Your New Hobby: Why You Should Seek Mastery

March 10, 2019 Morgan Meredith

Full participation in a new hobby leads to emotional benefits, and progress toward mastery of a hobby leads to better mental health. Learn more at HealthyPlace.

Most people have hobbies they conditionally participate in, but striving toward full participation in a new hobby can provide a different sense of fulfillment. For many of us, our hobbies have just "ended up" in our lives. We experience them as routine, no longer providing joy. This is, potentially, because we no longer fully participate.

The Lifecycle of a New Hobby

The complete lifecycle of a new hobby where we achieve full participation for a time often looks something like this: We have an interest in something, start to learn about it, think it might be cool to try, get excited meeting others who share the interest, get involved with the community around that activity, become disheartened or embroiled in drama, slowly start attending events less, and eventually the once-new hobby fades to a former interest we might mention in conversation on occasion. Full participation in that new hobby lasted for a short time, and the final result left us disinterested. 

We sometimes may even feel as if our hobbies have been in some way inherited: a parent or an ex enjoyed an activity, so we began learning about it in order to get closer to that person, but we learn that perhaps the hobby in question isn’t really a good fit. 

That’s not a problem. You don’t need to feel pressure to be completely gung-ho about every activity in your life. However, finding a new hobby and fully participating can add that spark back into your day ("How to Have More in Your Life").

Progress Toward Mastery in a New Hobby

For previous hobbies you’ve practiced for a while, you may have reached a plateau where there isn’t much left to learn. For example, I’ve been swing dancing since I was in high school. I’ve had the privilege of dancing in competitions, taking workshops all over the world, and teaching swing dance to children. I could always improve or learn a new dance, certainly, but my strides will be smaller in this area; you could say I’ve reached a certain level of mastery. 

On the way to this mastery, however, I experienced moments of pure joy as I learned new techniques and saw improvement in my dancing style. That learning and sense of progress toward mastery can improve your mental health. Health researcher Mike Slade points out that mastery and the road to it help people with mental illness increase their skills for self-managing mental illness symptoms and treatment.1 

Freshly beginning a new hobby and participating in it fully opens up a new area in which to seek mastery. If you start the hobby at a beginner level, you’ve got plenty of room to make large strides toward your goal, and that perceived progress, in turn, contributes to your overall self-image.


  1. Slade, Mike, "Mental Illness and Well-being: The Central Importance of Positive Psychology and Recovery Approaches". BMC Health Services Research. January 2010.
Tags: new hobby

APA Reference
Meredith, M. (2019, March 10). Your New Hobby: Why You Should Seek Mastery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 20 from

Author: Morgan Meredith

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