I like trying different hobbies and activities to see what I enjoy. I do a bit of everything: drawing, music, golf, lacrosse, basketball, reading, writing, running triathlons and marathons, fitness, podcasting, and firefighting. I’ve tried them all to learn more about myself, and I want to get good as quickly as possible.
But sometimes our obsession to be perfect leads us to look at that once fun hobby as a stressful thing we must do. Each day you skip is a day you’re getting worse.
I noticed I was getting caught up in this frenzy.
Whenever I focused on fitness, I set extreme goals like not drinking alcohol for 30 days or cutting out wheat and dairy for six weeks. If my article didn’t get many views, I’d edit it and do more research to increase the views. When I played golf, I’d get upset at every bad shot that made my handicap worse. “Why am I getting worse at something I’ve spent so much time on?!”
I was setting myself up for disappointment.
When you become too rigid in your structure and don’t allow for spontaneity, it loses its fun (the reason you started doing it in the first place).
Challenges should be looked at as fun. They are opportunities to grow; not stressful things we have to check off to reach the next level.
The main reason we stop doing something we love is because we forgot our love of doing it for enjoyment’s sake and replace it with the desire to be good at it.
As I write this, I’m not setting any goals. I’m not even using spellcheck. After a few weeks without writing, it just feels good to sit down and let my fingers flow across the keys.
A friend of mine said he actually made a Twister pinwheel of all his favorite childhood activities. Whenever work is stressing him out or he feels overwhelmed, he spins the wheel. Your pinwheel of hobbies might look totally different than his or mine. Maybe, unwinding for you is going to see a movie at the theatre, cooking a big meal for your friends, or woodworking.
I haven’t gone to the lengths of making a literal pinwheel board, but I love this idea. Remember being a kid and just playing for hours on end? Why did we ever lose that?
Now when I’m stressed out, instead of pushing through it, I grab a pair of basketball shoes and head to the park to shoot hoops for 30 minutes, or I draw a little something in the back of my notebook. I instantly feel like I’m 9 years old without a care in the world.
Do the things that excited you as a kid.
Whatever it is you do for pleasure, go out there and do it for enjoyment’s sake. Not to check a box, not to reach a certain level of competency. Just do the thing and enjoy yourself.
Do it for the love of the game.