Best Way to Get a New Hobby

Dancing!Reading! Playing lacrosse! Playing the clarinet! Horseback riding! Snowboarding! Designing clothes! Running! Acting! Writing poetry! Rock climbing! Weightlifting! What’s on your list of hobbies?

Jill Bauer hosts her own show, You’re Home with Jill, on QVC, a television shopping channel. The show features everything from what you need to prepare a recipe to decorating ideas, craft proj­ects, and gardening tips. Jill says:

Hobbies have always been very important to me. What’s great about having a hobby is that it serves two purposes:

 Best Way to Get a New Hobby

  •  Hobbies help you enjoy being alone by yourself. When I was a girl, if I had no one to hang out with, I could still have a good time baking cookies, hitting a softball, or making something crafty.
  •  Hobbies help you meet other people with similar inter­ests. Hobbies bring people who have a shared interest together and give them a common bond.

Hobbies have served me well as an adult. They instilled confidence in me and a sense of accomplishment. They’ve helped me learn to be comfortable being alone by myself. The hobbies you enjoy now are likely things you’ll always enjoy. And it will surprise you that in your choice of career, your hobbies often show up. I’m an example of that. I’m the host and creator of a TV show that focuses on many of my favorite hobbies.

My show features cooking. I’ve always loved to cook. As soon as the prepackaged mixes on my EZ Bake Oven ran out, I was in the kitchen inventing new mixes with flour, peanut butter, and other ingredients. Some worked better than others. My show also features gardening and crafting. I also loved to shop. And look what I do for a living—sell things on TV for a shopping channel!

Some people know right away what their favorite hobby is. They’re the field hockey players who live for the game, the dancers who are always at the studio. But others of us aren’t so sure. Or we want to branch out and try a new hobby.

Where do you start? Here’s Jill’s advice about choosing a new hobby. Ask yourself these questions first:

What have you always loved? Did you always want to be outdoors? In the kitchen? Around animals? Building things? Even things that seem silly, like playing with play dough can be clues. That interest might translate into a pottery class. If you liked riding your bikes when you were little, you might want to try racing them. If you like to kick your brother, maybe kickboxing will be your thing. If you just love being around people, you might want to look into volunteer work.

Whose skills do you admire? Maybe you admire a classmate who is an excellent cartoonist. Or you admire a famous actress. These are clues to interests of yours. Why not just give it a try? You don’t have to be any good at a hobby; it can be just for fun.

Explore all your options. Some hobbies are obvious, but others aren’t. Think about something that has caught your attention. You were flipping through the channels and saw someone fencing, or snowboarding, or book club, building a robot. And you didn’t flip the channel for a few minutes. Could that be something you’d like to try?

And a hobby doesn’t necessarily have to be something you do. It could be a thing. Say you are the girl who always wears the coolest rings—aha, you love jewelry. Take a jewelry-making class. Say you like lip gloss. Do those craft kits to make lip gloss, or make your own soaps or glitter candles.

Okay, you’ve picked a potential hobby. Now Jill will help you get started:

Don’t feel intimidated. Don’t hold yourself up to too high a standard. You think you’d enjoy piano, but get frustrated when you can’t play a song after a few lessons. You try golf, and keep missing the ball. Don’t give up. Everyone starts somewhere. If you feel in­timidated, take a beginner class. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone learns and improves at a different rate. Hobbies are not a competition; they are to be enjoyed.

Choose your own hobby. Sometimes it is easy to join a club or try a hobby simply because your friends are doing it. But you may miss out on doing something you really enjoy. Trying a hobby that is different from your friends’ interests allows you to open yourself up to some new friends—to branch outside your clique, to discover more about yourself.

Don’t force yourself. Say you think you’d really love to take up horseback riding. You try it a couple of times, but realize your; butt just gets too sore. Or you can’t stand the manure aspect. Don’t feel like you failed. You can still love horses, even if you don’t want to ride them. Maybe your hobby will be watching horse shows, in­stead of participating. That’s fine, too. Say you tried to paint, but found it too frustrating. Translate your love of art into trips to dif­ferent art museums and galleries, or take art history classes instead.

Take a class. Learn more about the hobby by taking a class. Take a class at school or (so you don’t have to deal with grades) outside of school. Community groups often offer classes to people of all ages, sometimes specifically for teens.

If there aren’t classes in your area, start your own. Say you love to read mysteries but there aren’t any mystery book clubs for teens in your area. Start your own book club. Advertise it in your commu­nity newsletter’s free meeting column, or hang flyers in the library at school.

Hobby 1 Best Way to Get a New Hobby

Share your hobby with your friends. Your hobbies are a great way to bond, even if your friends don’t usually participate in them with you. Say you love the outdoors. Plan a scavenger hunt hike for your friends. Say your hobby is fashion. Have a sleepover where you hold a fashion show of your own creations or where everyone brings their favorite outfit for a theme. If you’re crafty, host a do-it-yourself night with a bunch of materials out for people to make their own crafts. If you like movies, invite friends over for Oscar night.

Use the Internet. The Internet offers many resources for hobbies. Search for your hobby as a key word and you’ll find communi­ties for people who share your interest, lessons, and new ideas. You love to cook but can’t afford to take cooking classes? Try new recipes on food Web sites online or join a virtual cooking club. The Internet is particularly good if you are introverted about jumping into something new. You don’t have to be as courageous online— you can stay anonymous as you ask your “dumb” questions. It’s a good way to get your feet wet.

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