Tuesday, March 4, 2014

February's Habit: Reading for an hour - reflection

Our monthly habit-changing list is now two months complete:

  • January - no alcohol - way easier than anticipated!
  • February - read for an hour each day (that should be easy, shouldn't it?)...

Soon after starting this challenge we introduced a proviso: read for an hour each day quickly turned into "... each weekday" as neither of us wanted to prioritise the time for reading during our weekends. We discovered that to each of us, weekend time was more precious than reading time, so we couldn't make ourselves sit down and read (not that we tried very hard).

So after that immediate scale-back we then piously turned off the TV at 8.30pm each night, in order to give us time for an hour of reading before bed. This was a habit I quickly came to enjoy, but Mike found that an hour of reading at night was too long for him (especially from no reading at all). Mike had to start with about 20 minutes of reading before increasing this length of time over the month.

I don't think Mike ever made it to reading for a whole hour but I've come to realise that isn't the point. The "hour" was arbitrary, it was the taking the time out of our day to read, to prioritise it as something important that was REALLY the purpose of the challenge, and that is something we succeeded in doing.

The real surprise that came out of this challenge was the large effect on the amount of TV we watched over the month. We expected to watch about an hour less television (while we read instead), however the habit of turning off the TV to read, lead us to turn off the TV at other times too!

When we wanted to talk, we would turn the TV off. When we were in the kitchen together, we would turn the TV off; instead of the television being on as background noise we found we would turn it ON to watch a program (usually during dinner), then turn it off again as it was time to read. Although I didn't specifically measure it, I would estimate our TV viewing time was reduced from about 3 hours per night to 1 hour per night (on average).

This was certainly an added bonus to the challenge and we have agreed to continue with reading-time before bed from now on, although the 1-hour time specificity has been dropped.

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