What are your interests?
This seems like a simple question, but as you try to list all your interests, you see that there are many more items than you thought possible.
Knowing where your interests lay helps you improve your life a lot.
Your interests and hobbies vary in intensity.
Some are new, and you are actively engaged with them daily. Others are a distant echo from the past.
You have different types of hobbies and interests, ranging from family to career and from entertainment to fitness. Listing the things you are interested in will help you choose what to focus on when improving your life.
When you create the list, you will also find the items that no longer interest you. Letting go of those will give you more time for the rest. Every time you take up something new, you have to drop something else, and making conscious choices in this area will free some of your mental resources.
How much time you have for your hobbies?
First, we need sleep! If you follow the advice in this post and other sites, then you try to get 8 hours of sleep every day. If you have a day job, another 8 hours go there.
It leaves you with 8 hours of “free” time.
These numbers make it clear why you need a job you are interested in and love to do.
Making money is a hobby that will complement any other hobbies you have, beautifully. ~ Scott Alexander
The 16-hour block of waking time is your budget for having fun and interesting stuff to do.
So, choose carefully!
How good do you want to be at it
Another aspect to consider is that to be any good at anything, you need to spend several thousand hours at it.
However, you can play poker with friends once a month for a few hours and have a great time. You can say you are seriously interested in poker. You might not win any tournaments, but you would choose that activity over other options.
I spend 2 to 3 weeks every year snowboarding.
My time on the board may be somewhere around 50 to 80 hours per year, and snowboarding is my favorite winter activity. If I wanted to get really good at snowboarding, I would need to increase my time on the board tenfold (and accept broken bones now and then).
So, make a choice! What do you want to do for fun every once in a while? Is there something you would like excel at?
I don’t have time for hobbies. At the end of the day, I treat my job as a hobby. It’s something I love doing. ~ David Beckham
Make a list of interests and hobbies
Take some time, 40 minutes to an hour should be enough and create your list of interests. Decide what you want to spend more time on and what you should cross off and mark “someday.”
Start with the list of hobbies you already have and then move to other things that you might want to try. To give you something to start from here is an incomplete list of interest with some examples:
1. Health and fitness
Your health is the most important value you have to preserve. We can prepare for almost any problem we might encounter, as long as we can work on it. When you lose your ability to work and burn through your cash reserves, then you are in trouble. There aren’t many people who can foot the bill for a major health problem without outside help.
To be healthy is pretty simple, just walk 40 minutes every day and body-weight exercises. Moving around and not sitting the whole day are the key.
When you go more extreme, then you might have setbacks that create health problems — running injuries, breaking bones while snowboarding, etc.
- Hiking and camping
- Rock climbing
If you can keep your body running smoothly, then next, you need some food for thought. Read and learn about whatever makes you happy and engaged. But like exercise, it shouldn’t be easy. You have to exert yourself. Mental chewing gum like watching TV will not make you more resilient and resourceful.
- Science, astronomy
- Modern art
Now it’s time for rest. What do you want to do in your free time? With your family, your friends, sometimes alone just to wind off. Of course, there may be entertainment value in your exercise and the topics you learn about, but find something that lets you relax completely.
- Metal music
Here I list some specific goals that I want to improve in myself. But these are not one time things that change every week. Here are some activities I need to keep up for the rest of my life. The skills and attributes you list here should help you get better in many other areas of your life.
- Building willpower
5. Business and career
What do you like about business or your work? Interesting work is one of the most important things in life you can achieve. If you work on something that you want to do and really excites you, then you are far ahead of most people. If your work or business is also your hobby, then you have a much happier life.
- Public speaking
Having a good relationship at home is the foundation of your success. Sometimes you may have problems at home. Relationships take work. Do that work. If you are not into relationship advice, then get into it. Find out how to better understand your spouse and kids. How to create peak moments that you can remember for decades to come. Even if it’s not something you do now. Start doing it, and it’ll grow on you.
- Home improvement
Above is my hobbies list, where I collected some of my most important interests and activities.
You should run your life not by the calendar but how you feel, and what you’re interests are and ambitions. ~ John Glenn
Mix and match
As you can see, you can interconnect various activities.
Willpower is something that enables most other activities. Writing is the skill that helps me achieve the work goals that, in turn, let me focus on the other things I love to do.
But sometimes you may start something completely different that helps you break out from established roles. Take up knitting or yoga or something else that is far away from your current experience. Finding a hobby unrelated to your other activities can help you get out of the rut.
Add something that you have always wanted to do and take one month to learn the basics. It only takes 20 hours to get a feel for a new hobby.
The list should go on and on, but many items on it are just a fleeting interest that may be gone when you revise your interests in a year.
When I was writing this post and going through my list from a year ago, I found many interests that I need to cross off. Yes, these things are really interesting, but I just do not have the time to get anywhere with those. I would rather free the mental slot allocated to that activity and have less clutter in my mind and more time.
Why are you interested in this?
After you have completed your list of interests, take some time to understand the reasons behind them.
You may be interested in chemistry because your father was a chemist. You have been so long in the environment where chemistry is an important topic that now you think it’s your choice.
Your family may run a business where all generations are expected to take part. But is it really something you want to do?
Do you like to travel? Your spouse likes beaches and sun. You love snow and sun. Is traveling to 95F (35C) heat your interest?
- How did I become interested in this?
- Is it something I do out of habit?
- How much time and money does it take?
- Would I miss it if I couldn’t do it for the rest of my life?
- Is there something I would like to do instead of this?
Cycle through all your interests and answer these questions. All interests take time and resources; when you want to do more of something, then you have to give up in other areas.
Always look for ways where you can turn your working time into hobby time. Working on the things that interest and excite, you will improve your life tremendously.
Your goal in this exercise is to maximize the value you get from your time.
I have this problem – I don’t have hobbies. Everything that’s interesting becomes a vocation. ~ Ron Ben-Israel
5 steps to create a list of interests and hobbies
Here’s the whole process in 5 easy steps. Take it slow, 5 days to one week from starting the plan. Time helps you figure out most of the things you want to do.
1. Sit down for 40 to 60 minutes and write a list of everything that comes to mind.
2. Wait for a day or two, come back to your list of hobbies and interests, add any new ideas and tweak the ones you already have.
3. Give it another day, then look at the list of hobbies in Wikipedia and add the ones you missed.
4. After another day, add the “why” to your list.
5. Finally, figure out what you want to do with the time you have.
This is it!
Be sure to have the breaks in the process as your brain can then work in the background and connect the dots you have in your subconscious.
Now, sit down and write your list of interests.
Cover Image: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Rifugio Pomedes 2018 by Priit Kallas
Image: Money by Andrew Magill