Have you ever wanted to write a book? Take up a hobby? Learn a new language?
Do you know someone who wants to study for a new career? Spend more quality time with their children? Get fit and exercise more regularly?
Have you yearned to spend more time on the golf course? More time with your friends? More time pampering yourself?
Would you do more with your life if only you had more time?
All of my life I have been interested in what motivates people, what makes people tick and why some people seem to get all of the breaks and all of the success whilst others seemingly achieve nothing.
Probably like me you've occasionally met someone who seems to have fitted into their life so much more than the average human being... we usually dismiss them as freaks, non-sleepers or super achievers.
I was listening to a conversation in an office the other day and it went a little like this...
"John ran a marathon last week. He trains for 2 hours every night you know."
"Yes, I did and he just finished his Open University degree too. I'd like to do something like that but I just don't have the time!"
How common is this kind of conversation?
"I would if only I had more time!"
So here's my simple answer...Stop watching television! That's it. Stop watching television!
Most of us hear it every day. Probably many of us say it too. We say things like, "I'm rushed off my feet" or "I can't cope with everything I have to do" or "If only I had more time".
Seriously, how much TV do you watch? When I walk into most houses the TV is on in the background... all of the time. When I get into offices in the morning all that people are talking about is what was on TV last night.
It's laughable really. People who want more from their lives but spend their time living it vicariously through fictitious or reality TV stars.
How much more time would you have if you stopped watching TV? How much this evening? This week? This month? Over the next year? Over the next 10 years?
What could you do with that kind of time?
Could you learn a new language? Help out at the local hospice? Get out and take up that new sport? Learn to ride a horse? Learn how to invest well for your retirement? Set up a part-time business to get you out of debt or start you on your way to your fortune?
I've done a bit of research on TV watching for you...
1 United Kingdom: 28 hours per person per week - 2 United States: 28 hours per person per week - 3 Italy: 27 hours per person per week - 4 Ireland: 23 hours per person per week - 5 Germany: 23 hours per person per week...
And what's more TV is addictive! The more you watch the more you want to watch. How many people do you know who rush home to watch certain TV shows abandoning other activities? How many people do you know who tape TV shows whilst they are out to watch them later on? How many people do you know who would get annoyed if they missed an episode of a favourite soap or series?
These are all signs of addiction. TV is an addiction and it's one that takes over many people's lives, disempowering them, seducing them and making them think that they don't have enough time to do the things that they really want to do.
Several pieces of psychological research have suggested that heavy TV watchers display all the symptoms of a non-substance behavioral addiction. I know so many people who "want" to get fit but spend their time instead watching TV and opining that they "don't have time" to go to the gym because they're too busy.
I remember being introduced by a well-meaning friend to 24 - the fantastic series with Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. My friend lent me the box set and I watched the first couple and before I knew it I was hooked. I needed to know what happened to Jack!
I worked my way rapidly through the series and upon reaching the series cliffhanger got in my car and drove to the local video store to get series 2!
I don't know about 24 - more like Nightmare! I was addicted... and for what? What did I get out of it? I wasted perhaps 120 hours or 15 full working days and how did I benefit exactly? Once I'd watched it what could I tell you about it? And even if I could, who cares?
According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.
What could you do with an extra 9 years of life? People spend fortunes on medical health care to get an extra few months at the end of their lives but piss up against the wall 9 years of quality life!
If you're wasting your life away watching TV you need to do several things...
- Think about how much of your life you're throwing away.
Seriously! Work it out! And work it out now! Work out how much time you spend watching TV last week. Now multiply that by 52 weeks and then by 10 years to see how much time you waste watching TV every decade.
Be realistic. Most people underestimate how much TV they actually watch. I used to say, "Oh I don't really watch TV" but actually I still watched quite a bit whilst I was waiting for things to happen such as the food to cook.
- Think about what this has cost you already.
Work out how much time you have spend watching TV to date in your life. How many years (?), months, weeks and hours have you spent watching TV?
Think what you could have done with that time. Think about how you've missed out. Think about all of the opportunities that you've already missed because of your love affair with the TV!
- Decide what you'd like to achieve with that time.
Think about what you're going to spend your newly found time on. What are you going to do? Why are you going to do it? How will you benefit by doing it? What will it mean for your finances, your social life, your hobbies, your prospects, your career and your personal wellbeing and fitness?
- Visualize your new self.
Now take some time to visualize yourself in 5 years time. Just imagine - 5 years without the TV. What will you have achieved and done in that time? Where will you be? What will you have that you don't have now? What will you do that you don't do now? Who will you become?
Picture yourself in your new life and let yourself "experience" it in panoramic detail. The more you do and have fun with this exercise the more powerful it will become for you.
- Create an action plan for getting started.
I'm bored of the hug a tree, rent a personal development coach, crowd banging on about how if you just focus on something it will happen.
Maybe it will just happen to happen for the lucky few but for 99% of people success requires action!
Here's an important lesson for you... 99% of people who tell you success just happens when you imagine it happening are either not successful or are lying about how they actually achieved that success.
For sure, you want to eradicate negative and dis-empowering beliefs and you want to focus on what you want not what you don't want but when you've done that you need to TAKE ACTION!
- Turn off the TV and go do something else less boring instead!
And for most people, turning off the TV and going to do something less boring instead would be a good first step!
Pick something interesting and exciting that you can do one evening this week rather than watching the TV. Decide to go swimming rather than go home and watch the soaps, take action and got out for a meal with friends rather than staying home and watching the box, read a good book rather than vegging in front of the depressing news.