What's the worth of a life with no fun, joy or sense of fulfilment? Sometimes the daily routine can start to drag, leading to feelings of boredom and unhappiness. When we get lost in work, money, family and relationship issues, we can very easily forget about the other things in life that make us happy.
A 'hobby' is any activity a person chooses to do for fun in their spare time, away from their usual commitments. Unlike pastimes like watching TV or browsing the Internet, a hobby usually involves learning new skills and working towards a goal.
Hobbies can add excitement, diversity and enjoyment to daily life. Through hobbies, people often meet friends and partners, discover things about themselves, develop new skills and find themselves in new situations. Without hobbies, it can become very easy to slip into a routine with no room for fun, adventure, or personal development.
While some people manage to balance their hobbies with their daily routines, some struggle to find the time or energy to have a hobby, and others simply lack the confidence or motivation to start something new.
If you're getting a little bored of life, or you're looking to build new skills, meet new people or simply change the way things are going for you, then getting in touch with a life coach could be the first step on the road to improvement. Whether you need help finding your feet, making time to get out and do things, or building the confidence to fight any anxieties you have about starting a new hobby, life coaching could provide the support and guidance needed to get you there.
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Do I need a hobby?
The phrase 'I need a hobby' is searched over 8,000 times on Google every month. While some people are lucky enough to already have a natural interest, most of us continue to search for that ideal hobby well into adulthood.
Some of the most common reasons people feel they need a hobby include:
- Boredom - The everyday routine can get monotonous if you fail to make time for fun and diversity. Often, people decide they need a hobby because they're simply bored of life and want something new to open doors and spice things up.
- Inadequacy - It's not unusual to feel inadequate when you see other people fill their lives with extra-curricular activities.
- Personal development - It's good to feel like you're progressing towards something in life. Many people take up hobbies to learn new skills and build on their strengths.
- Meet new people - Moving to a new place, experiencing a massive break-up/loss, or simply wanting to make new friends are all reasons people feel they should start a hobby.
Benefits of having a hobby
Hobbies are limitless in their ability to enrich lives and create opportunities. Anyone can start a hobby. Even if you've never considered yourself to be particularly talented, how will you ever know the true extent of your ability unless you try things? For all you know, you could be a whizz at surfing, or a professional flamenco dancer in the making!
The more you try things the better you'll get to know yourself, and the closer you'll get to finding fulfilment.
If you're in two minds about starting a hobby, then it might be worth considering some of the potential benefits...
Every kind of hobby requires a certain amount of skill. From footwork in tango dancing to muscle strength in weight lifting, from concentration in woodwork and creativity in writing - it takes practice to hone a craft. However, the sense of achievement you gain from progressing week by week is unrivalled.
As well as learning skills specific to the hobby you choose, you will also learn other, more general life skills. These include:
- Communication skills - If there is a social element to your hobby, then you will no doubt have to interact with other people from a range of different backgrounds, ages and personalities. It's not often that we have the opportunity to get to know people outside of our families, social groups and work-lives.
- Persistence - Doing something you really enjoy makes it easier to keep going when things get tough. Having this experience will help you realise that achieving goals takes patience and persistence - qualities you can take with you into other areas of your life.
- Self-discipline - Sometimes it's difficult to get up and do things. The temptation to procrastinate can mean many of us let our creative energies sap away in front of the TV or Internet. You can't get good at something if you keep missing sessions, or taking short cuts. Having a hobby is a commitment and it takes a high level of self-discipline to keep it up.
Employers look to the 'hobby' section of potential candidates' CVs to get a better idea of who they are and where their interests and skills lie. It's true - our hobbies do say a lot about us. For example, you might expect someone who puts 'reading and writing' to be more introspective and quiet than someone who puts an active, group activity like 'synchronised swimming', or 'volunteer work'. If you're trying to increase your employability then starting a new hobby is a great place to start. Even choosing something free and simple like running can demonstrate you have will-power and self-discipline.
According to mental health charity Mind, "Good mental health isn't something you have, but something you do." Reserving time for yourself to do the things you enjoy doing is an important part of mental wellbeing. Work and relationships are equally important parts of life, but they should not dominate it. Having personal interests, goals and pastimes are also very important. Hobbies will keep your mind occupied, build your self-confidence and give you a sense of purpose and achievement necessary for mental well-being.
Of course, not all hobbies are good for your physical health. Hotdog eating contests, for example, are not very healthy. It goes without saying that active hobbies like rock climbing, sports, athletics and weight lifting are all fantastic for boosting physical health - but even non-active hobbies can be good for your physical health. For instance, even standing in a studio for band practice, or sitting in a classroom learning French, uses up energy and stimulates your body more than going home and doing nothing.
Self-esteem and confidence
Low self-esteem is the feeling of not being good enough. If you ever start to doubt your abilities, or lose sight of your own worth, then starting a new activity could help you build the confidence to enjoy being you.
Often, people with low self-esteem are just as capable of doing things as people with high self-esteem; however, in believing they can't do something, people with low self-esteem massively limit themselves.
Part of personal development in life coaching is about realising your virtues. If you never take the time to explore your abilities, then how are you ever going to reach your full potential?
Starting a hobby in something you find interesting could help you identify your strengths and finally break out of destructive thought patterns.
Meet new people
One of the greatest things about starting a hobby is that you get to open up your social life and meet new people. Even if your hobby is something solo like knitting, or reading - simply having the hobby connects you in some way to all the other people out there who also like knitting and reading. You can join Internet forums, book groups, wool conventions - the possibilities are endless.
Many life-long friendships start with a mutual hobby or interest, and joining a group is a great way to meet potential love interests.
Change your life
Although the main purpose of having a hobby is pleasure and recreation, having one often leads to more significant things. For example - many technological developments are made not by professionals, but by individuals playing around with equipment at home. Take the modern phenomenon of Facebook - what started out as a hobby in a student's dorm soon became a multi-billion pound website with the power to change the way humans communicate forever.
Who knows, your quiet interest might just be the beginning of something much bigger. If you don't explore that hobby and hone your talent - how will you ever know?
Downsides of having a hobby
There are some people in life who seem so multi-talented and busy that it's exhausting just being around them. These people seem able to juggle parenting duties with global travel, high-powered careers with exercise, charity work with socialising and so on. But just how do they do it?
Not all of us possess the energy, motivation or inclination to try our hand at every single hobby going, while others don't feel happy until they're immersed in something that challenges them.
While it's beneficial to have hobbies, getting stressed and feeling inadequate for not having one is not good. If you feel happy with the way your life is then don't feel pressured to spend money and time doing things just because you think you should. Hobbies are fantastic for people who have a particular interest they'd like to pursue, or for those who feel like their lives aren't quite satisfying them - but for people who are perfectly content spending time with friends, relaxing and enjoying their current routine, there may be no reward in starting a new hobby.
The downsides of having a hobby include...
- Time commitments - Most hobbies require you to set aside time every week to do them. Once the novelty of starting something new wears off, your hobby might feel more like a chore - especially if it takes a great deal of training and commitment.
- Money - Some hobbies are free, while some - usually ones that require specialist equipment, like scuba diving and rock climbing, cost a significant amount of money. It's worth considering whether you can afford to continue your hobby once you start.
- Energy - Again, the amount of energy you need for your hobby will depend on what kind of hobby it is. If you have an active job, you might feel too tired at the end of the day to do your active hobby. Likewise - if you spend your whole day sitting down at work, you might not feel like sitting down to paint, write, or sew when you get home.
- Frustration - Starting hobbies only to realise they're not as enjoyable or fulfilling as you hoped can become quite frustrating. Even if you do enjoy your hobby, there often comes a plateau-point. This is the point at which you stop progressing and often have to put even more time, energy and effort into edging forwards. Failure can be frustrating and it is important to think about what impact this might have on other areas of your life.
How could life coaching help me?
Starting a new hobby takes confidence, there's no doubt about it. People can be put off by thoughts such as:
- What if I fail?
- What if no-one likes me?
- What if I make a fool of myself?
In some cases, you might even be afraid of coming to harm. Extreme sports are addictive and fun, but they are also dangerous.
Whatever you anxieties are, a life coach will be able to help you sort them into a rational order so one by one, you can look at what they mean and learn to overcome them.
During your session, you might be asked the following questions:
- Why do you want a hobby?
- Where do you think your strengths lie?
- What skills do you hope to build on by starting a hobby?
- Do you have any concerns about starting a new hobby?
By considering your motives for wanting to start a hobby, and looking at the obstacles standing in your way, you could put yourself in a better position to make a decision.
A life coach will help you:
- build the confidence to try something new
- understand your need for a hobby
- make time in a busy schedule
- believe you can succeed
- decide which hobby is best for you.
To find out more about what to expect from life coaching, please visit our FAQs page.
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