I used to hate it when people asked what I did over the weekend. I had no cool hobbies like everyone else, and my idea of a perfect weekend was to lie in bed reading a book or watching movies.
That suited me perfectly for a while. However, as I grew older, I felt like I was missing out on life. I had no friends and nothing interesting was happening in my life.
I felt I had to make a change, and over the years I have managed to develop some hobbies that have helped me experience life a bit more. These days I love traveling, blogging, birding, camping, and photography, among many others. I have at least 20 hobbies that help to keep me sane (see How I Make Time for Multiple Hobbies).
Unlock Your Creative Mastery
You now have a way to attain mastery in your creative hobbies without breaking the bank.
With Domestika Plus, you get access to over 1,000 high-quality courses for only $7.83 a month (or $93.99 a year). You also get:
But there is nothing wrong with having no hobbies. Some people live happy and meaningful lives without hobbies or with very few hobbies.
However, if you feel like having no hobbies makes you unhappy, then you may need to do something about it. Here’s how to tell if you need a change in your life.
If this is you, incorporating a few more hobbies into your life may do the trick. Hobbies can be a great refuge from life’s challenges (such as a soul-draining job or an unhappy relationship) (see Why Are Hobbies Important for more).
In this article, I will explain some common barriers that may make it difficult for you to find hobbies and explore ways that you can overcome them. So, if you are struggling to find a hobby, then this article is for you.
Here are common reasons why you struggle to have hobbies
1. You Don’t See The Need for Hobbies
If you are struggling to muster any enthusiasm for adding hobbies into your life, it is probably because you don’t see the need for them. This could be due to several reasons.
- Your physical and emotional needs are already being met by activities at home or work.
- You are so focused on pursuing a particular goal (such as career success) that you feel that hobbies will be a distraction.
- You find most hobbies to be boring and struggle to generate interest in them.
What to do if you have no desire for hobbies
Here are a few tips that can help you to find motivation to pursue hobbies.
- Understand the benefits that hobbies can bring. Check out my article on Why Hobbies are Important, where I go through 15 life-changing benefits of hobbies.
- Align hobbies with your goals. Hobbies can actually help you achieve your goals much faster. For example, if your goal is career advancement, you can choose hobbies that will give you career-boosting skills or make you more productive.
- Immerse yourself in a hobby to generate interest. For example, to generate interest in drawing, you should surround yourself with art, read art blogs, watch art YouTube videos, and interact with artists in real life.
- Look at inspiring people and works. Have you ever been so moved by a particular song or piece of art that you wish you could create something similar? Or have you met people you have admired because of their skill or talent? If the answer is yes, then you have the beginnings of a potential hobby.
2. You Are Trying to Find a Hobby Without a Strategy
If you are like most people, you are probably trying to find a hobby without a proper strategy. You see someone doing something cool, you get inspired and jump straight in.
The problem with this approach is that you can invest a lot of time and money into hobbies that are unsuitable for you.
Easy strategies to find a hobby
Here are a few strategies you can use to find a hobby.
- Research your hobbies. Don’t jump into hobbies without having an idea of what you are getting into. At a minimum, you need to know the cost, time commitment required and the pros and cons of getting into the hobby.
- Understand yourself. To find a hobby that suits you, you need to be clear about what you want out of life. We often get into hobbies to fulfill needs and desires, some of which we may not be consciously aware of.
- Test drive your hobbies. Try out your hobbies before you jump in fully. If you know people engaging in a hobby you might like, ask to join them for a few weeks. Alternatively, you can join a club. Also, borrow equipment instead of buying.
I have written a detailed article on How to Find a Hobby that You Will Love. In the article, I explore 20+ simple but effective strategies that you can use. If you are struggling to find a hobby, check it out.
3. You Struggle With a Fixed Mindset
The term “fixed mindset” comes from Carol Dweck’s ground-breaking book Mindset, which explores how we think about our abilities and talents.
You can tell that you have a fixed mindset if:
- You believe that you have to be born with an ability or talent for you to be good at it.
- Criticism and negative feedback destroy your motivation for a hobby.
- Other people’s success makes you feel bad about yourself and your abilities.
- Perfectionism stops you from participating in an activity unless you excel at it.
Having a fixed mindset can ruin your ability to start and enjoy hobbies (or anything in life, for that matter).
What to do if you struggle with a fixed mindset
The remedy for a fixed mindset is to adopt a growth mindset. In a growth mindset, you understand that:
- You get better with practice. Start badly knowing that you will suck at most things as a beginner. With deliberate practice, you can get good at anything if you get the right knowledge and work hard to get better.
- You don’t have to be perfect. Don’t let perfectionism kill your enjoyment of an activity. You can still enjoy a hobby even if you are not the best at it. You can aim for excellence without being paralyzed by perfectionism.
- You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. Hobbies are not about proving yourself or judging yourself in comparison to others. This takes the joy and fun out of hobbies (unless you thrive on competition!).
4. You Have No Time for Hobbies
If you are juggling a career with kids or studies, you may feel like you have no time or energy to engage in hobbies.
But if you are honest with yourself, you know that you can find bits of time here and there. That is why you find time to watch TV, scroll on social media, or chat with your friends.
So, a lack of time is actually a lack of motivation. If you truly understand the benefits of hobbies and how they can transform your life, then you will make time for them.
What to do if you have no time for hobbies
Here are a few strategies you can use to find time for your hobbies.
- Do an audit of how you spend your time. You are probably spending a lot of time on activities that don’t benefit you (or may even harm you). A time audit will help you to identify where you can free up blocks of time that you can use to engage in meaningful hobbies.
- Choose a hobby that satisfies multiple needs. If a hobby plays a role in your life, you will be motivated to make time for it. A good trick is to choose hobbies that can fulfill multiple needs at a go. For example, bird watching can help you get fit, socialize, help nature, and make money (see Is Birdwatching the Ultimate Hobby?).
- Use time management hacks. There are plenty of tricks you can use to become more efficient in how you use time. For example, if you have no time for reading, you can listen to audiobooks as you do your chores.
For more strategies, check out my article on 13 strategies that you can use to find time for hobbies.
5. You Have No Money for Hobbies
A 2021 survey by Lending Tree found that 53% of Americans went into debt to start a hobby during the pandemic. Many of the respondents said that they could not afford a hobby.
Money can be a big factor in determining the number and types of hobbies you choose to engage in especially if:
- You have responsibilities at home such as kids or ailing parents.
- Your money is needed elsewhere. For example, you may be servicing a debt.
- Your hobby is expensive. For example, where you need to buy expensive equipment or travel internationally.
Although getting money for hobbies can be a challenge, getting into debt is not a good idea. There are ways you can get into hobbies without risking financial distress.
What to do if you have no money for hobbies
Here are a couple of ideas you can implement if money limits your ability to get a hobby.
- Go for cheap hobbies. There are plenty of hobbies that are either free or very cheap. Examples of these hobbies include reading, walking, writing, running, calisthenics, hiking, and singing.
- Go for a hobby that makes money. For example, if you enjoy traveling, you can start a travel blog and write about your travels (see How to Start a Hobby Blog). With a blog, you can even get other people to sponsor your trips.
- Cut costs. Look for ways you can cut costs related to your hobby. For example, if you are into photography, you can buy your cameras second-hand on Craigslist.
6. You Give Up Quickly In The Face of Challenges
We tend to get into hobbies with a lot of excitement and high expectations. However, once we realize what it would take to keep up with the hobby, we lose motivation.
Here are some reasons that may lead you to quit your hobby.
- You had unrealistic expectations of the time, money, and effort required to engage in the hobby.
- You find out that there are aspects of your hobby you don’t enjoy.
- You get bored when you don’t see much progress.
What you can do to withstand challenges in hobbies
Here are some things you can do if you lose motivation due to challenges.
- Have the right expectation. You can quickly get derailed when you have unrealistic expectations about costs, time commitment, level of enjoyment, or amount of difficulty. Do your research thoroughly so that you can be mentally prepared for the challenges that come with hobbies(see The Disadvantages of Hobbies).
- Focus on the journey. You need to enjoy the process. For example, if you are learning to play the guitar, you should enjoy the process of learning, rather than getting motivated by imagining yourself as an accomplished guitarist. Set process-based goals rather than output-based goals.
- Find your heroes.These could be friends, public figures, or fictional characters in a book or movie. Ideally, you want someone who has overcome the same kind of challenges that you are facing.
7. You Are Struggling With Procrastination
Procrastination is a killer of dreams. You may have the best ideas that can move your life forward, but as long as you give in to procrastination, nothing will change.
Here are some reasons why you procrastinate on starting hobbies.
- You avoid challenges. If a hobby is challenging and requires a lot of time and effort, you may be tempted to do something easier and enjoyable like watching TV.
- You fear failure. You avoid hobbies that have a high chance of failure, especially if the failure is public.
- You got into the hobby for wrong reasons. For example, to please someone or jumped into a bandwagon because of FOMO.
What to do if you are always procrastinating
If you want great ideas for dealing with procrastination, I suggest you read the excellent book Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book has had a huge influence on how I form new habits.
Here are some quick tips to help you deal with your procrastination.
- Look at the root cause. Be honest about why you are procrastinating. It is only when you identify the root cause that you can start to deal with it. Whenever you catch yourself procrastinating, make a list of reasons why you don’t want to start.
- Start small. Take the smallest step you can. For example, if you want to learn French, start by downloading a language app (such as Duolingo) and spend 10 minutes a day learning. This helps with overcoming inertia and helps you to turn a hobby into a habit.
- Start with others. You can start with a friend or you can join groups of other beginners. Starting with others keeps you accountable because you don’t want to disappoint others.
8. You Are Facing Physical Challenges
Physical limitations can hinder you from participating in certain hobbies. For example:
- You are physically disabled or you face mobility challenges due to ill health, obesity, or age.
- Your hobby involves going to places that are not readily accessible to people with disabilities.
- You face difficulties getting someone to help you move around.
However, you can still enjoy hobbies despite physical limitations. In some circumstances, you may even find that your limitations can benefit you.
How do deal with physical challenges in hobbies
Here are some things you can do if you have physical limitations.
- Look for an alternative. There is always something else that you can do. For example, singer Julio Iglesias used to be a professional soccer player with Real Madrid but had to retire after a car accident left him unable to walk for two years. He started singing and went on to sell over 100 million records.
- Get help. If you need someone to help you move around, get someone with the same hobbies as you. For example, if you enjoy art and visiting museums, you might want to get someone who also enjoys art.
- Work around your disabilities. Use technologies that can help you to participate in hobbies despite your disabilities. For example, by taking advantage of speech recognition software, Jon Morrow has made millions from blogging despite being paralyzed from the neck down.
You may also like: How to Start Blogging as a Hobby
If you have physical limitations and need some inspiration, check out this inspiring video (9 minutes) that explains how Jon Morrow made millions of dollars from blogging despite being paralyzed from the neck down.
9. You Are Dealing With Mental Health Issues
Mental issues can make it difficult to pick up and maintain hobbies. Examples of common mental health issues include phobias, depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, ADHD, and bipolar disorders.
Here are examples of how mental health issues can interfere with your ability to find meaningful hobbies.
- You have ADHD and jump from one hobby to another because you quickly get bored quickly.
- You have social anxiety and avoid hobbies that require a lot of interaction with others.
- You are depressed because of a traumatic events(such as the death of a loved one) and you shun many activities because everything seems pointless.
What to do if you are dealing with mental health issues
Going through mental health challenges can allow you to re-invent yourself and come out better. Here are a few things you can do:
- Get professional help. If you have been struggling with unresolved mental issues, you should seek professional help. Some issues are just too difficult to deal with on your own.
- Look for hobbies that help. Some hobbies can help you deal with mental health issues, for example, meditation, birding, walking, journaling, philosophy, and sport.
- Turn it to your advantage. Many people have succeeded in their passions despite struggling with mental health issues. For example, Charles Darwin suffered from severe anxiety attacks for most of his life and dreaded leaving his house. Despite this, he wrote one of the most influential books in history.
10. You Are Dealing With Shame
For some people, having no hobbies can come with a certain degree of shame. For example, you may think that:
- People think you are boring, lazy, or weird because you have no hobbies.
- People feel sorry for you because you don’t have many friends and you don’t have activities to do over the weekend.
- Something is wrong with you because you are not interested in things other people enjoy.
The problem with this kind of shame is that you may feel pressure to get into activities just to fit in. It can also take a toll on your self-confidence.
How to deal with shame
Here are a few tips you can use to deal with the shame of having no hobbies.
- Realize that people don’t think that much about you. You may think that people care about everything you do, but in reality, people are more focused on their own problems. If you are happy in your own skin, people will have no option but to accept you the way you are.
- Give yourself a break. There is nothing wrong with you, you just haven’t found something that suits you. If you put pressure on yourself to get a hobby, the whole process might start to feel stressful and this will hinder your ability to find something you will enjoy.
- Understand that there are no rules regarding the number of hobbies you should have (see How Many Hobbies Should You Have?). You just need enough hobbies to suit your needs and make you happy. That may be zero hobbies or 20 hobbies.
11. You Want to Impress Others
If you desire to impress others, you will pick (or avoid) hobbies based on how you think others will react.
This can lead to bad decisions like:
- Getting into debt so that you can travel to exotic destinations and post on Instagram.
- Getting into expensive hobbies like golf or polo. This comes with additional pressure of spending money you don’t have so that you can fit in with your wealthy friends.
- Getting into dangerous hobbies like motorcycle riding because you think girls will find you attractive.
If you try to impress others, any fulfillment you get from a hobby will be short-term. Also, you may ruin yourself financially, physically, and emotionally.
How to deal with the desire to impress others through hobbies
Here are a few tips to deal with the desire to impress others.
- Analyze your motives. Do you really enjoy the hobby? Would you still engage in the hobby if there was no one else around? Doing things with the sole intention of impressing others will imprison you.
- Count the cost. What impact does this hobby have on your life? If the hobby is more trouble than it is worth, then consider replacing it with something that will suit you better.
- Work on your self-esteem. If you have to get admiration from others to feel good about yourself, it means that you need to do some work on your self-worth. If you don’t work on this, you will keep getting drawn back to doing things to impress others.
12. You Are Afraid of Looking Weird
If you are passionate about a hobby that seems unique, weird, or strange to others, you may hesitate to pursue it because people may criticize you, mock you, or treat you differently.
You may fear being seen as weird if the hobby you want to pick up is:
- Associated with people who are “not cool”. For example, computers and coding were, for a long time, considered “uncool” because they were associated with geeks and nerds.
- Not common in your culture or society. For example, you may love country music, but everyone else you know loves hip-hop.
- Associated with a particular gender. For example, if you are a man, you may be embarrassed to tell your male buddies that you enjoy baking cookies.
Unless something is morally/socially unacceptable, illegal, or dangerous to yourself or others, then you shouldn’t worry too much about what others will think.
What to do if you worry about looking weird
Here are some things you can do if you have niche interests.
- Embrace your inner weirdness. You cannot control what people think. No matter how much you try to blend in, some people will always think you are weird, so you might as well embrace it.
- Understand that people’s opinions change. Many strange hobbies that are now mainstream started out as embarrassing hobbies. Examples of these weird and embarrassing hobbies include noodling, dumpster diving, extreme ironing, air guitar, and cosplay.
- Find your crowd. When you embrace your weirdness, you will attract people who are like you. Also, you can use the internet to connect with people who share your interests. This is especially important if you come from a small town.
13. You Don’t Understand Your Personality
Your personality will influence which types of hobbies you will enjoy. For example
- Extroverts will prefer hobbies that involve doing things with others while introverts will prefer doing hobbies alone or with a small group of friends (see Hobbies for Introverts).
- Highly conscientious people will tend to enjoy hobbies that involve planning and structure, while people that are low in conscientiousness tend to dislike structure and schedules.
- Highly open people tend to gravitate towards creative hobbies while people low in openness will prefer traditional hobbies.
If you don’t like certain hobbies, it could be because they clash with your personality.
What to do if you want to understand your personality
Here are a few things you can do to understand your personality.
- Take a personality test. There are several types of personality tests you can take. The most common are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Big 5, and DISC. The more tests you can take, the better you can understand yourself. My favorite one is the Myers-Briggs. Check sites like Truity for a variety of personality tests.
- Research hobbies that fit your personality type. Personality testing sites will also have information on what kind of careers and hobbies will suit your personality type. This can be a good starting point for exploring hobbies that are best for you.
- Observe people with your personality type. You can observe people around you and try to understand them through their personality type. You should pay particular attention to people with your personality type as this will help you know yourself better.
14. You Can’t Find People Who Share Your Hobbies
If a hobby is not popular in your area, you may find it difficult to find the equipment and facilities needed for your hobby or people to share the hobby with.
This challenge can be particularly troublesome if:
- You live in a small town where options for hobbies are limited.
- You have just moved to a new state or country where your hobby is uncommon.
- Your hobbies are too niche or unique.
What to do if you can’t find people who share your hobbies
If you have unsuccessfully tried looking for people to share your hobbies with, here are some ideas on what you can do.
- You can explore other hobbies. This can be a good opportunity to pick up new hobbies and learn new skills. There is probably a hobby similar to the one you used to enjoy. For example, if you can’t find American football in England, try rugby.
- Do things alone. If you love your hobby, you can do it even if it means doing it alone. It may feel weird at first, but you will get used to it. However, there are hobbies that you cannot do alone (such as some types of sports).
- You can get others interested. If you need a team for your hobby, get your friends or co-workers interested. You will always find adventurous people that want to try new things.
15. Your Beliefs Limit You
We are all products of our environment, and the beliefs of the people around us can impact the decisions we make.
When choosing hobbies, societal, cultural, and religious beliefs can be a strong influence, for example, You may:
- Believe that as a Christian, spending too much time and money on hobbies can lead to neglecting service to God (see Should Christians have hobbies?).
- Believe that some hobbies are for men and others for women. For example, as a man, you may hesitate to get into hobbies like cooking or knitting.
- Fear getting stereotyped. Some hobbies may be associated with certain behaviors. For example, if your body is full of tattoos, people may think you are a gang member.
How to navigate beliefs that may limit you
Here is how you can deal with limiting beliefs.
- Analyze the belief. Some beliefs are not true or they are outdated. Talk to people you respect or people already engaging in the hobby to get different views on the issue. When society frowns on some activities or hobbies, it could be because of past negative experiences(see The Disadvantages of Hobbies).
- Count the costs. Look at the pros and cons of starting a particular hobby. Hobbies are there to enrich your life and not to make it more difficult. If your hobbies lead to social isolation or being looked down on, you should think carefully about whether you want to go down that road.
- Test. You can test to see whether your fears will materialize. For example, if you want to cover yourself with tattoos, you can start with temporary tattoos and see how people react to you before you go and do something permanent.
16. Your Definition of a Hobby Is Too Narrow
You may think you have no hobbies or interests, while in reality, you have quite a few.
This happens when you fail to recognize some of your interests as hobbies because you have unwritten rules of what constitutes a hobby. This causes you to dismiss some hobbies and conclude that you have no hobbies.
For example, you may have rules that say that an activity is not a hobby if:
- You make money from it.
- You do it at work.
- You suck at it.
- You don’t do it regularly.
- You are not super passionate.
- It is not popular with other people.
But what is a hobby? A hobby is an activity that you do for fun. As long as you enjoy it, it is a hobby.
If you have set many rules for yourself, you will struggle to find hobbies (or recognize that you already have a hobby).
What to do if you have a limited definition of a hobby
If you recognize that you have been setting too many rules for yourself, here are a few things you can do.
- Embrace imperfection. You don’t have to be good at something for it to be a hobby. For example, if you enjoy singing but are terrible at it, it is still your hobby.
- Fan the flames. If you have a mild interest in something, go for it. You can develop a passion for something by learning more about it or getting skilled in it.
- Don’t despise mundane hobbies. Common hobbies like reading, watching movies, and listening to music are still hobbies.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about hobbies.
#1. I have no hobbies, interests, or friends, is something wrong with me?
If you don’t have hobbies, you may worry that people will think differently about you. For example, you may be concerned that people will think you:
- Are a boring person.
- Are lazy.
- Don’t have the discipline to stick with something.
- You are a workaholic with no work-life balance.
Such thoughts may lead you to think something is wrong with you, and this could lead to guilt or embarrassment.
Once you start feeling guilty or shame around the topic of hobbies, you can end up shunning any efforts to find meaningful hobbies. Alternatively, you may push yourself to start hobbies you don’t enjoy. But none of these is ideal.
The truth is, there is nothing wrong with you. You just haven’t found something that suits you. Keep searching. If you are struggling to find a hobby or a passion, you can check out my article on How to Find a Hobby You Will Love for some effective strategies.
#2. How many people have no hobbies? Is it normal not to have hobbies?
It is hard to accurately say how many people don’t have hobbies because people’s definition of a hobby will vary.
However, a survey by Ask Your Target Market found that roughly 20% of people have no hobbies, 24% have one hobby, and 56% have multiple hobbies.
As you can see from the survey, it is quite normal not to have hobbies. Many people choose not to have hobbies for various reasons. Others don’t have hobbies because they can’t find something that interests them.
So, if you have no hobbies, you are in good company. With that said, you should try to find something that will bring joy and variety into your life.
#3. What do you say when you have no hobbies?
When you go for a job interview, a date, or a party, someone will inevitably ask you what you do for fun or what hobbies you have. If you have no hobbies, this can be awkward or even embarrassing.
Here are some ideas on what you can say to avoid awkward situations. You can:
- Talk about things you are learning, formally or informally, such as graphic design, coding, or copywriting. This can spark conversation on your motivation for learning.
- List things that you do as part of your responsibilities at work or at home such as cooking, home decoration, or lawn care. You can turn these into hobbies if you change your attitude towards them (see Strategies to Find a Hobby You Will Love).
- Say that you are in the process of looking for a hobby and that you are open to ideas. This can generate interesting ideas that can help you find hobbies and people to do them with.
When people ask about your hobbies, they are either looking for avenues for small talk, or they want to know you better. Saying that you have no hobbies will shut down the conversation.
However, by being creative in how you answer this question, you can open up opportunities that are not so obvious.
#4. How many hobbies should you have?
There is no set number of hobbies that you should have. How many hobbies you end up with will depend on a variety of factors unique to you. For a full discussion on this, see my article on How Many Hobbies Should You Have?
However, if you choose hobbies based on the needs you want satisfied, you can end up with 2-5 hobbies that are essential for needs such as health, relaxation, making money, and socializing.
For example, I do walking for fitness, blogging for making money, birding for relaxation, and eating out for socialization.
There you go. I hope this article has helped you identify barriers that are working against you, and you now have a few ideas on how to overcome them.
Finding something you enjoy will be a journey and but it is definitely worth it. As you have seen, there are many roadblocks working against you, so give yourself a break.
To help you along the journey, here are a few more articles you may enjoy.