Mini-Challenge #2: One Week of No Television

Way back in January, I started the year with a lame half-assed attempt at reducing my television intake. It worked, for the most part — I curbed my habit greatly. But it wasn’t a total period of abstinence since I’d allowed myself one hour or show a day. And as the month went on, I got more and more lax about it (if I didn’t watch last night, would I get two hours tonight?), placing far more weight on removing negative thought instead.

Overall, I failed. My heart wasn’t in it.

So now I’m reframing a bit, and trying again.

I’ve worked with the idea that My Year Challenges have to be about potentially harmful habits I want to fix, aiming towards lightbulb moments of grand revelation. In January, I wouldn’t have called the fact that I watch television a problem; I still don’t, actually. I didn’t want to not have it as an option in my life. It’s often a good thing for me to turn my body off and unwind, as it’s not uncommon that I’ll be far too tired or in pain to focus on a book or activity.

But in taking a month to focus on four mini-Challenges, I’m shifting focus: Instead of reshaping a negative habit through a long-term study, I’m simply resetting a mild one and reminding myself of what other options — or choices — are out there.

Last week, I got reacquainted with my tea cabinet — yay! — when I couldn’t rely on an endless pot of Joe. As the overall drop in caffeine lowered as the day went on, I fell asleep earlier at night. Now, I allow myself one-to-two cups of java first thing in the morning — that’s it! — and then switch back to tea. Or, I just drink tea!

Excellent: habit shifted.

So this week, I’m seeing what else comes into my evenings by resetting my television habit. I have a large, lovely flatscreen mounted across from my bed. On it, I stream Netflix, Hulu, and HBO when I collapse every night after burning my body out. Will I just go to sleep? What will replace my exhausted, happy viewing?

I shall find out! I probably won’t like it… but it’s just a week, right?

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