Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Changing a Habit: Quitting Television

We're going to occasionally ask loopchange users who've completed a mission if they'd be willing to come and 'guest blog' about their experience.  So, without further ado, here is Habanero - one of our users who recently completed a mission to give up television for 21 days.

Hello.  My name is Habanero and I'm a TV junkie.  (Hi Habanero!)  It's been 21 days since I watched my last television show and I feel great! 

It's sad to say, but for the last several years my life has very literally revolved around the television.  What's even worse is that many of the shows I watched, I didn't really even like!  When I was sitting at my desk (at work) letting my mind drift toward post-work events, my first stop was always "what's on tonight?"  I could pretty much recite the line up of programs I watched every day of the week.  It almost seems crazy now looking back at it and it hasn't even been that long!

This site gives some statistics of American television use that is amazing.  They say that the average American watched 4 hours of TV per day.  This equates to 2 months of non-stop television watching PER YEAR!  In a 65 year life, they say that person will have watched television for 9 solid years! 

After I'd stumbled upon the loopchange website, I'd been trying to think of a mission I could try.  My reliance on television quickly came to mind.  At the same time though, I was honestly scared of trying it!  I am married and have two young children.  How would I fill all of that time that the TV had been filling for me?  Would my Wife and I have anything to talk about??  Would I be bored out of my mind?? 

It was an adjustment at first.  At times, I didn't know what to do with myself.  I had moments where I literally sat and did nothing.  But those feelings quickly passed.  I read a lot of books.  My Wife and I had some great conversations.  I got a LOT more sleep!  In retrospect, the overwhelming feeling that I had was freedom.  I was free of the feeling that I was committed to watch a number of television shows each night that I honestly didn't care about anyway!

It felt wonderful.  It continues to feel wonderful!  It has been a little over 40 days since I began my mission.  Between the end of the official mission (21 days in) and now; I have watched a little television.  I actually even began watching an old TV series that I'd been wanting to see (The Wire).  But my life has definitely been changed.  My 4-5 hour a night habit is currently something like 2-3 hours per week.  I like my life a LOT better now. 

So, if you're reading this and you've considered trying to cut down on the amount of time you spend in front of the television; my advice is DO IT!  Right away.  Don't wait.  You won't regret it.

If you're interesting in reading Habanero's full journey - you can read it here: quitting television.

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