Having a hobby that you enjoy has all sorts of benefits for your well-being, from lower levels of stress to an increased sense of purpose and belongingness. Hobbies can seriously impact your quality of life and even improve your work performance. When you’re engaged and fulfilled in your life outside of work – like when you’re pursuing hobbies you enjoy – that happiness spills over, making you more enthusiastic when you’re on the job.
There are people who stumble into hobbies they are fulfilled with, but some need a more self-reflective, deliberate approach to choosing a hobby. If you feel like your life is getting more lackluster, consider going on a quest to find your hobby. It can lead you to a deeper passion, a sense of peace, and a stronger purpose.
Here are some tips that may help you pick a hobby that you’ll love:
Think of what’s enjoyable to you.
Even if you don’t have something you consider a hobby, there’s surely some activity that you enjoy doing. Chances are, there’s a way to transform it into a full-fledged hobby. If you enjoy things like eating and watching sports, you can transform it into a hobby like taking cooking classes or joining a softball team.
Look at the ways you enjoy spending your free time and figure out how they can become hobbies. Is your favorite part of the day playing with your dog? Try volunteering with a dog rescue organization. Love reading about random facts on the Internet? You might enjoy joining a trivia team. Do you like watching movies and TV series on Netflix and ranting your reactions on Twitter? Try starting a blog for your reviews.
The point is that you are already doing things you love. The easiest way to find hobbies that you will enjoy is to figure out how to build off those things.
Check when you have some free time.
This is a more practical concern and a legitimate one at that. Be honest with yourself – how much free time do you have at this point? Do you work 40 hours a week or 60 or 80? Do you have a long commute, or do you walk to work? Are your weekends yours, or do you have responsibilities in your family, church, or community? Knowing when you have free time will help you get a better idea of where you can fit a hobby in your life.
If you say you have zero free time, check your priorities and activities because it’s not sustainable, and you’re going to go crazy.
Finding a hobby as an adult takes a bit of patience. It needs to click, and sometimes it can take time to find the right fit. Even the hobbies that take work and concentration can be fun if they make you feel satisfied, fulfilled, and happy. And also, don’t try to force it. It should challenge you, comfort you, and nourish your mind and soul – not draining your time and energy.
Know what gives you a sense of satisfaction.
Perhaps you’re competitive, and the surge of adrenaline after winning gives you the most satisfaction. Maybe you find happiness when you make people laugh or think. Maybe you feel good at setting long-term goals and completing them on your own. Or perhaps you find more joy when you get a creative idea and turn it into something real.
Discover what makes you satisfied, happy, and fulfilled. Check out if you feel most validated when you’re winning, creating, or connecting. Then, choose a hobby that suits it.
Assess your personality.
The most fun hobby in the world for one person can be torturous, boring, or anxiety-inducing for another. People tend to enjoy hobbies that appeal to their own interests, strengths, and personality.
There are lots of personality assessments on the Internet that can help you figure out which hobbies might be the right fit for you.
Try to reclaim your childhood interests.
Think about the hobbies you used to enjoy before work, life, and responsibilities got in the way. Children tend to experiment and often intuitively know what can bring them joy. When you were a kid, what did you like to do? Did you tinker with model trains, or do you spend lots of hours sketching and drawing? Did you shoot hoops or explore the neighborhood with your bike? Did you like playing in restaurants or creating costumes for your dolls using scrap fabrics?
You can revisit these hobbies you loved as a kid to help you get back into the groove.
Ask yourself if you want to interact with others or not.
There are hobbies that you do in your alone time, while there are some that require or lead you to some social interaction. It all depends on your preference, whether you want to engage or not.
If you have a social job and you talk to different people every day, you might like a hobby that won’t require social interaction. You might want to knit while binge-ing Netflix or tackle a home project alone in your garage. On the other hand, if your job is solitary, you might want to look for a hobby that will help you meet people and make some friends and connections.
Check the sides of yourself that you don’t express much through your current job.
If your job makes you sit in front of a computer for hours a day, you may want to consider a hobby that satisfies your need for movement. If you like math and your current work involve words and language, you may want to try out math-related hobbies. If you have lots of creative ideas and your job is all about data and logic, it’s time to branch out. Whatever you do for your job, you might want an outlet for your other strengths and skills, whether it’s related to physicality, creativity, community building, etc.
Consider the cost.
Hobbies can either cost money, earn money, or have no financial impact. Is this important to you? Some people prefer hobbies that generate extra income, but for others, a hobby like this starts to feel like a second job and isn’t fun anymore. Set up a monthly budget if you’re willing to spend your extra money on hobbies. Some hobbies that cost money can be transformed into money-making activities, like flipping motorcycles rather than simply collecting.
Also, try to imagine if money is not an issue – what would you buy? Cooking books and kitchen equipment? A heart rate monitor and gym equipment? Camping equipment? Easels, brushes, and unlimited paint? Think big. It may not be realistic, but the thought experiment can help you lead to what you really desire.
It may take a few attempts to find a hobby you really enjoy, but the key is not to give up. Keep trying new things, keep finding activities you find interesting, and eventually, you will find a hobby that feels like the right fit.
If you need help looking for a new hobby, you can check out this “how to find a hobby quiz.”