How to Start a Hobby

How to Start a Hobby

Have you ever gotten to the Cultivated Life Evaluation in your PowerSheets® goal planner and paused, pen poised over the Fun + Recreation box, and thought, I have absolutely no idea what to write here? If so, you're not alone! This goal-oriented community of women is often very good at achieving meaningful goals, but sometimes less good at spending relaxed time on something that brings them joy, with no expectation of reward or achievement beyond the experience of the thing itself.

That's the beauty of a hobby. It doesn't make you money. You don't have to be an expert to participate. It's simply a way to fill your time that brings you joy and makes you feel like a favorite version of yourself.

If you need more of that energy in your life, you're in the right place! Today we're chatting about how to choose the right hobby and how to incorporate a new hobby into your life in a simple and joyful way.

Coffee break with scones, fruit, and a gratitude journal

Like we often do here at Cultivate, we're going to follow our three-step proven process. We'll uncover what matters, break it down, and then live it out. This process works just as well for finding a hobby you'll love as it does for achieving goals! :)

1. Uncover what matters.

Why do you want a hobby? Why does finding one matter to you? Without spending time on this step, it would be too easy to choose a hobby that's not right for you or for the season you're in—and we don't want that! We want to find you a hobby that checks all your boxes and brings you joy, to boot.

Questions to consider as you brainstorm possible hobbies:

  • Do you want a hobby that feels nostalgic, or are you looking for something that exposes you to new technology? Would you rather work with your hands or on the computer?
  • Do you want a hobby that provides alone time, or something that brings you together with other people?
  • Do you want to join an existing community, or do you want a hobby that brings your friends together?
  • Are you looking to incorporate more or less of something into your life?
  • Do you want to exercise a different part of your brain than you use in your work?
  • Do you want your hobby to "give back," or do you want it to be just for you?
  • Do you want a hobby you can feel good at, that comes easily to you? Or do you want to challenge yourself?
  • Would you rather spend free time outside or inside?
  • What gets you excited when you think about it?

Spend some time brainstorming a list of possibilities (feel free to browse our options to get your wheels turning!). Remember that there are no wrong answers at this step.

List of hobbies to try

Also, be open to the idea that this might be a hobby for a season, not for all of time. Don't put pressure on yourself to find a hobby for the rest of your life right now! Focus on the season you're in. 

Keep your list handy as you move onto the next step.

2. Break it down.

Now let's look at the resources you have available to pursue a new hobby.

  • TIME: How much time can you or do you want to devote to a new hobby? And what sort of time is it? Is it one particular morning or night of the week? Is it generally every evening after the kids are in bed? Is it early mornings? Is it the weekend? Is it once a month? Is it minutes per day or a full day each month?
  • BANDWIDTH: Are you looking for a hobby that could become a major part of your life, or something simple to dabble in? Are you ready to carve out dedicated, regular hours to tend it, or would you prefer something you can easily pick up and set back down as your life allows?
  • MONEY: There are ways to start small with every hobby, but some will be more expensive than others. Is there a budget you want to stick to?

With your answers to these three questions in mind, flip back to your list of possible hobbies. Given your resources in this season, which hobby do you most want to pursue? What feels possible AND gets you excited? Choose 1-2 and throw some confetti—you've got a new hobby!!

3. Live it out.

A hobby, by definition, is supposed to be relaxed. You can certainly track it and set a goal for it if you'd like, but if that turns it into something it shouldn't be, resist. If it feels forced, it's no longer a hobby.

There are a few simple tips that might help you enjoy your new pursuit to the full, though.

  • START SMALL. Do not go out and buy every conceivable supply and accessory. Do not sign up for daily lessons. Do not join five new Facebook groups. To protect your wallet and your mental state, start small. Ask a friend who's more experienced what supplies to start with. Borrow where you can. See if you even enjoy your new hobby before you jump into the deep end—otherwise, you risk wasting money, feeling guilty, and burning out on the idea of a hobby all together if you need to change course.
  • INVITE OTHERS IN. Does a friend want to join you? Can you share what you're learning with a friend or family member? Is there a (single!) Facebook group that might ease your learning curve and get you excited about what's ahead? Connecting with others is often one of the best parts of a hobby!
  • EMBRACE BEING A BEGINNER. Something that has stuck with me from Catherine Price's book The Power of Fun is her insistence that being a beginner is liberating. Many of us shy away from potential new opportunities for fun (or new hobbies!) because we fear looking stupid. "But if you're an absolute beginner at something," Catherine writes, "why would you feel any shame at all? You're not supposed to be good! Far from being a trigger for shame, being an absolute beginner at something can be freeing, because no one expects you to be good."
  • ADD ENVIRONMENTAL CUES. Any time you're working to incorporate a new habit or behavior, it can be helpful to use smart strategies. One of the most relevant for hobbies is adding environmental cues—placing supplies for your hobby where you'll easily see them, so you'll more readily reach for them—but there are lots of tips you might find helpful in this post.

We hope these tips help you find and enjoy a hobby that brings you joy! We'd love to hear: do you have a hobby? When did you begin it? What do you love about it? 

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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