I’m too scared to try new things but I want a new hobby

How many times have you said "I’m not good at that so I am not going to try it” or heard someone else say it? Personally, I say it all the time as I tend to believe that I am just not capable of doing many new activities well, especially when it comes to anything sporty.

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As a child, I hated PE and any kind of exercise we had to take part in at school. I'm sure, as a chubby adolescent, having to wear those terrible PE shorts instead of skirts had something to do with it! But I was also genuinely bad at sports when I was younger, mainly because I didn’t enjoy them.

It wasn't until I met my husband that I was forced to actually try out new sporting activities – our first date was water-skiing in The Docklands. As much as I tried to get out of it, he made me put on a wetsuit and step gingerly into the disgusting waters of the Thames! The fear of falling into it made me get straight up on two skis and stay up until the ordeal ended! But we did continue (we are still together after 33 years!) and both became proficient mono-skiers (well he was much better than me) travelling to the Cotswolds every weekend to ski. So, I could do it and was actually fairly proficient – I just needed the push.

The photo on my profile is of me from a few months ago practising aerial yoga with my friend Suzanne under the patient instruction of our wonderful teacher Rachel. With a combined age of 119, neither of us are young any longer but we absolutely love our weekly hour spent climbing on the hammocks, going upside down, hanging by our feet and laughing! It is the best tonic ever and the best part of it is, you cannot think about anything else at all while you are on these hammocks as concentration is key to avoid falling – it is the best switch-off time.

As a further challenge, Rachel has choreographed a little routine for us and we are currently perfecting our five-minute routine to Torvill and Dean’s Bolero – so watch this space for a video of the performance! I would never have even tried aerial yoga if I hadn’t gone to a mat yoga class with my daughters and been presented with the hammocks as an option to try. They wanted to have a go, so I had to have a go too! That was the push I needed two years ago.

So, the moral of the story is that you can achieve much more than you think you can.

But you will never know unless you try. 

So do it. Think of something you find scary, challenge yourself and you will feel amazing when you can do it and find that you are actually good at it.

Building confidence in yourself by trying out new activities and joining clubs can help you broaden your life view, and add more hobbies into your life. By doing so you also build your self-esteem.

Having a hobby that you feel passionate about gives you so much to talk about when you are around friends or when meeting new people, instead of boring them with intricate details about your job, which means nothing to those not part of your working world. Being able to show friends pictures of me swinging precariously from a hammock makes me feel powerful and that I can do things that others have never tried.

As with most issues that worry us, it's about shifting your mindset to move away from fear to embracing the idea of growing and learning. If you can focus on the experience of doing the thing, the new hobby, instead of worrying about the outcome, you will start to enjoy yourself more.


How do you do this?

  1. Break the activity into smaller more manageable steps – starting small is always best. Don’t try and run a marathon when you decide to take up running for the first time. Build up to it!
  2. Ask a friend to support you – either actually doing the thing or encouraging you along the way.
  3. Remind yourself somehow that it’s OK to not be the best at something, it’s OK to start slow, it’s OK to make mistakes and start with failure. We all know that success does come from failure but that doesn’t change the fact that we feel terrible initially when things go wrong. But this should drive you to practice and do better next time.
  4. Remind yourself that you are doing these things for yourself. People around you are not that interested in what you are doing and how you are doing it. Remember that you are not the centre of everyone else’s world, they are*.

*(This is known as “spotlight syndrome” – a psychological phenomenon where individuals tend to overestimate the extent to others notice and evaluate their appearance, behaviours and performance in social situations. Essentially, it's the feeling that everyone’s eyes are constantly on you when in reality people are often much more preoccupied with their own thoughts and concerns.)

By gradually exposing yourself to challenging new experiences, you will start to build inner confidence and realise that “I can do it, I just need a push” – a direct quote from me during a recent coaching session where I was the client, not the coach!

Then maybe you will have a new hobby and you will realise that you are good at it.

And of course, if you still need a push to try something new from an independent source, then get in touch with a life coach who can guide, support and encourage you through the challenge!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6
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Written by Sema Rubins, Life & Career Change Coach | ACSTH (ICF) | BA (Hons) | DipM
Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6

Sema Rubins is a transformational life coach working with all ages and anyone who is going through a transition period in their lives.

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