“Find out who you are and do it on purpose”- Dolly Parton

It’s that time again! Time for New Year’s resolutions. Did you make a New Year’s resolution? I didn’t. I propose something else. Something less… intimidating. How about a New Year’s New Hobby? Maybe you can even incorporate your hobby into something of a resolution if you’re really feeling the New Year’s spirit. That being said, starting a new hobby can sometimes be daunting or even expensive so here are some general tips for how to get started. 

Hobbies are good for you. Especially if your hobby is something that gets you up and moving, but don’t let that define what you think you would like to try. Engaging in an enjoyable hobby has been shown to lower blood pressure and help relieve stress. If your hobby is creative, it can make new neural pathways in your brain leading to better brain health. In general, people who take time for their hobbies are less likely to feel the blues… unless of course your hobby is singing the blues.

I think the hardest part of starting a new hobby is simply “What do I want to do?” Maybe it comes organically to you; a friend begs you to babysit their dying houseplant and suddenly it perks up under your care. Are you a natural green thumb? Only one way to find out! Suddenly your house is full of plants. What a nice hobby. Sometimes it doesn’t come so easy. Normally I’d just go outside and entertain myself with nature walks or gardening, but that doesn’t always work year-round. It’s cold and dreary outside and I can’t go and do my usual hobbies, so I need something ELSE to entertain me. But what?

With the world of possibilities at your disposal, how do you decide on a new hobby? First, try taking a look at your interests. Are you into music? How does trying to learn to play an instrument sound? Are you into history and food? Try this book and see how many recipes you can prepare. 

You can even try finding something that bounces off of a hobby you already have. For instance, maybe you’ve always been a big outdoor gardener, but you’ve never tried growing anything inside. Ease into it. Start your garden seeds indoors and see how that goes. Do you like camping and hiking? Maybe add fishing or birdwatching or even wild foraging into the mix!

“Hobbies are the keys to unleashing our inner passions and creativity” -Unknown

Something else to consider when starting a new hobby is understanding your lifestyle. Maybe surfing sounds like the best thing ever, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that the waves in Kansas aren’t cool. Maybe surfing isn’t the best idea for a landlocked state. Not that location should stop you, but if your lifestyle can’t support traveling to chase the perfect wave to “get barrelled” by, it might not be the hobby for you. 

Expenses can play a major role in hobbies. As someone who likes painting with watercolor, it’d be pretty expensive to switch over to pastels or acrylic paints. While the general application is the same, those art supplies can add up quickly. With that in mind, it’d be much easier for me to pick up a new hobby like weaving. I already knit and crochet, so the supplies I’d need are minimal in comparison. It’s best to start small. Maybe instead of deciding that you’re going to replace all of your furniture with hand-built woodwork…perhaps try whittling. Then as you gain skill and experience, you can up the ante and purchase more tools and supplies. Then, before you know it, you have a whole woodworking shop in your garage. 

Once you’ve settled on what you want to do, you’ve gotta do it! Making sure you have time for your hobby in this busy life can seem daunting. Is this a hobby you can reliably do on the daily or do you need to schedule time for it? Setting a schedule can also keep you motivated. If you don’t have a lot of time for something, but you still enjoy doing it, then setting a schedule can make sure you have something to look forward to. However, if you just never have time for your new hobby, then buying all those starter supplies could end up being a financial waste. These tips aren’t here to discourage you from anything you might find interesting, but they are something to keep in mind so that a new hobby doesn’t end up discouraging you from continuing.  Here are some events that the library is holding to help take the guesswork out of making time for your hobby. 

For Youth

Legos anyone? There’s a Middle School Lego Club

Have you ever played Minecraft? It’s like digital Legos! The library has a custom server to join and play with other crafters

Do you like Pokemon? Youth and Teens can join Pokemon Club and meet other fans, trade cards, and learn about the game. 

If you enjoy painting, join us for Paint and Munch where you can meet other artsy people and have some snacks while you’re at it. 

And that’s just the kids stuff. I encourage you to take a look at our adult calendar and see what strikes your fancy. There’s so many to choose from. Our calendar is absolutely jam-packed full of events for every hobby imaginable. We have numerous craft events with our craft collective and take and make projects, anime club, writers group, yoga…it would take pages and pages to list them all and we’re always coming out with more every quarter. You’ll definitely run into other hobbyists at these events which brings me to my last tip.

My last nugget of advice: find a community for your new hobby. Not only are other people who share your hobby great to talk to, you can swap ideas and show off what you’re doing. Other people are also a great source of inspiration and with various levels of skill, you can learn from the masters until you’re skilled enough to apprentice someone yourself. Even if it’s just an online community, having friends who share your hobby enriches the experience and keeps you motivated.

I hope I’ve inspired you to take a dive into a new hobby. Even if you don’t stick with it, it’s always fun to learn a new skill. Happy Hobbying!