I have a plant in my office that I water ever 2-3 days. I went on vacation for a couples weeks recently and when I came back the plant was not in optimal condition. A bunch of dead leaves and branches were hanging off the side, and the whole thing just didn't look healthy.
I trimmed the dead branches and leaves off and within a few days, the whole plant was perking up and new growth had come in to replace what had been removed. What a treasure trove of analogies this had in life I thought.
On a side note, do you know what a treasure trove is? I bet not as much as you could, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_trove
The reason my plant was dying was that there is only a limited amount of resources available to the plant. If a portion of those resources are going to sick leaves that don't photosynthese, the whole plant will have less food.
One analogy is the government bailouts. If you keep a bunch of half dead companies alive that aren't growing, providing more and more jobs, you are taking resources away from healthy companies and new start ups. Perhaps getting rid of those old car companies would make room for a new innovative companies that make cars that can drive themselves or work on 100% battery power. Can you imagine how much extra time you would have in your life if you could accomplish stuff while on a road trip or to and from work everyday? Lets say you read an average of a page a minute and you spend an hour driving to and from work each day. That's about 80 400 page books a year you could be reading.
The time we use in a day is also another analogy with my sick plant. (Impressive Segue huh?) For me, and I am not sure if this is the case with all people, but my happiness is closely based on accomplishment. Video games use this accomplishment based reward system very well; when you are playing a game and get a more powerful character, unlock more things, or get to the next level.
The problem is when you turn off the video game your sense of accomplishment transfer back to real life. If you cut out things like video games, TV, or whatever vices you may have, new things will spring up in their place. You don't need to consciously add anything in it's place. Like the plant with it's leaves trimmed, new growth will naturally come out and likely make a healthier human being. It might get replaced with basketball, the gym, writing, etc...
I'm not saying don't do anything recreational, but look at how much joy you are getting from an activity not when you are doing it but after.