How To Find And Commit To A Hobby You Love

Between the pressures of work, family, friends, and health, hobbies often slip through the cracks. While many people grow up with an interest or activity that they love doing, these tend to fall away as adult life kicks off with its many stresses and responsibilities. But contrary to popular belief, hobbies aren't just for children or retired folks. Regularly partaking in a leisure activity that you genuinely enjoy comes with a slew of benefits. According to The New York Times, research conducted in 2010 found that hobbies and leisure activities can lead to improved physical health, lower stress levels, a greater network of friends, and, perhaps most importantly, increased happiness. Executive recruitment company Jeff Wood explains that having hobbies usually requires commitment, passion, and the ability to set goals. Therefore, having hobbies can also help your career by allowing you to stand out during the recruitment process.

Few would argue that hobbies aren't good for you, but despite the proven benefits, many still lead hobby-free lives. The primary reason is that finding a hobby as an adult can be incredibly daunting, especially when you have no idea where to start. It can also be difficult to find the motivation to stick with a hobby once you've found it. But these hurdles are easily fixed. No matter your age or lifestyle, you can incorporate a hobby into your life that fills your cup with the happiness you deserve.

How to find a hobby

To find a hobby, start with the things that you already enjoy. An interest isn't a hobby, but an interest in things can lead to finding the right hobby for you. Speaking to The Muse, licensed counselor Rebecca Weiler recommended finding ways to turn the things you love doing into real hobbies. For example, a love of "watching sports" could lead to "joining a softball team." If you can't think of anything you enjoy doing, PsychCentral advises reflecting back on your childhood. What hobbies did you have and what did you love to do?

If you really don't know where to start, take a leap and try something new. After all, you won't know what you like and dislike until you try it. You can also ask friends who have hobbies for guidance, as well as try out activities that the people in your life already enjoy. Once you have an idea of what you'd like to do, consider any goals you may have, as well as your values. For instance, if one of your goals is to meet new friends, a social hobby might be better than a personal one. If you value social justice, could you take up a hobby that helps other people in some way? It's also important to consider your budget, as some hobbies are considerably more expensive than others.

Committing to your new hobby

You're more likely to stick to an activity if you genuinely enjoy it, so it's important to keep searching until you find a hobby you truly like. You're also more likely to maintain a hobby if you approach it with realistic expectations (via Lily & Val). For example, most people won't keep up with an activity that takes place too far away from their home, such as surfing at the beach or horseback riding in the country. As much as you might enjoy these activities, they'll be difficult to stick with if the logistics are too hard.

Time constraints hold many people back from taking on hobbies, so try to free up time in your week wherever you can (via the Government of Singapore). Identify areas in your schedule where you're wasting time (hours of social media scrolling, anyone?), and reduce them to make room for a fulfilling hobby. Also, it's okay to enjoy your hobby for shorter periods; for example, 15 minutes of reading a day is better than no reading at all. 

Finally, signing up for a class may hold you accountable to your new hobby, at least until the term ends (via Midlife Rambler). If you invest some money into a hobby you know you love, you're much more likely to keep it up. Once you get over the initial hurdles of finding and committing to an activity, a new hobby can improve your life in amazing ways.