17 Ways to Beat Your Television Addiction

Escape couch potato syndrome with these tips to get your boob-tube time under control

man watching tv

Tired of wasting the equivalent of two months of your life every year glued to the tube? Spending more than an hour sitting in front of the television each evening? Like kicking any habit, half the battle of TV addiction is acknowledging the problem and making the commitment to change. Assuming you have the commitment, here are specific tips on getting the job done:

1. Give your extra TVs to charity. Allow your home one TV in a room dedicated to nothing but reading or TV watching. Donate the rest to a school or charitable organization in your community. You’ll not only get the tax deduction and a feeling that you did good, but it will be that much harder to veg out in front of the tube!

2. Only turn on the TV to watch a particular show. In other words, don’t just turn it on and go surfing for something worthwhile. Hours are quickly wasted, switching from one show to the next, watching all and none at the same time.

3. Then, when you sit down to watch a particular show, set a timer or an alarm clock in another room for the length of the show. When it beeps, you’ll have to get out of your chair to turn it off, a signal to also turn off the tube.

4. Throw out the remote control. It’s amazing how much less television you’ll watch if you have to get up every time you want to change channels or adjust the volume. Plus, it eliminates all those hours you spend channel surfing.

5. Rearrange the furniture. Design your family room so that the television becomes not the focal point of the room, but an afterthought that requires twisting around or rearranging the furniture to view.

6. Hide the television. Put it behind an armoire, hang a blanket over it, or stick it inside a cabinet. Do whatever you can to ensure it fades into the background and can’t be seen for what it is — a dangerous time sucker.

7. Eat meals, especially dinner, with the television OFF.

8. Set a rule that you can’t watch TV if the sun is shining. Instead, you have to go for a walk, ride a bike, or get some other kind of healthy physical activity for at least an hour before you can turn on the tube. This rule also works great for your kids or grandkids.

9. Make a TV-watching plan each week. Sit down with the viewing guide and pick out the shows you want to watch that week. Watch only those shows, and when they’re over, turn the TV off.

10. Set a rule that you must read 30 pages of a book or magazine before you can turn on the TV. Depending on how fast you read, you may never watch TV again!

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