren’t very happy but are obsessed with the idea of being so. Try to be okay with how you are, however you are.

Recognise life is a constant flowing of emotions and states – the best advice is to not put up so much resistance to the non-happy states.

Karl Jung said: “What we resist persists.” The more you say ‘I don’t want be that’ ‘I don’t want to feel like this’, the longer it persists.

If I’m feeling shitty and I spent that time analysing the emotion, I will feel worse for longer. It's like New Year’s Eve. The whole world is happy, celebrating and partying – and you might be sitting there feeling a bit shit. The solution is acknowledge that’s how you feel every NYE and adapt to it. When we can let things go, what tends to happen is we ultimately become happier – we stop being so tight around the edges.