Imagine that the new year is a blank slate that you can fill with different experiences and habits to help you live your best life. What do you want to let go of? What do you need to make room for? It’s time to commit to making yourself a priority and finding balance in your daily life. To help you get started on this journey, here are 10 hobbies that will make you healthier and happier in the new year. From yoga and meditation to gardening and cooking, these activities can help you reclaim your health while having fun along the way.
Why Is the New Year a Good Time to Develop a New Habit?
The new year is a great time to take stock of the habits you want to keep and make changes for the better. It’s an opportunity to take advantage of the lull in the winter months and create a new routine that will help you stay healthy, happy, and energized. It’s also a chance to re-evaluate activities you used to enjoy but haven’t had time for recently, since winter is an introspective and receptive time of the year.
But keep in mind that the new year isn’t the only time that works for initiating new habits. If you need a reset after the holidays, you can start a new habit during any other cycle. This includes but isn’t limited to your birthday, at the start of a new season, or at the beginning of a new quarter.
What’s important is to make sure that you’re starting your new healthy habit at a time when you have the energy and space to commit to it.
How to Stick to Your New Habits Through Thick and Thin
It’s exciting to daydream about the possibilities that a new year brings, but it can be challenging to maintain the motivation and commitment necessary to make significant changes. Establishing healthy habits like yoga or running often requires dedication and consistency. Here are some tips for sticking with your new hobbies:
- Start small: Make achievable goals that will push you just enough without overwhelming you.
- Find a friend: Working out with someone helps provide accountability and motivation.
- Celebrate milestones: Acknowledge the progress you make by rewarding yourself with something special.
- Adapt and adjust: If you find that your goals are too ambitious, take a step back and reevaluate your plan of action.
Finally, it’s important to make sure you’re compassionate and patient with yourself if you slip up. Mistakes are part of the process, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re having difficulty meeting your goals. Have a plan for taking care of yourself and staying positive when things get tough. This could look like giving yourself a break, talking to a friend, or taking a walk to change your state and environment.
10 Healthy Hobbies to Try in the New Year
Without further ado, here are 10 healthy hobbies that can help you save money, teach you a new skill, improve your health, or even all three combined!
1. Develop a Meditation Habit
Meditation is a broad term for a variety of practices, including mindfulness. transcendental meditation, and guided meditation. It can be used to help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, or cultivate positive thinking. Plus, it’s free and can be done anywhere; all you need is your breath!
Even though there are several meditative modalities to choose from, none of them are inherently right or wrong, so try out a few variations and decide which one works best for you.
2. Get Calm & Creative with Painting
Paint, unlike drawing materials, is fluid. It quite literally invites you to go with the flow. This is why many artists and hobby painters alike enjoy the flow of creating with paints and the calming effects it has on them.
Painting is also an excellent way to practice mindfulness. Just focus on how the colors mix together, how they feel when you move your brush or palette knife, and how each stroke makes you feel in that very moment—all while letting go of life’s worries.
3. Start a Journaling Practice
One of the easiest and most portable hobbies you can pick up in the new year is journaling. The best part about a journaling practice is that you make the rules. You can use your journal to free-write, doodle in it and turn it into a beautiful bullet journal, or strategize and map out your goals.
Journaling has been known to help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and foster creativity. Plus, it’s a great way to reflect on your progress or document memorable moments throughout the year. At first, it may seem difficult to show up on a blank page and create something meaningful, but with practice and consistency, you’ll be reaping the benefits of journaling in no time.
4. Build Some New Culinary Skills
For many, the new year means cold days and short nights. Cooking and creating new recipes can be a fun and rewarding way to keep cozy during the winter months. Plus, you’ll be able to save money by cooking from home instead of eating out.
You don’t need to become a gourmet chef overnight—start small with simple dishes such as soups, salads, or one-pot meals. You can also learn fundamental food skills such as baking bread in a dutch oven or the ins and outs of working a charcoal grill.
Choose something that interests you, and don’t be afraid to experiment. With a little practice, you may find that cooking is more fun than you initially thought.
5. Work on Your Green Thumb
Learning how to grow plants taps you into the rhythm of nature and gives you a sense of responsibility – taking care of something is rewarding. Plus, if you live in an urban environment, having greenery around can help reduce stress while providing cleaner air.
There are many different ways to get started with gardening, such as container gardening or window sill herb gardens. If you’re a total beginner, you can start with a few potted plants indoors and work your way up to outdoor gardening.
Whatever you decide to grow, tending to it will give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction that’s hard to come by in our day-to-day lives. Plus, your newfound green thumb may even yield some delicious edible treats.
6. Try Homebrewing
There are plenty of ways to make delicious concoctions in your home, from kombucha to beer to wine to honey mead to kefir. This hobby is a bit more hands-off than growing plants, but equally as rewarding.
Brewing your own beverages is an excellent way to recycle kitchen scraps, economize store-bought ingredients, and be creative with new flavors. Plus, it’s great for those who enjoy making something from scratch and becoming part of the process.
7. Learn a New Language (and Plan a Trip)
Learning a new language can not only open up vast opportunities for personal and professional growth, it can also be an engaging hobby.
Think beyond just using language-learning apps and programs—immerse yourself in the culture by watching movies in a foreign language, and subscribing to podcasts that are hosted in that language. Want the ultimate reward for your hard work? Plan a trip to the place where the language is spoken. This will motivate you to learn the language faster and give you an opportunity to practice and anchor your skills.
8. Start a Reading Challenge
Most people have that book (or 20 books) in the corner of the room that they’ve been meaning to pick up but never have the time. Take advantage of the extra hours at home this winter and aim for a reading challenge that’s achievable yet rewarding.
Even giving 5 minutes to each session can add up. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can finish a book and also the amount of knowledge you can gain by reading. If you’re often on the go, trying out audiobooks can be a great way to squeeze some reading time into your day.
9. Plan More Social Activities
It’s always a good idea to connect more with loved ones, and this is a great hobby to work on all year. Setting aside time for social activities such as game nights, movie marathons, or just catching up over coffee can be beneficial for both your mental and physical health.
Socializing has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels while boosting self-esteem and helping us form deeper relationships with others. It also allows us to process and share our emotions, which can improve our overall well-being.
10. Develop a New Physical Skill
The brain-body relationship is both powerful and important. Working out not only keeps us physically fit and healthy, but it can also be a great outlet for stress relief. If you want to mix up the cliche new years recommendation of getting more into the gym, try out a new physical skill.
From dancing to martial arts, there are plenty of activities that can help you stay fit, hone hand-eye coordination, and get your heart rate up. Not to mention the bonus of having fun.
You can see if there are lessons for these new activities in your area, or even join online classes or check out free YouTube videos.
Achieving a goal is an important part of self-improvement. And each year is a new opportunity to challenge yourself and try something different. So, this upcoming year, don’t be afraid to push your boundaries and explore the world of hobbies. Who knows? You may discover a hidden passion for something new!