If you’re like most people, watching television is a staple activity in your daily life. Even if you’re not particularly interested in keeping current on popular shows, watching TV is an easy way to fill down time. Coming home, sitting down on the sofa and flipping to a channel of interest is practically second nature. Watching too much television can have negative affects on your mental and physical health, so it’s important for you to find other ways to spend your time besides sitting in front of the television.
Start by Being Selective
Common advice for any dieter is to only consume what you need and want to eat. Just because a cookie is sitting on the table doesn’t mean you need to eat it. Only eat the cookie if you really want that particular cookie; otherwise you should save the calories for something you’d enjoy more. You should think of watching television the same way. You should only watch programs you have an actual interest in viewing. Having the television on for hours during the day leads to mindless watching. Essentially, you’re wasting time that could be used for better purposes and more enriching activities. If your have a few favorite programs, limit your TV time to those shows.
Schedule Activities for Yourself
Most of us end up spending hours in front of the TV on Saturday and Sunday afternoons because nothing else was planned. Avoid falling into this trap by scheduling activities to do during the day. Something as simple as getting outside and taking a walk is a great way to be active and reduce your time in front of the television. Becoming involved in a regularly scheduled weekend activity, like hiking with friends or visiting local cultural attractions (think museums and festivals), is much more satisfying and enriching than spending your time watching mindless programs all day. Even something as simple as making a trip every weekend to a bookstore to read magazines and enjoy a cup of coffee is a welcome distraction. Try and find things you can do by yourself and with friends or family to keep from being sucked into the lure of all-day television.
Create a Time Rule
When all else fails, create a time limitation on how much television you and your family can watch. This is especially useful if you have children who are as prone to constant television watching as you are. Generally speaking, two hours of TV on weeknights is plenty, but you can use your own discretion. Creating a time limitation holds you and your family accountable. There shouldn’t be any flexibility with the rules – once you’ve hit the time limit, it’s time to turn off the TV. You could argue that you have so many favorite shows that there’s no way you’d be able to watch them all given a limitation, but that’s precisely the point. If you have too many favorite shows, you’re watching far too much TV!
Reducing television time is really about finding other ways to fill your time. Once you find more enriching activities to partake in, spending time in front of the TV will be a thing of the past.