5 Great hobbies for the new year

It’s like a yearly ritual: resolutions. Promises made, and, all too often, promises broken. But this year, instead of proclaiming a resolution you’re not likely to keep, how about picking up a new hobby? There are plenty of activities out there likely to create a very positive impact in the life of anyone, young or old.

1. Start Exercising

It can be hard to start exercising regularly if you’re not used to it. But once you get in the habit, you might be surprised by how much fun it is. There are plenty of choices, too. There are leagues for every variety of sport, operating at intense, competitive levels and as casual recreational get-togethers. You also have group-type exercises such as yoga and pilates. And if nothing else you can just go for long walks. Exercise does wonders for the cardiovascular system and hormone levels, which is why they so frequently make us feel so good. Just be sure to guard against injuries and personal safety!

2. Learn a Language

It’s a mighty big world with an awful lot of people, and a great many ways of communicating. Now it’s true that language courses are a standard requirement in high school, but chances are that no one asked your opinion on what to learn or how to learn it. But try looking at it in a different way. View it as a way of learning a new culture. Imagine reading a classical Chinese novel in the original Chinese, or watching Japanese movies without subtitles, or listening to Italian pop music. Anything is possible, and there are loads of resources online to get you started, while it won’t be hard to find folks to help you practice. And because you’re only making the effort out of personal interest, you might end up having lots of fun, and wind up with a useful skill to boot!

3. Reading

This is another aspect of schooling that has become a chore to many people. But there are so many kinds of books out there, it should be possible to find something that genuinely grabs you. The goal is to get into the habit of reading regularly. It’s good for your brain, and it’s wonderful to find the time to just be peaceful for a few hours while you explore new realms by way of the printed word. You could even join a book club and make it a social event. And thanks to your local library, it doesn’t have to cost a penny!

4. Do something creative

Painting. Sketching. Writing. Performance. Dance. Composition. Animation. Filmmaking. There are just so many ways to express yourself. Don’t worry about trying to be some kind of creative genius, just experiment. It doesn’t require big-money investment in a pile of equipment or art supplies — start small, just tinker with it. Make a short video, learn a few chords on a guitar, jot down some sketches on a pad. Try different things. You never know, it might spark a fire in your heart! Being creative can be a great way to explore your feelings and your thoughts; in other words it’s a great way to get to know yourself. And who knows, maybe you really are incredibly talented!

5. Build an online persona

We all spend a lot of time online nowadays, but how much thought goes into the average post? The truth is, when you apply for a job, or even a college (who are we kidding, when you make friends too), you are likely to be searched online. Try searching yourself. What do you find? Are you pleased with the results? Would a potential employer get a positive impression of you by clicking on all those links? Well guess what, you have some control over those search results. The key is to put content online that will show up in a search of your name. Start a blog, create an image gallery, and of course there are social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram. Make it a long-term project to shape an awesome personal online brand that everyone will think is awesome. Along the way you’ll learn all about digital marketing, which is definitely a useful skill!

These are just a few of countless potential hobbies that are available to someone looking for a worthwhile spare-time activity. One thing that’s very much worth noting: lists of hobbies are often very similar to lists of ways to reduce stress. That’s right, having a hobby can reduce your stress levels. Yet another reason to consider a hobby! So give it some thought.