What Is a Hobby?

A hobby is an activity that you do in your spare time for enjoyment and not as a means of income. Hobbies can include things like reading, playing sports, painting, crafting, or collecting items. They can be casual where you do them occasionally or they can be serious where you are dedicated to developing a skill or improving your ability. Hobbies can also be social where you enjoy doing them with others or as a way to relax.

Your hobbies should be fun and reliably relaxing, but they also need to be unique to you. Personality assessments like the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator can help you figure out what hobbies will be the best fit for your natural strengths, interests, and personality.

Hobbies often lead to a passion that becomes more than just something you do in your spare time, it is who you are. For example, if you love to watch stand-up comedy but aren’t sure how you could turn it into a career, try taking an improv class or starting your own podcast. Or, if you have a natural appreciation for nature, try taking a class on bird-watching or wildlife photography.

Hobbies often provide a sense of purpose, as they may involve goal-setting and progress-tracking. Even something as simple as jogging can teach you both hard skills (like pacing your breathing) and soft skills (like self-care). Hobbies are also an excellent way to make new friends and connect with people who share the same passions or interests as you.