Have you been longing to pick up a new hobby but not sure where to start? A hobby is a great way to spend some down time, get centered and feel accomplished yet relaxed! Here are 7 tips when choosing a new hobby – and how to pick the best hobby for you!
1. Consider what you want to make.
This may seem a little obvious, but we need to start here! What are you interested in? Do you want to make clothes? Maybe drawings or paintings? Do you want to try growing a garden or learning to bake bread? If there’s something you are particularly interested in, listen to that voice and go for it!
2. Consider your reasons for starting a new hobby.
If you’re not sure what you want to make, try honing in on why you want to pick up a new hobby. This can inform the type of hobby you pursue. For example, do you want to pick up a practical skill? Maybe sewing so you can fix clothes or learning new cooking recipes would be best for you. Maybe you want to better express yourself? Picking up a hobby with lots of creative potential like painting or collage might be your best fit. Do you want to pick up a hobby because you think it would be good for your mental health? Than maybe give journalling a try!
There are so many great reasons to pick a hobby, but sometimes it can be difficult to even understand your own reasons for wanting to do something. To help hone in on why you want to pick up a hobby, we recommend writing down a list of reasons you think you’d like to try one. Writing down your ideas and thoughts can really help you organize them. You could also try out a vision map. Take a pen and paper and doodle images that represent the different things you’re interested in. Do they have a common theme? Why do they interest you? Continue building your map and see where it takes you! You might be surprised by what you discover.
3. Consider your personality.
Sometimes it can be difficult to stick to a new hobby. We can start with lots of enthusiasm and excitement, but we eventually reach roadblocks like distractions or frustrations that can stop us in our tracks. Picking the right hobby for our personality, as well as prepping for our own common pit falls, can help us stay motivated in the long run. Work with yourself, not against yourself!
So, what aspects of your personality should you consider? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
How easily do you get distracted?
Do you often like to start new projects, or enjoy focusing on one large project?
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you get easily frustrated?
Are you someone who likes getting messy or are you a bit of a neat freak?
Are there certain materials you don't like or love the touch or feel of?
Do you enjoy repetition or does it bore you?
Do you like to work with tools that seem interesting?
Use your answers to these questions to help guide your choice of hobby! For example, if you tend to lose focus easily, it might be best for you to pick a hobby with short, small projects that you can get done quickly. This might include punch needle embroidery, jewelry making, or mini weavings.
If you tend to enjoy something you can get absorbed in for a long amount of time, big, robust projects might be your best call. For example, knitting a sweater, sewing or oil painting. If you're a perfectionist, choose to work with materials that are more forgiving, is more process-driven or can easily be undone. For example, suminagashi (paper marbling) and fabric dyeing are more based on process and there's no straight lines in the finished product. They're much more 'go with the flow' type of activity. Knitting and crocheting can be undone if you need to fix a previous error, but the consistency of stitches will come into play and will get better with practice.
If you like to geek out on tools, leatherworking, wood burning and sculpture may satisfy the itch.
4. Consider your budget.
While most hobbies can be tailored to any budget, some are more costly than others or require a large upfront investment. Knowing your budget ahead of time will help you pick a hobby that won’t stretch your wallet and discourage you from continuing.
If you have a larger budget, you can consider more options with large upfront costs. For example, rug tufting and musical instruments require specific pricey items just to get started. If you have a larger budget but are still nervous about committing, taking a class to give things a test run before committing might be the right way to go! (We'll cover this more in consideration 7!)
If you have a super tight budget, there are hobbies you can pick up without buying anything new. You can start drawing with a basic pencil or pen and plain paper. You can write or journal on scrap paper or on your phone. Does someone in your household already practice a certain hobby and can lend you materials? You can also ask friends and family if they have any materials they don’t want. Lots of folks have things like yarn, paint, or origami paper lying around, untouched. They’d be happy to get rid of it and make more space in their home!
5. Consider your living situation.
Where you live and who you live with can make a big impact on the types of materials you'd like to work with. It also dictates the amount of storage space you have for your materials. Some items, like a giant loom or a big instrument like a piano can take up a lot of room in your home. If you're worried about space, finding a hobby with smaller materials (for example, embroidery) can help keep your hobby manageable.
When thinking about where you live, you might also consider climate. Do you live in a warmer or colder climate that might have an effect on your materials? This might also effect the types of projects you'd want to make and have.
Another thing to consider is who you live with. Do you have any pets or children that you’d worry about getting into your materials? If you do, you might be more wary of working with toxic materials like oil paints or potentially dangerous materials like glass. Finally, consider allergies! If you or someone in your household have a wool sensitivity, you might be limited in your material choice if you pick up knitting! (Although there are plenty of yarn alternatives as well!)
6. Consider your time.
How much time do you want to spend on your hobby? And, more importantly, how much time can you spend on it? If you don’t have a lot of spare time, picking smaller projects, activities that you can easily pick up and put down, or quicker activities will make your hobby time more satisfying. You can also consider hobbies that are easier to take on the go. For example, you can stick a sketchbook in your bag and draw during a lunch break at work. Knitting a sweater will likely takes hours and hours, but you can pick up and put it down relatively easily.
Are you looking for something to do while watching a show? Something that doesn't require your undivided attention or meticulous counting would be a good fit. For example, punch needling or embroidery with pre-printed patterns on the fabric would be quite easy to keep track of while watching a show, but cross-stitching and crocheting may be more challenging because both require counting.
7. Consider taking a workshop.
And last but not least: consider taking a class to help you get started or as part of your evaluation process! This will help you speed up the learning process and allow you to get over that learning curve as fast as possible. It’s a great way to boost your skills and confidence, and also lets you know if this is a hobby you’ll really enjoy if you continue on.
If you're a generalist or your hobby is just to 'try new things', workshops are a great way to experience a craft without any of the headaches.
We hope this list helps you pick out your new favorite hobby! We always love to see what you make, so consider sending us a picture of your new projects. Simply tag us on Instagram @STU_Cambridge