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Why I’m Giving Up TV for Two Months

January 22, 2021 by
Credit: John-Mark Smith
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It’s that time of the year again where New Year’s resolutions flourish (and die) as quickly as they’re made.

Personally, I prefer to reset when I feel it’s necessary rather than around the New Year, but this time around the occasions coincide. 

So it was Wednesday evening on January 14, I decided that on Thursday I’d commence a two-month fast of all TV. Yes, you can start a journey mid-week folks; you don’t have to wait until Monday of next month. 

Last night, as I was finishing up some work, it dawned on me how much time I was spending watching tv — Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, you name it — aimlessly filling time and space before going to bed. Yeah, it’s the pandemic folks and I know everything is closed, but there are more ways I can spend my time than in front of the ‘tube. 

It’s not the first time I’ve given up TV, or another item for a concentrated period of time. I’ve fasted alcohol and certain foods, or I’ve done the opposite and committed myself to a certain task each day. I think efforts like this are a healthy way to reset our bodies and our minds. 

So here’s why I’m doing it. 

One. I work way too much, which drives my energy reserves too low to do anything else other than TV in the evening. Taking TV out of my options will force me to reorient my day and schedule to find something else to fill my time. I also sleep better (and get there earlier) when I don’t watch TV right before bed. 

Two. I have a genuine love for reading. It spurs my creativity and as a person I enjoy investing time in bettering myself mentally and physically. Too often lately, I find that I’m adding just one more episode in the evening, leaving me less than 30-minutes before hitting the sack. 

Three. TV gives me an excuse to stay on the couch and not go out and do anything else. Yes, having a lazy Saturday is great but maybe not 7-days-a-week for six months 🙋‍♂️🙋‍♂️🙋‍♂️. 

Lastly, it makes me feel lazy. This is a lot more about perception than reality but I feel lazy which isn’t very motivating, and with motivation in short supply this season I could really use as much as I can get. 

TV is really more of a metaphor about how we choose to invest our time or cope with the stressors in our lives.

Some questions I’m asking myself:

  • Have I learned a new skill lately?
  • Have I invested in stronger relationships with my friends? What about my family?
  • Have I invested in my community, or neighbors?
  • Have I brought joy to others around me or sacrificed time to help another?

Most of the above don’t actually require a lot of time, just the commitment to spend the time. Now I have one less excuse. 

Truth is, I don’t really love TV that much, or movies, but that’s not the point. TV is really more of a metaphor about how we choose to invest our time or cope with the stressors in our lives. 

And based on the above questions, I haven’t been doing any of those things. Pandemic be damned, there’s always a way. 

I’ve decided that maybe I’m coping a little too much and it’s time for a course correction. 

If you’re thinking the same thing, here’s one piece of advice I’ve learned while doing different fasts over the years: don’t over-invest your extra time in something equally unhealthy. For me, that would be spending more time working. If you’re giving up chocolate, that would be like eating a bunch more fruit to satisfy your sugar cravings. Instead, chart out a list of things you’d like to do with the time instead. 

Finding yourself at fault for slipping up or not being perfect that day is almost as destructive as the indulgence itself.

The last thing I’ll say is this: don’t view missteps as failures. This was a great lesson that Adee Cazayoux of Working Against Gravity shared with me as my nutrition coach/really more a life coach centered around food. Finding yourself at fault for slipping up or not being perfect that day is almost as destructive as the indulgence itself. Just move on and go forward. A slip-up, in the end, is really pretty inconsequential in comparison to the journey of forming new habits. 

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