It took me over a year to get better at this and I still struggle but there are things you can do to make it happen.
Remember, this takes time.
If you turn off the TV and walk away to read for only 10 minutes, it's better than not doing it at all.
Here are 12 tips to watch less TV and pick up that book:
1. Find 2 books you love
Go to your local library or book store and look around.
Focus on the genres you like but also look at others. Be open to anything interesting.
Trust me, there's an amazing book out there for you, you just need to find it.
2. Leave one of the books by your TV remote
This way it's a constant reminder.
Try to read a couple pages or a chapter before you pick up the remote. I'd recommend reading on commercial breaks, but try to avoid it. In my opinion it's not good to multitask while reading (I'll be making a post about multitasking soon).
3. Create 1-2 goal(s)
E.g when I get home from work I will read one page. Long term: I will read one book this month.
4. Take it slow
Don't do too much too fast for instance, set a goal to read for 5-15 minutes. Studies show that the more you pile on your plate the less you end up doing. Make it so easy that you'll actually want to do it.
Overtime, you can increase the "difficulty" of your goal. E.g read for an hour and set a timer on your phone for when you can watch TV again.
5. Listen to audiobooks
You can buy them on audible or sign them out by using the app at your local library. I use this one but I find this one to be better.
Try to listen to audiobooks instead of the radio or listen to them while you're doing other things. Even better, read the book at the same time you're listening to the audio version.
6. Keep trying
I cannot emphasize this enough. Don't give up! Try to set a time on your phone for how long you read for, put the remote in a hard spot so it's annoying to get to, make a habit of drinking tea while reading (once you finish the tea you can go back to watching TV). Dig deep folks! You know what you have to do, you just need to do it.
7. Bring books with you places
In order for you to stop or reduce your TV watching, you need to break the habit of picking up the remote whenever you're bored. Because that's exactly what you're doing.
Bring a book with you when you go out. If you have to wait in line, pull out your book.
If you are a passenger driving somewhere, read the book until you get to the location. I did this for only a couple of weeks and saw a significant improvement. It felt weird doing it but it paid off.
By doing this you're doing 2 things:
8. Increase your consistency overtime
Start with turning off the TV earlier each night so you can read before bed.
If you usually go to bed at 11pm, snuggle in bed at 10:45pm with your book. You HAVE to read your book during this time.
Overtime, you'll start to want to go to bed earlier so you can read. Eventually, you'll read past the fifteen minutes because you keep telling yourself (if it's a good book) "one more page" or "one more chapter"! A couple times I fell asleep with a book in my hands because it lulled me to sleep.
The. Best. Feeling.
9. Reduce screen time in your settings
Your phone is no exception, it's the greatest distraction. Click on each image to follow the steps to reduce your screen time on the iPhone. I've been using this for a while and sometimes it works and other times I turn it off and ignore it. It's what you make of it.
10. Get 2 copies of the same book if you can
You and the person you watch TV with, or your friend or family can read together. If you have a buddy, you'll have a better chance at succeeding. Just be sure they will want to read it too.
Another option is joining a book club or using the Caravan app. You can read together with others online! This YouTuber introduced me to it. The sign up process I didn't find very seamless and I think it's still in it's early stages but it does what it says it'll do.
11. Read a book that will turn (or already turned) into a movie
It will encourage you to finish the book faster so you can watch the movie.
Click here for a list of upcoming 2025 book to movie/TV adaptions. One of them has the actor from "Stranger Things"!
12. Read when you're eating
Technically as a personal trainer I should discourage all forms of distracted eating, but it's not realistic.
I started doing this with tea. I would have tea with a biscuit or a light snack I enjoyed and read, once I finished the tea and snack, I went back to watching TV or whatever else I was doing.
We know things in life are easier said than done but once you start, you have the hardest part over with.
Are you struggling with turning off the TV? What tips did I miss?
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Hi there! I'm Simone:)
l created this blog for people that are new to reading and/or writing or have fallen back in love with it (like me!).
I'll share my journey of completing my book, materials I've created and use, motivating and helpful tips and discussions on interesting topics.