Finding balance in life is fundamental to contentment. In order to be happy, we need to be productive, social, spiritual, share love and have fun developing an interest or hobby.
Let’s look at how you can go about finding a hobby that will help you to achieve a healthy balance in your life.
Consider the following six dimensions for choosing a hobby.
Some hobbies are much more expensive than others. International travel, for instance, is much more expensive than running. Some hobbies, like raising purebred animals, can actually generate more money than they cost. Be warned, however, that if you choose a hobby for its potential to generate a profit, you may simply be signing up for a miserable part-time job that will leave you more unbalanced than when you began.
Many interests that can be considered hobbies like running, cycling, softball, etc. provide significant health benefits. Others, like collecting coins or stamps, are health neutral. Some, like wine tasting, cigar smoking and cooking can be risky for your health, especially when pursued in excess.
Some hobbies can be practiced in fleeting moments or not at all for days or weeks at a time. Others, like running, demand consistency or you lose the ability to engage in that activity. Some hobbies, like golf and fishing, are often set aside for entire seasons, but require significant amounts of time during the season. You want to think about a hobby that fits your schedule.
Some hobbies can be developed with your spouse and children — at least some of the time. Nothing seems more heart-warming to me than seeing an entire family out for a bike ride, with the tiniest members of the family riding behind their parents on seats or in trailers. If mom is a competitive cyclist, such a ride won’t serve as a training ride, but will be lots of fun for everyone. Young children may not have the patience for being as serious about your collection of coins as you are, but you might be able to help them start a collection of their own and learn how to identify valuable coins.
One potential benefit of a hobby is expanding your social circle to enjoy your hobby with old and new friends. You may want to first consider hobbies that your existing friends pursue. If their hobbies don’t really interest you, don’t force it. Find a hobby you enjoy and welcome new friends into your circle.
For most people, maintaining some sort of spiritual connection to the divine is part of maintaining a healthy balance in life. There are many hobbies that can be connected (at least socially) to your faith community. Some hobbies, like reading spiritual texts, can be a central part of your spiritual life.
In this day and age of technological connectedness, most people do not feel a lack of things to do, but this could be the problem. A life pulled out of balance by technology may not be a happy life. By making time to develop a hobby, you can improve the balance in your life and be happier as a result.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.