Anna Wootton

What Your TV Habits May Reveal About Your Life

One of the first things I do with my clients when we start working together is work on finding out what their fun is. Everyone has a different idea of what they find fun.

Sometimes the things you do in your leisure time are things you do because you think they should be fun, but they’re actually not the activities you truly find enjoyable. So why are you doing them?

Well, as we get older we try our hand at more and more hobbies and activities and sports and social events because we’re trying to be open-minded, make new friends, have new experiences. It’s easy, though, to get carried along on a wave of what the majority is doing and finds fun.

Take, for example, the fact that most 20-somethings and 30-somethings consider it the norm to go out for happy hour drinks on a Friday after work and then see where the night takes them. This is a common social event, one that millions of hard-working office workers partake in at the end of another busy week. What if drinking and staying out late isn’t your jam though? Maybe you’ve been doing this for years and it actually isn’t something you find enjoyable?

Well, to a certain extent, so what? Presumably, if you were miserable at these events, you wouldn’t keep going so you must find some element of them enjoyable. But what I would like to put to you as something to consider is: if you are expending leisure time and energy on something that doesn’t actually light your fire, are you making the most of your free time? What if you spent your free time doing things you truly enjoy? How would that feel? How much more energy would you have if you really enjoyed yourself at every opportunity you could?

Life is complicated and doesn’t always allow for us to literally enjoy every moment, but in my opinion, when you’ve finished work for the week and have a glorious, gaping weekend ahead of you, if you decide you want to do something (as opposed to having a relaxing, lazy weekend, which is also something I totally support!), you should try your hardest to make sure it’s something you really love doing. Chances are, if you’ve been going with the flow for so long, though, that you don’t really know what you truly enjoy doing.

So let’s explore this through one mode of entertainment, shall we? TV.

Most people watch TV, often as a way to unwind after a day at work, so it’s the perfect example to go with. What you settle on after work is a good indication of what your brain really needs and wants, and what it finds enjoyable. So it can reveal to us some ideas for what you might enjoy doing in your free time. Still with me?

For example, I often need to sit down and watch something mindless. Usually, I choose a comedy like The Big Bang Theory or – the best – reruns of classic comedies like Seinfeld, Friends and Frasier. Clearly this reveals to me that I enjoy laughter and comedy and want to avoid anything too serious or heavy as a way to unwind. Perhaps then I could have a great weekend by getting together with some girlfriends who I always laugh my butt off with, or going to a stand-up comedy show.

I’ve put below some suggestions for activities that relate to your preferred TV genre. Can you see ways in which this would align with your true interests?

Crime drama (Sherlock, The Mentalist, CSI)

You like to use your brain and be intrigued by plot twists. You would probably love reading crime novels, hosting murder mystery dinner parties, going on tours of real-life haunted houses or – if you live close to them – old castles. You’d probably also like to go to book signings and readings.

Historical fiction/fantasy (Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead)

You are fascinated by the past, so explore this some more! Maybe you’d be interested in genealogy or again, taking historical tours of your area, reading historical fiction novels like Philippa Gregory’s series. For fantasy, you may enjoy escaping into different worlds so try going to the theatre, seeing some live productions and maybe even taking part in something wild like a Zombie Combat Zone event.

Comedy (How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Saturday Night Live)

As I mentioned above, you love to laugh. Do you have a group of friends or a couple of girlfriends who really get you cracking up? Schedule an afternoon of fun with them. Look up local stand-up comedy in your area, check out an improvisational theatre show or go to the movies to watch the latest comedy.

Romance (The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Sex and the City, Lifetime movies)

You like romance, pure and simple. Perhaps you need to bring more of the romantic into your everyday life – and I don’t mean necessarily through your love life. Try taking indulgent bubble baths, booking a spa day, going for a pedicure, buying yourself flowers or new lingerie for no reason, wearing perfume more often, going to a luxury chocolatier for a treat and embracing beauty in the world around us by renting a bike for a waterfront bike ride, a stroll through a forest or a picnic in a park.

Adventure (The Amazing Race, Survivor)

Aha so you are an adventure seeker! This one is easy because nowadays there are so many ways to get adventure into our everyday lives. Try going indoor rock climbing (sign up for a quick class if you haven’t been before), getting on the water and trying out wakeboarding or water skiing, going on a hike if you’re not up for the really high-adrenaline stuff, or even trying something new that pushes you out of your comfort zone. If it’s winter, take a ski or snowboard lesson or even go snowshoeing. Try paintballing or something that involves adrenaline, strategy and, well, fun!

Reality (The Biggest Loser, Big Brother)

You’re probably interested by people and the stories of their individual journeys. To me, when people love reality shows, it’s a sign that they need to socialize more in environments that allow them to really talk to people and get to know their backgrounds. Schedule a coffee date with a friend you haven’t touched base with in a while, get a group of girlfriends together or go to and sign up for a new social group and go along to one of their events. You also may enjoy blog reading, so spend an afternoon with your iPad curled up with a cup of tea and start exploring some new blogs. Also, if it’s the competition element of reality TV you like (and this may cross over with your interest in adventure shows, above), get more competitive! Try heading out for a game of bingo or a pub quiz trivia night.

Home improvement (House Hunters, Love It or List It, The Property Brothers)

You love nesting and decorating, or perhaps being more active with your hands, whether it’s crafts or construction. You may also enjoy travel, and checking out new destinations. So embrace travel by browsing travel guides and planning out your next vacation – even if it’s a year from now. It’s all about visualizing! Also hunt out ethnic spots in your town or city and spend an afternoon exploring Little Italy or Chinatown or try out a new Indian restaurant. Get your home-improvement buzz going by browsing through home decor magazines and putting together a vision board for your next project, reupholster some furniture or choose a craft to complete. Redecorate a space in your home at no cost by rearranging furniture, paintings, adding some flowers or other flourishes. Perhaps blow up some family photographs and frame them (you can get affordable frames from Walmart or Michael’s) and hang on the wall. Small touches go a long way…so give it a go!

Live performance (The Voice, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance?)

You love the arts! So get out there and enjoy them! You would be surprised at how many free and low-cost alternatives there are to nabbing Broadway tickets. Try last-minute tickets to major shows, or just check out local bars that might have open mic nights, jazz bars that probably offer live entertainment in exchange for you ordering drinks/food (or they may charge a nominal cover fee, anywhere from $5-20), and also if you live in a town or city with a university, check out the student theatre. It’s often free or cheap and yet this is what these students are studying for their future so their talent is often off the charts! If you’re musically or artistically inclined, start embracing those talents – join a choir or orchestra/band, take dance lessons, go to an art class or join an artists’ group or a writers’ group.

And remember – you probably like to watch more than one type of show, so you could have a number of interests to explore!

FUN Work for You to Consider:

  • Do you see any connections between TV shows you enjoy watching and hobbies you love or think you would enjoy introducing to your life?
  • Are you making the most of your free time?