Knitting, cooking, participating in sports, cross-stitching, playing music, making jewelry—what do these things have in common? They’re all popular hobbies! A hobby is anything you do for fun, kind of like an extracurricular activity for adults. There’s no monetary gain, although many people successfully turn their hobby into their job or side hustle. There are many benefits of having a hobby or two. Firstly, it’s important to have balance in life. Hobbies allow you to take your mind off the daily grind. You can’t work all the time, you need some time to relax and enjoy yourself. Also, they allow you to meet new people since in many cities and towns there are local groups that bring people with the similar hobbies together.
My most recent favorite hobby is ballroom dancing. It’s great exercise, a wonderful social opportunity, and something that I can continue enjoying the rest of my life. When I first started going to practices with my college’s team, I was nervous—I didn’t know any dance steps and most of the people there were complete strangers. However, I forced myself to get over my initial trepidation and stick with it. It’s now one of the best parts of my life! The moral of this story is that hobbies can be a great thing, and you never know when or how you will discover your next passion in life.
But how do you get started with a new hobby? Here’s a step-by-step process to find your next passion.
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas
First, you have to compile a list of activities you have always been interested in but, for one reason or another, haven’t tried. No need to be practical yet—that’s the next step—be as idealistic as you can! Discovering a new hobby is all about making yourself happy and expressing a new side of your personality.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Learn all there is to know about the activities on your list, and use the results to narrow down your options. The Internet is a great source of information, of course, but talking to people is also important. If you have friends who know something about this hobby, talk to them. It’s also great to talk to experienced professionals in the field. You will need to know if there’s anywhere to go in your area to explore this hobby, or if it’s something you can do from home. What kind of supplies, upfront knowledge or experience, and resources will you need? These are all essential things to learn before you dive in.
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Step 3: Budget Your Time and Money
Since most people don’t make money off of their hobby, you need to make sure your finances are in good enough order to fund your new activity. You need to know how much money you have to spend on a hobby and compare that to how expensive your hobby of interest tends to be. Find ways to cut costs or decrease your involvement if it’s a hobby you’re really interested in but is too expensive. Budgeting and savings don't just apply to shopping at the mall! Make this part of your research so you can crunch the numbers before you become emotionally attached.
Just as budgeting your finances is important, so too is scheduling your time. Millennials lead busy lives, so you need to ensure that you have enough time to add something else into your life. Again, make this part of your research. Other people with this hobby will know the time commitment it is. If it will take up too much of your time and end up interfering with school or work, then don’t do it. There’s no reason to stress yourself out—hobbies are meant to be a source of stress relief!
Step 4: Go For It!
Jump right into this new activity! It might be a little scary at first because you’re stepping into unexplored territory, but you will inevitably learn something from the experience. Trust me, it is highly unlikely that anything too catastrophic will happen. And even if you totally embarrass yourself on the soccer field, or your knitted blanket turns out crooked, so what? There’s a learning curve for everyone.
Step 5: Evaluate Your Experience
Did you enjoy attending that yoga session as much as you thought you would? How did your first guitar lesson go? What did you think of cooking class?
Since you will be putting time and money into your hobby, you want to enjoy it. It might take a couple tries to arrive at the enjoyment part of the experience, so don’t necessarily give up after one try. But if you’ve been to three or four pottery classes and you still hate it, it’s time to find the source of your dissatisfaction. It could be the teacher, or someone else in the class, who bothers you. Or, it could be pottery itself. Maybe you don’t like the mess it makes or how you have use your hands and feet to spin the wheel just right to create the perfect vase. Pinpoint what it is you dislike about this particular hobby and find another activity that avoids those qualities.
Step 6: Commit to Your Hobby!
If you want to get good at something (like ballroom dancing), you can’t half-ass it. You need to commit. This certainly doesn’t mean you need to devote hours every day to your new hobby (see Step 3). What it does mean, though, is that if you want to improve your skills you’ll have to ensure that you do all you can to achieve that goal. Learning something new is so rewarding…and fun! So it’s well worth your time and resources.
If you follow these steps, you’re sure to find your new favorite hobby in no time. We want to hear about your favorite hobby or something that you’ve been thinking about trying! Tell us all about it in the comments.