Having a hobby makes you happier, but not everyone has found their calling. Or you know your interest but can't seem to keep at it. If a healthy hobby isn't a part of your routine, these sites and apps can help.
The science is pretty clear. People who actively pursue their hobbies have a healthier work-life balance, score higher on happiness tests, and show fewer signs of stress. With these tools, you might find the right strategy to stick to a hobby, a buddy to enjoy it together, or finally figure out the best hobby for you.
1. Hobbitual (Web): Free Video Tutorials to Learn Any Hobby
If you are still deciding which hobby to take up, Hobbitual can help you start. It's a boredom-killing repository of ideas for different types of hobbies and what you'll need to learn to do it.
Hobbitual supports a range of hobby categories like programming, art & craft, fashion, sports, music, health, game & strategy, writing, food, technology, and others. Each has several skills in it, like learning beatboxing or calligraphy. Whichever of the 30 hobby skills or topics you choose, you'll see an estimated time under it.
This is the number of minutes of online videos you need to watch to master that craft. These are all free YouTube videos with a mission to shorten your learning curve. And you can suggest other hobbies if they're not covered already on Hobbitual.
2. Hobby Finder (Web): Discover the Right Hobby for You
Hobby Finder boasts of giving you all the knowledge you need to know about any hobby. For example, if you decide to take up metal detecting, you'll find a couple of videos for beginners to metal detecting, as well as a well-written guide on what you can expect. Hobby Finder also includes articles on the best equipment for the hobby and some fun facts.
There are a few ways you can use Hobby Finder to discover the right hobby for you. You can browse through the four main categories (sports, crafts, adventure, mind) and look through the main options like hiking, learning a language, pottery, and so on.
Or you can use the HobbyFinda Calculator. It's a short quiz that asks you a few questions about your personality and then suggests a list of different hobbies that might best fit your mindset.
Finally, scroll to the bottom of the page for a few categories you won't see in the menu. You'll find options for hobbies women enjoy, hobbies men enjoy, those for over 60s, kids', indoor hobbies, and outdoor hobbies.
3. The Curiously Creative (Web): Beginner's Guides for Creative Hobbies
Given the overwhelming amount of information one gets when you search the internet for a new interest, Curiously Creative tries to simplify it by being a place for beginners to get a concise guide to starting any new creative hobby.
For each hobby or activity, you'll get an article that includes a how-to guide, resources and tools, recommended products, and other relevant information for creative pursuits. The Curiously Creative also sometimes includes weekly exercises to learn a hobby and improve it.
You can sign up for the newsletter to access a free PDF booklet titled 101+ Creative Hobby Ideas. It's an easy-to-read list of different creative hobbies, essential tools for each, and recommended products and resources. Categories include paper crafts, printing hobbies, stationary hobbies, miniature arts & crafts, fashion & beauty, needlecrafts and weaving, and more.
4. HobbyTwin (Android, iOS): Find a Buddy Near You for Any Hobbies
Some hobbies are best done as a group or with friends, be it board gaming or hiking. For that, HobbyTwin wants to help you find hobby buddies near you.
Once you register, the app first asks you to add all your hobbies and choose your current skill level among five stages: starting, beginner, intermediate, advanced, and ninja. Then the app shows your hobby "twins," i.e., people with a similar interest and skill set, arranged by how close they are to you geographically (HobbyTwin needs your location data for this).
You can "follow" matches just like a social network. HobbyTwin also has a news feed to post updates about your hobby. You can also start private chats and group chats if you've found multiple hobby buddies on the app.
If you're higher up in skill level, HobbyTwin will make you a "mentor" for starters and beginners, which lets you help newcomers to a hobby. On the other hand, if you're a starter, you might get paired with a mentor to ease you into it.
While it has all the features you'd want, HobbyTwin still has a small user base so far. So even if you do match up with someone, you might find inactive accounts. That's why even today, MeetUp is probably the best tool to find people with shared interests.
Download: HobbyTwin for Android | iOS (Free)
5. Essential Reads (Web): Guides From Experts on Finding a New Hobby
While websites and apps get you the information you need to start any hobby, there are a few general rules that you need to know about. There are things to watch out for and practical advice to help you in your journey, like developing any good habit.
The New York Times wrote an extensive guide on finding a hobby and keeping it going. The article cites scientific studies and speaks to experts to figure out how to choose the right hobby, and more importantly, how to make time for it. Don't miss the section on the difference between interests and hobbies.
Bustle's '11 foolproof ways to find a hobby' also speaks to experts to get practical tips on figuring out the right hobby for you. From finding a childhood connection to trying something that'll make you forget about your day, your personality should find a fit in one of these different strategies.
At Real Simple, writer Liz Lashway wrote about trying new hobbies for 365 days, from baking to riding a OneWheel, and what she learned from the experience. If you haven't yet found a hobby that works for you, this article is excellent reading about what you can expect as you experiment with different options.
Organize Your Hobby
Hopefully, it doesn't take you long to find a hobby that you enjoy doing. But the key to sticking with it is to organize it. The most common reason people don't stick with their hobby is not that they're lazy, but because there are too many obstacles.
So organize your hobby in a way that's accessible, repeatable, and enjoyable. This can mean scheduling a time for it in your calendar or neatly arranging the tools you need for it so that you can quickly start whenever you're in the mood. Figure out what's blocking your path from not spending time on your hobby, and work to eliminate that.