Could You Go Without?

By Joshua Becker

There is one change available to us that is as significant and beneficial as any of the others. The decision and implementation are really not that difficult. In fact, almost everyone I have ever met that made the change recommends it.

Watch less television.

Consider the negative effects of television on our lives.

It is bad for our health.

It distracts us from the real people in our lives.

It influences our spending habits.

It costs us money. 

It, literally, causes us less satisfaction with life. 

It results in less intimacy with your spouse.

When I decided to watch less television years ago, I was immediately forced to fill my evenings with something else. We spent more time together as a family. We spent more time outdoors. I began to write more. I decided to visit the gym in the evening. I took more control over my life and my decisions. There are just better, more life-fulfilling things we could be doing with our evenings and weekends.

If you agree, here are some helpful tips to reduce your personal television watching habits.

1. Begin with the decision. Most of the healthy habits that emerge in our lives are the result of an intentional decision.

2. Less can be different than none. Put down your defenses. I’m advocating less, not none. I realize some TV can be educational and entertainment is not necessarily an exercise in futility.

3. Limit the number of televisions in your home. One of our first steps in reducing clutter in our home was to take the TV out of the kitchen. As an unexpected result, I began to discover how much I enjoyed cooking.

4. Find a good season to start. While this habit could be incorporated at any time, nice weather outside (or a busy season) provides a natural opportunity to enact a change—especially if you have family to get onboard.

5. If necessary, go it alone. Speaking of family, just because you are personally feeling challenged in this area does not mean they are too. That’s okay. Make the change in your own life first. Become the change you would like to see in your family.

6. Be intentional about planning something else. Go for a walk. Find a book. Join a club. Or pick up a new hobby. Intentionally picking something else to do will keep the temptation to a minimum.

7. Try to eliminate specific shows. For us, at first, it was easier to pick some specific shows that we could easily live without. When we started to experience the benefits of living life rather than watching it, it was suddenly easier to cut out even more.

8. Know it gets even easier over time. Television is a self-propagating habit. They play on our fear of missing-out. But as you commit to watching less, you are less persuaded by these claims because you see them less. Quickly you will realize you aren’t really missing that much anyway.

Life change can be hard. But some decisions have a greater beneficial impact than others. And watching less television just may be your quickest shortcut to better living right away—it only takes the decision to hit the Power-Off button.


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