Habit Challenge: My Ten Day TV Fast

Trav Bell Habit Hack Challenge

There seems to be a groundswell of interest in habits at the moment. I’ve been noticing this trend ever since I rapped Charles Duhigg’s fabulous book The Power of Habits for Book Rapper a couple of years back.

Lately, I’ve been devouring these works on the same topic:

THE One Habit to Crack

Recently, the Bucket List Guy Trav Bell ran a 10-day Habit Challenge. Trav is bold, direct and calls it as it is. I like it! Well, most of the time. Sometimes I’d rather ignore what he says. (We interviewed Trav here on our podcast) Anyway, in his promotional material Trav hit the nail on the head for me. He mentioned that one habit I really wanted to crack.

This might be a good time to ask yourself: What’s the one habit you want to crack?

For me, it was TV. I knew I was watching TV for 1-2 hours a day. And, when I started to track how I really spent my time, I was shocked that the reality was closer to 2-4 hours per day. Plus, there were no zero TV days.

[Tweet “If there was one #habit that you wanted to crack what would it be? Mine was TV”]

Charles Duhigg, The Power of HabitThe Results

I’m pleased to say I took on the habit challenge of 10 days of TV-free living and passed the test. For seven of the ten days I didn’t miss it at all. I simply read a book, cleaned up my house or did some extra work instead. Strangely, I felt more relaxed without TV. It really felt like I had more time in the day. This was something I didn’t expect.

For three of the days I really wanted to watch TV. And on one day I almost gave in. What I realized during this time was that I was tired. And, when I was tired, TV was the easy thing to do because it was passive and required such little effort. All I had to do was sit down and let TV entertain me.

My challenge was to build up my no-TV fitness levels. And, I don’t mean going to the gym type of fitness. It was more like willpower type of fitness where I simply had to manage sticking to my goal.

What is TV?

Another interesting challenge arose during my TV fast. When I started the challenge I just started. I wasn’t strategic about what was happening in the ten days ahead. And, during the challenge my AFL football team Geelong were playing a big match against arch-rivals Hawthorn. I really, really, really wanted to watch this game.

Now, the funny thing about this ‘TV’ challenge is that I don’t own a TV. Mine died six months ago and I haven’t replaced it. However, I have been watching a lot of TV shows on the internet – usually on ABC iView and SBS OnDemand.

This raises the basic question of what is TV today? Is watching a computer screen the same as a TV set? Could I go to a nearby pub to watch the football on their big screen? Or could I watch the game on my iPhone, which is not technically a TV?

I decided to skip the watching of the game and listened to it on the radio instead. And, this does raise an interesting question: What is TV today?

Since the Habit Challenge

Since I’ve completed my TV fast I have gone back to watching TV on my computer. And, I’m pleased to say I’m watching less. My goal wasn’t to abolish TV watching forever, simply to loosen its automatic grip. Mission accomplished.

PS: My next habit challenge? I’m now doing a 30-day Chocolate free challenge. It’s easier than you think!


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