I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s time to break your TV addiction. I’m not coming from a place of criticizing or judging other people either because…
Hello, my name is Choncé and I’m a TV addict.
Yes, it’s that serious. I know the average American watching a lot of television, but sometimes I feel like I’m a bit overboard.
Over the past 3 months, I’ve watched shows like Game of Thrones, The Rain season 2, The White Queen, The White Princess, The Spanish Princess, When They See Us, Stranger Things season 3, 7 seasons of Bringing Up Bates (20-40-minute episodes), The Handmaid’s Tale and God knows what else.
All together I know that’s a TON of time spent watching television. I’m embarrassed to count up the hours. YouTube is another guilty pleasure that I need to cut back on, but binge-watching shows has become my specialty.
Americans Watch an Average of 4.5 Hours of Television Per Day
That’s a scary thought, but that’s probably where I was at each day or close to it. Sometimes I’d watch a show in the morning before work or while I was exercising. Then, I’d binge a little in the afternoon and in the evening before bed.
Watching TV can be such a time stuck because it takes away from other important things in your life. Not to mention, lack of time is people’s #1 reason for not being able to get important things done, pursue passion projects, and make extra money.
The truth is, there can be plenty of time in the day to spend time with family and friends, cook, tidy up your home, and work on side projects if we all stopped watching so much TV.
A few weeks ago, I took some time to review my goals and assess where I was at in my life.
I made a to-do list of all the things I wanted and needed to wrap up by the end of the year.
Then, I decided that I was watching way too much TV and needed to slow down in order to feel better about myself and how I was managing my time. If you’re looking to break your TV addiction or stop streaming too many YouTube videos, here are some actionable steps you can take.
How to Stop Watching So Much TV
Find Out What Void You’re Filling
TV addicts like myself tend to use shows and movies as a way to fill a void or provide temporary relief and entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing off about sitting down in front of the TV once or twice a week to watch a family movie or indulge in the latest episode of the Kardashians.
But when you’re watching excessive amounts of television each night and even during the day, it’s time to look more closely at what’s happening internally.
Does watching television provide you with a sense of escape? What do you need to escape from?
What are you lacking in your personal life that you feel television provides?
Related: How to Avoid Grief Spending
The “Escape” Factor
Often times, we watch TV to escape our problems or relieve what we identify as boredom. What’s unfortunate is that our problems will be waiting for us at the end of the movie or television show unless we address them.
For me, I was watching TV to procrastinate and fill my time. Even though it wasn’t a great way to fill my time, television shows provided me with a sense of relief as I was suffering from burnout and working on some projects that I wasn’t too crazy about.
I lost my biggest client a few months ago, but it was also the biggest relief to me because I had started to feel like I wasn’t the right person for the job after a while and the pressure was stressing me out.
Trying to replace that client and keep up with other areas of my business seemed so overwhelming to me at the time. I felt like I needed a break so I shut out most of the world and used the TV to give myself a little TLC.
Once you find out why you’ve been watching so much TV and which issues you’re trying to suppress, it’s time to determine how you’ll break your TV addiction.
Cancel Your Hulu or Netflix Subscription
Why don’t we just start this out with a bang. I love streaming services like Netflix and Hulu because they’re cheap and offer a wide variety in terms of content. However, these sites make it too easy to overindulge.
It’s not uncommon to hear people brag about watching an entire series in a single day. If you have a lazy day or a movie marathon I get it. But doing this all the time is a bit over the top.
If you really want to break your TV addiction, make a statement and cancel your streaming service. I did this with Hulu but we did keep Netflix. Having only one streaming service made it much easier for me to slow down.
Stop Watching TV During Dinner
We stopped doing this in my house for the most part. In the past, I used to pull my laptop out at the dinner table and my son and I would watch our favorite cartoon, Arthur, together. Now, we do try to eat dinner together at the table without the influence of TV.
There are some exceptions like if we’re having family over and they want to watch a movie or if we’re on a time crunch to get to bed on-time on a school night.
Overall though, I like that we can now have this time to focus on our food, talk about different things, and be fully present with one another.
Trade-in Your Evening Show For an Outdoor Activity
Since the weather has been warm, I’ve been taking my dog on a lot of evening walks and it often turns into a family affair. Sometimes we even ride our bikes or drive to a new park or trail.
Other times, we go to the riverwalk area and rent a paddleboat then grab some ice cream and walk around afterward.
Related: 75 Free Things To Do This Weekend
If you stop watching so much TV, you’ll have more time to read. When I was addicted to watching TV, I had let all my Audible credit stack up. Now I have some catching up to do, but I’ve even been able to read an entire book since slowing down with television.
You can read for entertainment or read a how-to book that can help you in your life. You can still make time for watching TV, but also prioritize reading as well to balance it out.
Have One TV-Free Day Per Week
Last year I persuaded my family to commit to an entire week without TV and it was pretty hard for me. I think it was too drastic of a change so if you’re a hardcore TV addict, you may just want to try going cold turkey for a day.
Make it a habit and choose a day where you won’t touch your TV or stream any videos. Fill your time with other activities and develop more meaningful habits that will better serve you.
Find a New Hobby
As I got older and ventured deeper into the whole #adulting phase, I realized that myself and some of my acquaintances didn’t really have any hobbies. In a society where people wear the word ‘busy’ like a badge of honor, it seemed unnatural to have any hobbies outside of working, taking care of your kids, keeping your home tidy, and watching a little TV.
But here’s the kicker, you can have time to establish more hobbies when you give up your television time a few nights per week.
Over the past few years, I’ve been able to pick up hobbies like kickboxing, playing drums, and cake decorating. I know I can start to do more things I love once I continue working on breaking my TV addiction.
Commit to Working on a Project For 30 Minutes
Have a side or passion project you’d like to work on but just never seem to have the time to get started? Put it on the calendar then commit to working on it for just 30 minutes. Once you start, you’ll start to focus on that one project and feel accomplished and fulfilled without TV being involved.
Who knows, you might even feel so focused that you’ll continue working on the project past the 30-minute mark. I’ve done this how projects around the house along with things I’ve wanted to do to update the blog and provide valuable resources to this community.
Completing these projects can actually impact my life and the life of others so it makes it a much better use of my time.
Get a Side Hustle
If you claim you don’t have enough time to carve out 10 hours per week to work on a side hustle, you may need to think about minimizing the time you spend watching TV.
Most of us easily spend 10 hours per week watching TV and streaming videos. When I was spending around 4 hours per day watching TV, that was easily 28 hours per week. In other words, a part-time job could have filled that time gap.
Feel you’re not making enough money or just want to try a new venture and diversify your income? Cut your TV time and this will help you get past your addiction.
Related: How to Find Time to Side Hustle
Focus on Mindfulness
Stay connected with the real world along with your feelings and emotions. When you suddenly feel tempted to turn on the TV, think carefully about the thoughts and feelings you’re having during that time.
Can you redirect yourself to participate in another activity or just wait 10 minutes to ensure that you do consciously want to watch television at that time?
Pay attention to triggers and circumstances as well. For example, you may want to pour a glass of wine and plop down in front of the television when you’ve had a bad day at work. See if there’s something else you can do to decompress and improve your current state. Don’t become too dependent on TV.
Take It a Day at a Time to Break Your TV Addiction
Realize that breaking your TV addiction won’t happen overnight. It starts with awareness and developing new habits. If excessive television watching has caused you to lose countless hours of your time and even lose money when it came to side hustles or profitable projects, that could be a great motivation to make a change.
I still watch TV sometimes but it’s not nearly as bad as it was earlier this year. I’m in a much better place now, and it feels great to actually be productive and get the results I want instead of just wasting time watching mindless television.
Do you feel you need to break your TV addiction as well? What are some things you could do instead of watching TV?
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