Kill Your TV: The Rules

Last week, we introduced you to our newest 30 day initiative: Kill Your TV. The premise is simple – unplug from the pseudo-reality that is your television screen, take back those hours mindlessly devoted to spectatorship, and become a participant in your own life. The program runs from Sunday, May 1st through Tuesday, May 31st, but we’re putting up the guidelines now so folks can get prepared, get their families on board and spread the “tune out” word.

Kill Your TV: The Guidelines

    • Physically unplug every TV in your possession (in the home, garage, office and minivan) for the duration of the program.


  • No watching, listening or “casually observing” television shows, movies, documentaries, music videos, music channels, exercise clips or YouTube videos on any form of “screen”… including your computer, iPhone or a portable DVD player.



  • No video games – even “active” games like Wii or Rock Band – on either your television, computer or stand-alone gaming console.



  • No television-watching in public. If there’s a TV in your section, ask to be moved. If you can’t avoid it, sit where you can’t see it, or simply don’t watch it. Do your best in airports, restaurants and Globo-Gyms.



  • Ask friends, non-participating family members and co-workers to respect your initiative and not turn the TV on in your presence. (God forbid you should actually talk to each other.)



  • Focus on the spirit of the program, instead of finding ways to work around it. If you TiVo every show you’re missing and spend the month of June “catching up”, you’ve totally missed our bus.



  • Resist the urge to replace one screen with another. If you find yourself surfing the internet every night for hours because you can’t watch TV, check yourself. The idea is to unplug – not switch plugs.



  • Finally, we highly recommend you make this initiative a household effort. Commit to this for your children, even if they temporarily hate you for it. Thoroughly explain that it’s NOT a form of punishment.


So… What Do We Do Now?

If you’re used to spending an hour or two every night flipping channels after work, you’re probably wondering what to do with all that time. Not to worry – our next post is a list of 174,234 (not really, but close) things you can do instead of watching television. We’re pretty sure after just a few days, you won’t need our list at all, but feel free to refer to it if you’re feeling lost or bored along the way. Trust me – when you pull your head out of the tube and take a good, hard look at what’s actually going on around you, you’ll realize there’s plenty of fun, exciting, rewarding, healthy things you could be doing.

Get Ready. Get set. Unplug.

Are you with us? Commit here, in public, just like you did with our Whole30 program. Help keep each other motivated, accountable, on track and unplugged. Share ideas, progress, challenges and resources. Spread the word and encourage others in your local communities to jump on board. We’ll be devoting a lot of time and effort to this initiative in the coming months (the series will even have its own category in the blog, called Kill Your TV), so stay connected in here AND out there.

For other articles in our Kill Your TV series, click here.

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  1. says

    Yeah, I’m in. It’ll be somewhat tricky, as a webdesigner, to completely avoid video (since some of it is educational, and necessary for work), but I’m savvy to the difference between work-related usage and videos of the Honey Badger or Epic Meal Time.

    (And thanks for doing this now, when the weather is awesome – this would be a tough 30 days in January.)

  2. says

    You know what? I never thought about the tv screens at my gym! They’re everywhere!

    Good point though – something to be aware of, especially as I go early in the morning before fully awake and have caught myself zoned out staring at it.

    Great post – looking forward to reclaiming my life :)

  3. Ken "Chappy B+" says

    Awesome! My wife and I have been thinking about this recently anyway. We’re in!

  4. says

    Fortunately the free weight area of the gym is one of two rooms completely devoid of screens. The hilarious thing about this is that I’ve actually been “saving” a lot of TV watching for May… but now I’m wondering if I should even bother. I know I could find better uses of my time. Especially since I nailed a lot of good books at borders…

  5. JenJ says

    In. And this will be tough during Hockey playoffs, but I will be fine come June when I can watch the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals. Until then I’ll see if I can listen to games on the ‘music box’

    Hardest part will be a month without watching Kstar’s Mobility WOD videos. If there’s anyone not killing their TV this month, I’d love it if you could send me a transcript of each video.

    And simlar to any paleo challenges, if you have to ask if something is allowed, it probably isn’t.

  6. says

    Dave and I are in. We killed cable a few years ago, but I’ve developed a bad “Jennifer Lopez on American Idol” habit (which I talk about in embarrassing detail here –

    Monday evening, I’m going to start meditating (!) and I will finally make the time to work on my Prague journal and photo album. YAY!

    I think no Netflix movies is going to be challenging, but I also bought a few new used books last night, so… I’m set.

  7. L says

    The wife & I are in. We’ve never had cable, so that isn’t a big deal but we sneak a lot more movies in every week than we need to, or even claim. We are unplugging because there are books to read, a garden to work on and so many home renovation projects that we could be unplugged for the next two years and still come out with heads underwater. Not to mention, it’ll be nice to spend some time actually ‘talking’ instead of staring at the idiot box.

    We are also going to hit up the Whole 30 food challenge as well, we’ve been slipping and it is time to hit the reset button and redirect our food lives.

  8. Jos says

    One thing about watching exercise video on YouTube. I’m currently following daily workout so does it mean I should do another type of workout???

  9. says

    Psht. Who has time for TV anyway?… And since LOST came to a close, what’s there worth watching? (Other than Golden Girls reruns of course)

  10. says

    I’m going to give this a go, although DH has flat-out refused to participate. (“It’s the (NBA) playoffs!”) I thought I had a chance to get him on board until the (Atlanta) Hawks finished out the Magic season last night. I’ll be okay, though. He’s at least agreed to go into another room and so I’ll have our room. I’m going to miss Mobility WOD – that’s really helping with various ‘areas’ with workouts.

  11. Shelly says

    I’m morally opposed to this challenge but I wish you all luck!

    I also recommend watching Bunnies In Paper Cups on youtube one more time to get it out of your system!


  12. Corey says

    Awesome idea guys. One of the best things i ever did was turn off the radio in my car. You never realize how much background chatter is in your head until you eliminate things like that.

  13. says

    Great idea! I already packed up my TV this past weekend and it’s at the top of my closet. If I had just unplugged it, it would be too easy to just plug it back in. Getting off the computer is going to be my next challenge that will go along with this challenge in some part.

    I’m just excited that others are doing it, b/c I know my friends will think I’m crazy and not do it with me.

    Good luck everyone! I’m so excited to hopefully get some reading done and get moving on a business venture I’ve been wanting to work on for some time.

  14. Matt says

    Well, one of the great things about being in the Army, is I get to do this all the time and its 30 days back to back to back to…well you get the point. I have convinced my wife to give it a go while I’m gone and it willl be a challenge since our daughter likes to watch Dora in the morning. I wish her luck and she’s almost done with her Whole30 too. I get to try it when I get home and I can’t wait.

    Best of luck to you all.

  15. says

    I’m in. I will be spending possibly a full week over 2 different events with my bro. My bro watches TV daily and is a huge fan of the NBA Playoffs which are going on right now. I will do my best…

    I am also engaging in 9 other challenges this week. It’s my birthday on May 11 so why not challenge myself like never before? A few will be difficult and a few are too easy.

  16. Alec says

    First time posing, must tell you that as a frequent site stalker I really appreciate the information, structure, and professionalism of which you conduct business on this site. Your Whole30 template is the Gold Standard for introducing people to a healthier and happier life.

    Thank you for the incredible resources you provide.

    Seeing as how May is my birthday month, killing my TV is going to be an awesome present to give to myself. Looking forward to concurrently participating in the BAMF30 inspired by ya’ll.

  17. Carla says

    I so want to do this, but have one question: how do I go about the internet when I do a great deal of my work there?

    of course I can get off facebook for a month and not watch series and the likes but I am assuming this does not apply to work related stuff?

  18. Tabitha says

    My family of 4 is in! Not going to lie, I have a feeling this is going to be more difficult that expected! I am looking forward to all the quality free time my family and I will have!!!

  19. Steph says

    I think this is a great idea, although my version will be somewhat modified…I’ve never owned a TV, but do spend entirely too much time on the computer. I can’t give it up completely, though, as I live overseas and it is my means of communication with family back home. So I am working out a set of rules. I am also starting a Whole30 tomorrow.

  20. Claudia says

    I hardly watch TV at all because “TV is brain death” (Denise Minger).

    But I am quite addicted to facebook, you tube videos and the like. So I am in.

    I will also start a new Whole30 clean eating challenge at May 1st.

  21. Justin says

    I am absolutely in. I’ve thought about these issues for a while, and you guys seem to have it spot on. This is perfect, my second food Whole30 will coincide with the TV kill.

    Thanks, Dallas and Melissa!

  22. says

    OK so TV or cable here in May for me. Turning my head toward the screen in the gym may prove a challenge even if it is only a quick glimpse in the mirrors. Oh and my coach always posts great youtube clips too.

    Guess I will be knitting a lot more this month!

  23. Paul says

    My wife and I are in. We’ve been without cable or antenna for a while, but now that everything can be streamed, we’ve found ourselves watching more and more. We’re looking forward to a great month of bonding before our first is born in June!

  24. Jake says

    I am definitely in. Day 1 is almost over. It was a little challenging to not watch the golf tourney this afternoon. That is usually my Sunday ritual. I am working on getting the family on board. The wife is not sure how to handle the two little ones…(3&4). We are working on it. I think this is going to be a great thing for our little family. Thanks for the motivation!

  25. Alec says

    Heck of a day to start the challenge. I broke down and watched the news tonight, given the subject. I’ll tack on another day at the end of the month. Thank you 2 for this challenge!

  26. Claudia says

    Everything is fine.

    No TV. No videos on you tube. Reading is less damaging to the eyes.

    Last night it was Brad Pilon’s “Eat Stop Eat”. Good stuff!

  27. says

    Nice to see so many folks on board! We’re really happy and excited about this program. To answer some of your questions, exercise videos are OUT for the duration of this challenge. If you’re following the MWOD, chances are you’ve got enough stored drills to get you through the next 30 days. If not, read a book – Dragon Door (kettlebells) has some great stretching resources.

    As for those of you who need to be on line (and perhaps looking at videos) as part of your job, we trust you to be honest about the difference between work and play. If you are a coach and your client sends you video of his deadlift, we expect you to review it. That’s clearly work, right? Just don’t let that video send you down the YouTube spiral of doom (where you find yourself watching a baby dancing to Beyonce). That’s NOT work. Gotcha?

    Keep up the great work – and keep each other honest and committed, just like you do with the Whole30!



  28. Claudia says

    Still on board. Only job- related DVDs or you tube vids. :-)

    Listening to the news on the radio instead of watching the 8 p. m. news from the internet at 8 a.m. the next day. :-)

    I live in Germany. We have not the huge amount of tv channels like you. We basically have the same “a lot- of- crap- and -some- good- stuff”- media -world like you but the quantity is less. Less crap and less good stuff. Not surprising – Germany is a small country.

    Instead of TV I listen to the news on the radio. Only one time per day -usually in the morning. News are bad for your health. :-)

    If I am alone and have nothing else to do I listen to podcasts. Paleo world or science or politics.

    I recently listened to Hank Garners podcast with whom? Guess…….The famous Whole9!

    Good job guys! Keep on doing what you are doing. :-)

  29. says

    weird, it is nearly over and I didnt miss anything except a few youtube clips my coach posted! thanks for suggesting this!

  30. Im one percent says

    I recently read a book by Col. Grossman that encouraged me to not only unplug but to pull the eye out of the house altogether, like amputating a limb. I put it on the curb and it was gone in less than 15 minutes. I called the cable company and cancelled my subscription, saving 60 bucks a month, for the next month they would call and offer me combo deals if I turned cable back on. Pffft I decline! That has been over 6 months ago. I have two kids 8 and 16. Their grades went up and so did their alertness. Hard to explain but they look me in the eye when conversing… just more “alert”. I have noticed that coworkers and I guess people in general, parrot stupid catch phrases, movies, commercial, etc. I wonder if anything we say or think is original at all or if its just programming at its most efficient. do yourself and your family a major solid, kick it to the curb. Choose to wake up.

  31. says

    Physical therapy treatment encourages the production of your body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals, thereby assisting the body to heal itself. This upper back region generally experiences small movement. If you are, this could be contributing to the back pain that you are experiencing.