Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007 With Your Hobby

While you may think only of weight loss, work, and other seemingly business-related tasks for your New Year’s resolutions, try not to forget your hobby. If you already have a hobby, then you should add some hobby items to your resolution list. There are great ways to encourage yourself (and allow yourself if you are a busy person) to take some time doing something you really enjoy. How do you go about setting resolutions for a hobby?

Your first task, as with setting any hobby or resolution or promise to yourself, is to come up with solid, measurable goals. You do not want to resolve to do 27 things related to your hobby, though it may turn out that you do. Instead you want to come up with something that has a definite measurable effort involved. For example, you may want to spend 8 hours per month working on your model train exhibit, or you may decide that you would like to research and visit six exciting rock-collecting locations this year.

Use numbers when you can because it will help you to know how often you will need to work on your hobby. Plus using numbers allows you to know how much you are investing. If you just endeavor to work more on your model train exhibit, chances are that time will not come. Something else always will get in the way, but if you promise yourself eight glorious hours a month, then you will be more likely to make time for it.

The second key to setting good goals and resolutions is to aim for a specific end result. With that model train exhibit, let us say that your end goal is that you want to show the exhibit at a local fair in October. Your eight hours a month is based on the idea that from January through September, you will be able to complete the exhibit by devoting eight hours a month to it. Your resolutions should include something you want to do or a milestone you want to reach. In my own life, for instance, my goal is to play my flute once this year during the special music session at church. Although I played flute for 10 years, I have not done so in about eight. This year I have decided to pick up the hobby again, so I have set a reasonable goal which will require to spend at least one hour every week practicing.

Keep in mind when you are making a resolution for your hobby that you may be making a fairly short-term resolution this year, especially if your ultimate life goal is to add something enjoyable to your life. This year, your resolution may just get you started on a new love in your life. No one ever woke up and climbed Mt. Everest. The people who make it to the top have worked hard, often for years, training. If you were to do something similar, you may start this year with basic hiking and rock climbing and learning. Perhaps next year you can make it to your first, much smaller, peak and then work your way up.

In returning to my flute revival, I recently developed a strong desire to record a CD of my music. I have no aspirations of becoming a world famous flautist, or even becoming a locally famous one. Instead I want to return to one of my childhood dreams, which was to play in a band. While I will not be in a band, I will be able to experience the joy and excitement of preparing and going into a studio to work on my music.

The final key is to make sure that you do not overdo your plans to work on your hobby. A hobby is supposed to be something you enjoy for its own sake, not something that you work on because you have backed yourself into a corner. Make sure that your resolution for your hobby is something that you can reach and that will challenge you a little but that will not make you resent your hobby by the end of the year. That would defeat the purpose, which is to work on something you love.

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