We all have busy lives with lots of responsibilities, but a hobby is actually beneficial in that respect (if you need some persuasion – check out this post). It might be tough at the start, especially if taking up a hobby is a new thing for you, but eventually the benefits overweigh any struggles you might have at the beginning.
To ease the integration process, consider the following steps. They are rather simple and some may seem pretty obvious, but if you follow them (not necessarily in the given order), they can very effectively help make any hobby a part of your life that you really enjoy.
Step 1 – Make the Time
Be active about choosing the right time for your new hobby. Sit down (or lie down, or stand up) and spend some time on it. Think: where can you fit this hobby in? With some hobbies, like learning a foreign language, even 5 minutes a day can be enough, especially at the beginning.
With some hobbies you may need to allocate longer periods of time but not as often. But if you actively look for this time in your busy schedule – instead of just thinking “I don’t have the time” – you will probably find out that you have more than you think.
Some practical tips:
- Write down your time-table for the day. It doesn’t have to be too exact, not to the very last minute, but be more or less detailed. It will help you see your day at a glance and find time slots for hobbies a bit easier.
- Consider some of your typical time-wasters: watching TV or YouTube, spending time on social networks. You probably won’t suffer too much if you take some time away from the time-wasters and dedicate it to your new hobby. You probably won’t even notice, and even if you do, the hobby will eventually prove to be more fun and more beneficial for you.
- Consider the times when you are (more or less) idle and see if you can combine them with your hobby. For example, if you travel to work by public transport you can spend this time reading up on your hobby (travel by car – listen to an audio book) or doing some exercises in a learning app. I have seen people knit on the underground and I have myself made a couple of friendship bracelets on my way to work. If your hobby is “portable”, don’t forget to take it with you and whip it out any time you have nothing to do or have to wait for something.
Step 2 – Make the Money
While it is true that a hobby usually costs at least some money it doesn’t have to be too heavy on the budget, especially if you prepare beforehand. (Also, starting a hobby may be cheaper than you think, check out this post to find out more)
As in the previous step, writing things down helps. Think about the money you will have to pay for your hobby. Are there any regular weekly, monthly, yearly payments? Do you need to buy some supplies or equipment? Write it all down, at least the approximate figures and see how they fit into your budget.
Do not be afraid to give up something for your new hobby. Eating out a few times less will be fully made up for by all the benefits from the hobby (if you have forgotten about the benefits taking up a hobby can bring – check out this post one more time).
Step 3 – Make the Place.
Some of the hobbies are more compact than others, but anyway you have to do them somewhere. If it is a hobby you will do at home, like various arts and handicrafts, consider where you will keep your supplies and where you will practice. It’s wonderful if you can afford to allocate a separate corner (room, desk) for you hobby, but even if not, choose a place you can easily clear up to start practicing.
The same goes for other types of activities. If you want to start jogging in the morning, walk around your neighborhood and see if there is a park or cozy street where you can run. If you want to go to a gym or yoga studio, check the ones closest to your home or place of work beforehand.
Step 4 – Make the 1st Step
You may have noticed before (if you have not – trust me when I say this) that our lives are quite adaptable. It seems that you don’t have enough time for something, but if you absolutely have to, the time magically appears and certain things shift in your life to accommodate you.
Even if it does not seem so right now, if you take up a hobby your life will adapt to fit it in. It isn’t magic. It is the small things you do consciously and subconsciously that all together amount to a significant change.
That is why: make the 1st step right now! Book the first lesson, buy a gym membership or some supplies, meet up with a teacher. You can always back out if it turns out to be not your cup of tea, but most likely you will later thank yourself for starting right now. I always thank myself later when I do.
Step 5 – Find or Create the Motivation
This may be not necessary at the beginning, when you are all excited and eager to start a new hobby, and you have motivation enough for a bunch of people. But even if you love what you are doing, sometimes going gets tough: maybe you feel like you are not making any progress, or you lack inspiration, or laziness takes over – what extra motivation can help you go on then?
There are different ways to give yourself that magical kick that will push you forward. Here are some of them to give you a few ideas:
- Tell others to be accountable. If you tell all your friends about your hobby and what you are planning to achieve you will be less likely to back out. You may even ask one or two of your friends to “check up” on you regularly and remind you how inspired you were at the beginning when things slow down.
- Set yourself a goal. It can be a big one: play in a concert, make an exhibition of your works, run a marathon, climb Mount Everest. It may be a smaller, but regular one: draw at least one sketch every day, run four times a week, learn ten new words and phrases every day, etc. This article is rather general and the examples are as well, so if you are struggling with setting a personal goal in a particular hobby, get in touch with me and we’ll try to do it together.
- Set a punishment – or a reward, whatever works best for you. Be reasonable. Do not punish yourself for missing one class (which is sometimes unavoidable), or set a huge reward for completing every little thing. Set yourself a punishment for missing an important deadline, failing a major project, failing to reach certain results and / or a reward for achieving all that and see if it motivates you. If you haven’t done this before it make take some time for you to find the right punishments and rewards that work for you.
- Change things up. Sometimes just changing your routine gives you a lot of fresh energy and motivation to go on. Consider how you usually do your hobby and do something differently. If you always practice at home, consider going outside or to a different place. If you always do it alone consider taking a group class. If you can afford it, buy or rent some supplies or equipment you have not tried before.
Step 6 – Love Your Hobby and Have Fun
When you take up an activity because you have to – like learning a foreign language for work – it probably doesn’t really feel like a hobby. But even then you can find ways to enjoy it. And no matter why you started a hobby, if you enjoy doing it and don’t take it, or yourself, too seriously, you will have a lot of fun doing it – and that’s what matters.
As you can see, these steps aren’t magic. They are mostly pretty simple and obvious. But if you follow them – not necessarily in the given order – they will keep you on track and make integrating a new hobby into your life a much easier task.
If these steps do not seem to apply to you – don’t hesitate to get in touch, and we’ll work something out together. If they do – share your story and example.
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