Finding a New Hobby

There’s nothing quite like the new year to motivate us to want to try something new. Unlike new year’s resolutions, finding a new hobby or trying something for the first time can be both invigorating and exciting. It can also be next to impossible to find the time to start. 

Difficulties

The argument against starting something new, especially for those of us who have kids, can sometimes be so convincing that it overshadows the reality that is, we all need something we do that’s just for ourselves. The problem is that we either don’t feel we have the time or more likely, we feel guilty when we do things for ourselves. 

The time argument is something that is easily remedied by finding the right hobby. The truth is that when we find enjoyment, satisfaction, and validation in an activity, we will find the time to incorporate it into our lives. Whether you have never found that right activity or you have never really sought it out, the purpose of this article is to help you find that one thing that motivates you to want to make time for it.

The guilt argument is a little trickier to combat, but all it takes is little shift of perspective. As we all know, our family takes up so much of our time and energy that it can be difficult to convince ourselves that we should take time away from them to focus on something for us. The truth is, however, that unless we take care of ourselves, we won’t be able to continue to care for those around us. Anytime that guilty feeling creeps up and tells you that you shouldn’t be doing something for yourself, remember that your well-being is actually beneficial to everyone in your life.

Why We Need Hobbies

Simply put, we all need something that helps take our mind off of our daily struggles. Whether it’s work, relationships, or something else that causes us stress, it’s important to be able to stop thinking about it and focus on something that makes us happy. Not only does this allow us some much needed reprieve from our daily problems, but it can also help us re-evaluate the problem and perhaps see it in a different light. Stepping away and focusing on something else can often allow us to come back to the issue with a new and more positive mindset.

We also need hobbies to allow us to continue to learn. When we are interested and passionate about something, especially something new to us, quite often we will go out of our way to learn all we can about it. This drive to want to learn is something that is not only exciting, but I believe is also a vital contributor to positive mental health. Learning and changing throughout our adult lives can help us avoid the inevitable rut we all experience when life gets a tad too repetitive and familiar.  

Where to Start

Unfortunately, there is no tried and true method to finding a hobby that works for each individual person. For myself, what I found was that I would get involved in something that I thought I would like, only to discover that it wasn’t my cup of tea. This created an alternate problem as it made me reluctant to get involved the next time I was looking for something new because I knew there was no guarantee that I would enjoy it.

So, what I started to do was make the selection process part of the excitement and fun. Being a coach and a fan of basketball, I started using a tournament style bracket to select new activities that I wanted to try. This allowed me to weigh my options as well as look at them in comparison to others in order to find the one that I felt best suited my current interests and mindset.

To use the bracket, simply pick 16 new things that you would consider trying out or getting involved in. Next, rank those 16 activities in order or interest/excitement with 1 being the most interesting. Enter the activities on the bracket next to their corresponding number, and then move them along to the next round once you have had them “face off”. The activity/hobby that makes it all the way to the end will then become your new initiative or hobby that you can try out. 

This method works even better when you include friends and family into the selection process. Sometimes our loved ones can bring in new ideas and perspectives that can help us evaluate our choices and allow us to look at things in a realistic manner. This is also a super fun and engaging method for kids to help them make decisions on new things they want to try.

Print out a copy of the hobby bracket and have fun trying something new! If you need some help picking 16 things, take a look at the sample list I have included to get you started.

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Alan North

Alan has found that blending a teaching career with parenthood to be quite different than he imagined due to the fact that teaching other people's kids is a lot easier than teaching your own. His passion in the areas of literacy, music, communication and student leadership have helped him to survive/enjoy 15 years of teaching.

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