Who doesn’t like to sit in front of the TV, curl up in a comfy blanket, and eat loads of junk food? (Okay, maybe not the junk food part.)
It used to be my favorite pastime, it didn’t matter what I was watching — re-runs of Disney movies, random snippets of Friends, or the latest episode of Jimmy Fallon — I could sit there and binge watch all day on Netflix or HBO. The sound from the TV would often be my lullaby and rocked me to sleep on the couch.
Let’s do some simple maths here. Simple But Shocking.
Before I move on, let me throw you some “impressive” stats. Imagine if you sat in front of the TV 6 hours per day, after a year, you would have spent 2190 hours, which is 3 WHOLE MONTHS! Just think about it. 25% of your whole year has gone to watching TV, at times you weren’t even paying attention to what you were watching.
So How I Know I Have A Problem?
As much as I don’t want to say I was addicted to TV, watching it for 4 hours straight every day was not a big deal for me. I used to watch TV for entertainment, but it slowly became habitual. I would even watch bad reality shows or movies when I knew I didn’t like them. To me, television was my leisure, my only leisure.
Taking baby steps to the road of “recovery”.
You only start to cherish when you don’t have much time left. I could say this epiphany kickstarted my journey of “Say No to TV”.
When I was studying abroad, I didn’t have a lot of friends at first. To combat my loneliness and homesickness, television was my only friend. As I flipped through the calendar month after month, I realized I didn’t have much time left before I flew back home. I shouldn’t rely on television as my own source of entertainment, but instead, do things that I couldn’t do back at home. When I was given such once in a lifetime opportunity, why not make the most out of it?
So what should I do now?
The beginning of a change is always the hardest, and to have a motivation, you need a goal. Because time was limited for me, I had different things I wanted to accomplish before I left. I wrote a list of all the things that I wanted to do, set their priorities, and fitted them into my schedule.
Okay, I’m done.
It isn’t enough to write a list, taking action is more important. It might be difficult to follow what’s planned, but there are still ways to carry out what I had written down. I stuck post-it notes on screens to remind myself the promises I made, canceled my Netflix account, and even tried not to stay in my room too much. Also, it’s always better to have a buddy to keep you accountable, or at least you have someone to support and make the change with you.
The struggle is real, y’all.
One of the best methods of decreasing your dependence on something is to stay away from any possible contact. But it’s not as easy as it seems. Often when I held the remote control, it took so much courage to not press the start button because there were even voices in my head telling me to splurge just a little, just one episode. I had to pick up hobbies that either required laser focus or going outdoors to completely say away from the evil TV.
So it seems like I was doing pretty well. I mean Awesome.
Sometimes, when we make changes, our plans fall through midway, and we revert back to our old lifestyle. To avoid making a temporary change, develop interests in your changes is very important. If I treated exercising as a routine, I would get bored eventually. If I wasn’t interested in hand lettering and photography, I would have given up after I failed time after time.
TV doesn’t seem as important to me anymore so goodbye old friend!
As I went out more often to the gym or hiking trails, my body became healthier, and the woozy feeling that I had after watching TV was gone. The more I practiced hand lettering, the more patience I had. It led me back into art and design, after many years of artistic hibernation. I also gained friends from working out together, taking photos for each other, and art jamming.
Keep your eyes on the prize, or at least look at my prize!
Have you successfully quit TV? You might ask. Yes indeed. I don’t watch TV 4 hours a day anymore, or maybe even not 4 hours a week. With those hours saved from not quitting TV, I have developed great interests, improved my health, and rediscovered my passion.
It might be frightening to give up television completely, but it’s okay to have movie nights or binge-watch sessions every now and then as a reward. Always remind yourself the benefits you get from leaving your couch and quitting TV, and hopefully, the significant changes that it brings could be your motivation to treat yourself better.