Have you been inspired to start a new hobby? That’s great! (If you still need some more inspiration head on to this post about why hobbies are good for you) But which hobby should you choose? Depending on where you live, how old you are and a number of other factors there may be too many or not enough choices. But worry not! I am here to give you some tips and directions that will help you take up a new hobby you’ll love with very little effort.
Before we start, I would like to remind you that it is absolutely OK to “sample” a hobby before you fully commit to it. Don’t be afraid to try an activity and give it up if you don’t like it – it does not mean you failed, it just means that you are still looking for your thing.
It may be a good idea to start cheaply, though (here are some tips that will help you): you wouldn’t want to spend tons of money on, say, expensive equipment or supplies and then suddenly realize that it is not your cup of tea.
Also remember to keep an open mind. Activities that you have always deemed too dangerous or too boring may prove to be just right for you. And even if you don’t take up all the hobbies that you “sample”, you will have a lot of fun doing it anyway.
That last bit kind of sounds like it doesn’t matter which hobby you choose (and in a way it doesn’t), but even so, you have to start somewhere. And here is how you can do it.
1. Consider your existing hobbies and interests
This one seems kind of obvious, but there are actually two strategies that you can follow here. The first one is to try something similar to what you already enjoy doing. Are you into watercolor painting? Try oil or acrylic, or maybe sketching. If you are into yoga, try a different variation (aerial or bikram yoga). Basically, if you do sports, try a similar sport, if you do arts and crafts, try a new but similar one, and so on.
The second strategy is to go “a contrario”. You have been doing sports all your life, but think you lack the necessary creativity for painting? Try it anyway. You may discover a hidden talent, but even if you don’t – don’t take it too seriously and enjoy the process.
2. Consider your friends’ interests
Doing things together is fun! Even if you are an introvert you probably still enjoy doing stuff with your friends, at least occasionally. So, why not try a hobby that a friend or a family member does? You will at least get one more reason – and one more way – to spend some quality time together. Also, a more experienced friend may help you at the beginning with some valuable tips, or maybe share some supplies. If you are afraid this may be considered freeloading, offer your friend some sort of compensation: offer them some money, teach them something in return, help them with housework, bake them a pie, etc., etc. – depends on your skills and relationship with said friend.
3. Consider what’s available
This may not sound like an especially fun way to choose a hobby, but we have to cover all the bases. Also, hobbies do have a way of surprising people, and an activity you chose just because nothing else is at hand right now can turn into your most favorite pastime.
Your choice may be limited because you live in a remote area or have a disability that prevents you from doing certain activities. Don’t let that stop you! There are plenty of different hobbies out there. Use your imagination: what can you do with what’s available? Do some research: how do people with a similar problem solve it? If you are reading this, I’m assuming that you have some access to the internet – use it to your advantage. I share my experiences here, but there are also other people who share their stories and inspiring examples all over the internet. Let them inspire and help you!
4. Consider what’s convenient
This does not sound like a very fun way to find a cool hobby, but bear with me. Depending on how busy your life is, your reasons for choosing the hobby and your general self-discipline (or lack of it), certain hobbies might be much easier to stick to – or even just try – if they are more convenient.
Let me give you an example. Yoga is a perfect activity for me in many ways (I get into detail about that in this post, check it out!), but here I want to speak about its convenience. Compared to some other types of exercise, it is extremely easy to practice at home. The thing is, I have terrible discipline when it comes to sport and exercising. Any extra effort I need to make makes it more likely that I won’t stick to a regular schedule and eventually will give up. With yoga all I need to do is roll out my mat and turn on a video, and sometimes not even that. So it is extremely easy to start a yoga practice (starting is usually my weak point), and then things take care of themselves.
Your existing hobbies may benefit from making some of their aspects more convenient. Let’s say you do oil painting. It is not the most “portable” of hobbies and may be time consuming (oil takes forever to dry, so you can’t make a quick sketch, drop it into your bag and go on). Acrylics or watercolors are easier to carry around, they dry much faster, so you will be more likely to paint “on the go”, like in a park during lunch break or during a trip. You will still practice things like sense of scale, perspective and color, which will come in handy when you get down to oil painting again, and you will practice more regularly which is a great thing.
5. Consider what’s popular
If you are too cool to do “what everybody else is doing” you can just move on to the next tip. It is true, if a lot of people do / like something, it doesn’t guarantee that this something is really good. But when it comes to hobbies, a popular hobby may at least be worth checking out: just sampling it will not take a lot of time and resources, but it may prove to be really fun. If not – you can just move on to another one.
Also, if “everybody is doing it” it probably means that there is a great variety of resources and teachers to choose from. Take foreign languages, for example. If you want to learn English (or a handful of other most popular languages) you will find many more opportunities to learn it than you can ever use in your lifetime. But if you want to (or have to) learn a less popular language the number of resources is considerably smaller. They are still out there, and probably some very good ones, too, but you will have to search for them harder.
6. Consider what’s unique
Don’t we all like the feeling of being different from others, to stand out in a certain way, each one of us a perfectly unique snowflake? If you choose an unusual hobby, teachers and resources may be harder to come by, but that shouldn’t put you off completely. There are more than 7 billion of us, so I can bet that someone out there is already doing the activity you are considering taking up. Otherwise, having a unique hobby can be a lot of fun: you get to be a discoverer, a pioneer – maybe you will end up writing a book about this special hobby or will become a teacher to others. And the cherry on top: you do get the bragging rights. Try not to abuse them, though.
7. Consider your personality
Similar to the first tip, there are two ways you can go here. You can think of something that fits in with your general character. If you are a quiet introverted stay-at-home type of person you can look at hobbies that you can practice at home and / or that don’t require too much social interaction. It will make you feel more comfortable and you may be more likely to stick with such hobbies in the end. I struggle with social awkwardness (bordering on anxiety in certain situations) – this is one of the reasons why I prefer video-lessons to actually going to classes.
However, you can also challenge yourself and go out of your comfort zone. This may be harder – you are leaving your comfort zone, duh, of course it’s hard – but it may also prove to be more rewarding in certain ways. You may discover new strengths or develop some character traits you’ve lacked and wanted to develop.
8. Consider your job and general way of life
None of us are perfect, and our lives aren’t perfect either. It may sound a bit sad, but I find it fascinating that there is always room for improvement, and at any level you can make your life even better. Take a look at your lifestyle. What is there too much of? What is lacking? There may be hobbies out there that can help you add to your life and make it fuller, better, more well-rounded.
For instance, my way of life is sedentary – I have a, sort of, desk job and spend a lot of time sitting down. So a hobby that will make me get up and move would be ideal. Right now yoga is perfect for me, but, maybe, sometime later I will take up something more active. If your job involves a lot of physical labor, consider taking up a hobby that will exercise your brain. If you don’t feel that you spend enough quality time with your children or a significant other, try out a hobby that they are doing or take up a new hobby together.
Aren’t these tips great? And you don’t have to follow all of them at the same time, just choose one – one tip at a time, one hobby at a time – this might be just enough. If you are still stumped after reading this article, do not hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch with me. I understand that I speak either from my own personal experience or very generally. Your situation might not exactly fit in with the examples I give. If it is so, we can chat and maybe find an answer together: sometimes just talking things over with someone can be all the boost you need to go on and choose an awesome hobby that will greatly improve your life.