Sometimes you have to face the cold hard facts that you need to change. My first hint was when I was around people, all I had to talk about was what I had been watching on TV.
My second hint was I listened to a podcast on thinking about addiction in different ways. How we may be acting in ways to help us avoid other aspects of our life, personality or circumstances. Many of their examples hit home.
TV especially has been something I’ve always known I loved. My mom used it as a babysitting tool when I was growing up. It was the way I relaxed; the way I connected to the world around me; and I felt connected to the characters on my favorite shows.
While I was raising my kids, I wanted to be the family that didn’t have a TV in the house. Think of the stimulation your kids would have if they couldn’t ever have a gaming system or a TV? But I loved the boob tube too much to give it up.
The final — and deciding — hint was when I followed an articles advice and added up the time I spent watching TV. Right after I ate supper, I’d watch until I went to bed at 8pm. (I read to go to sleep) On the weekends, I have the TV on constantly. For some of the time I listened while I cleaned and did chores. But I can’t count how many times I was sucked in watching a movie. I’d sit down and two hours were gone just like that. Adding up 24 hours of TV on the weekends with two plus hours per week night, that’s 34 hours a week. Multiply it out to and it is 74 days of TV watching. Two and half months of TV watching. Think what I could do in two and half months of productive daylight hours added to my life. WOW.
So on a Sunday morning, with not much forethought, I gave up TV cold turkey. I knew I couldn’t shut it off after watching one show even if I set an alarm like some of the habit changing articles suggested. So the rule was, absolutely no TV on in my house for at least four weeks. I chose four weeks because it takes three weeks to break a habit. Then, I could reassess and maybe under strict guidelines let the TV back in.
What I learned? That I use the TV for sound most of the time. It passes the time to listen to a movie or show while I’m cleaning or doing other things. The time I really should turn off the TV is when I am writing. And, turning it on doesn’t need to be an automatic reaction. I’ve learned that when I am really tired, I want to watch desperately.
This was a good experiment for me. Let me know if you try it.