Change doesn’t happen in a day. It takes serious time and serious commitment. Time is likely a commodity in your life. In the free time you do have, you want to have FUN! I can’t say I blame you. I feel the same way! But you also want to better yourself, right? It’s a tough spot. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do BOTH? You can! You just need to find a hobby you can use to create the habit you want.
There are so many hobbies that can serve the dual purpose of reaching a goal or creating a better, healthy habit. Change doesn’t have to be dull. You can enjoy your time while you are getting where you want to be. You just have to follow this simple process.
The FIRST part is determining what your desired end goal is.
Do you want to be more fit? Eat healthier? Be well read? Think about what you want your end habit to be. Get specific. Figure out what exact habit you want to build. This will help you narrow down what your hobby needs to include to reach your desired habit.
An example would be, “I want to learn how to meet like-minded people and develop more friendships”. This is specific enough that the progress toward the result can be measured. This also helps you to know that the hobby you choose needs to be a group activity. Running is not going to give you as many opportunities to engage in conversations with new people as say, a book club.
The best way to develop a habit is by exposing yourself regularly to opportunities for the habit to form. You want to make friends? Then put yourself in situations where groups of people are interacting. You may love writing as a hobby, but unless you are including reaching out and having meaningful conversations with other writers, you aren’t going to reach the end result you want.
The SECOND part is picking out hobbies that sound like a good time AND a good way to meet your goal.
So now you know your goal. You know where you want to end up. The habit you hope to have from your hobby. Now that you have properly identified that, start brainstorming your options. Go ahead and list all of the hobbies you could get into that go along with your goal.
You want to start cooking more healthy meals? Then your list might look like this:
- cooking classes
- attending farmer’s markets and/or health food stores to learn about the healthiest foods
- researching meal prep (yes, if you are like me, research can be a hobby)
- take a course on nutrition
- get all your friends together once a week to prepare a meal together
- try one new food every week
Or any combination of things on the list. You could take a cooking class once per month, then visit a farmer’s market, then invite all your friends over to prepare the meal you learned to make! Three fun activities that fall into your hobby and all meet your end goal of eating healthier! Don’t you love a good win-win?
The trick is you have to think of hobbies on a broad level. Hobbies are more than just the typical “I like to listen to music and spend time with my family”. Anything can be a hobby if 1) you enjoy doing it and 2) you are willing to devote some time for the activity.
The THIRD step is figuring out which hobby fits you and your lifestyle the best.
You have your goal. You have your list of hobbies. Now what jumps out at you? What on the list looks like something you would love to spend your time doing over and over again? It may not be the quickest route to your new habit, but if you aren’t having a good time you won’t be as likely to keep it up. The point of using a hobby to reach your habit is that you will be more likely to stay committed to it. It won’t be just another chore.
This blog started using this process. I have a young son and I was feeling like I was becoming just a mom. The days where I had time to drop everything and go spend time with friends was over. I took a job to better financially provide for my son that wasn’t fulfilling my passion for helping people.
My end goal was to take back some of my individualism by connecting with others in a (hopefully) helpful way! But I had to find a way to do that around my full-time job and still being with my son as much as possible. I started to think of all the ways my goal could be accomplished that I would also truly love doing. Here we are!! I so love writing this blog and it has made me feel like I am accomplishing something! In turn, it jump started some good habits in other areas. Like not going to bed at the same time a toddler does every night out of boredom.
I have a few more tips for choosing what route to take.
Some other tips are:
- Enlist a friend – friends make things more fun and promote accountability. They will keep you motivated and dedicated. Just find someone(s) who has a mutual desired goal.
- Pick a hobby that doesn’t pull too much from other resources – if your hobby is burning through your bank account, you won’t be able to keep it up. Keep this in mind when deciding your hobby.
- Be realistic and focus on small, gradual change – if you want to develop the habit of investing more in your future, don’t go drain your bank account to invest in stocks you don’t understand. Instead maybe start a bi-monthly meet up with friends to discuss and share information and tips about how they prepare for their future. It will motivate you to learn new things to bring to the group, and give you new things to try yourself! While still being fun!
When you are having fun and loving what you are doing, the change will evolve naturally. You will be building better habits like a champ! Why go through forcing change the typical way when you can go this route instead? You can repeat this process any time you are wanting to make an improvement in your current lifestyle. Soon you will have plenty of healthy habits that you enjoy doing!
Now that you know the secret, be sure to share it!