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If ‘I don’t have time’ was the first thing you heard yourself say when you read the title of this blog post then you need a new hobby! We have time for what we make time for.

Life is meant to be lived joyously. Sure we will suffer downs as well as ups. Without the downs we wouldn’t know the true meaning of happiness. Joy won’t just appear in our lives unless we make it a focal point. This starts by finding ways to fit the things in to our lives that bring us joy.

As kids we had so much time to play. A hobby is really about playing. About having FUN. Doing more things that make you smile to bring more happiness into your life, without even trying.

I started dabbling in Mountain Biking (yep, it deserves capital letters) over 3 years ago. I’d always done a bit of riding for fitness but not on a really cool bike on really cool trails with really cool people. I can say emphatically that Mountain Biking has expanded my mind, in an awesome way. It has taken me to places I never thought I’d go, not just physical places.

When I started Mountain Biking I said I would never race. Way too scary and way too much testosterone (women who mountain bike are a minority, but I’m working on changing that). Not quite sure what got me to the start line of my first race but it wasn’t my last! There are a few people who influenced me to start racing but ultimately I made the decision to step up and face my fears. I’m now in my 3rd season of racing and have entered the Cape to Cape Mountain Bike race, coming up soon, for the 3rd time. I’ve been in a ladies trio team for a 12 hour race from dusk ’till dawn, a duo in a 6 hour race and my most recent achievement, a 6 hour solo race. Now I know that’s not for everyone but I want to share how my mind has grown, from engaging in a new hobby. It really doesn’t matter what the hobby is.

Ways my mind has been expanded.

  1. I had a fixed mindset that I wasn’t a morning person. I used to freak out if I had to set my alarm with a 5 o’clock in it. Not any more. Of course I needed to change a few things, you can read about becoming a morning person here. The number one thing I did was change my thinking. And if I can do it, you can too.
  2. Racing isn’t as scary as it seems. Sure there will always be nerves leading up to the race and on the start line but once the race starts you get into the groove and it is SO MUCH FUN. The feeling of accomplishment at the end is a whole lot of awesome. It’s not all about being in a race, it’s about moving outside your comfort zone.
  3. My physical body is way more capable than I ever thought it was. This has expanded my mind to give me more belief that we really are capable of anything we put our minds to. Our bodies are very clever things once we believe it to be true and surrender to it.
  4. I have learnt that our minds are incredible. We just need to believe (as with our body) and that comes with practice. Doing the things we think we cannot do. I committed to a 6 hour mountain bike race. 6 hours. Riding a bike non-stop. Well, a sort of stop for 10 seconds every 30 minutes to put some food in my pocket to eat on the go. I did the training, had faith in that and won the race.
  5. Really experiencing the beauty of nature has expanded my mind. On a mountain bike it is just me (and sometimes my riding buddy’s) and nature. Kangaroo’s galore, wildflowers, rocks, dirt, sand. Uphills, down hills. My mindfulness has developed. Feeling the air on my skin, noticing the way the flora moves and changes. Observing the fauna. Kangaroos, snakes, lizards, spiders, small birds, birds of prey.
  6. I am more organised. Riding regularly and early in the morning means I have to be prepared. To think about everything I need and get it ready. Otherwise it would be too easy to roll over and go back to sleep. It helps with commitment!
  7. How I start my day is how I live my day. By engaging in my hobby most days (I do have rest days) my days are so much more fun. I sleep better at night. I eat better. I smile more.
  8. Making something I love a priority has a positive outcome. I used to put other things first and I didn’t prioritise doing something that made me happy.
  9. I have learnt that I am capable of leading. Something I didn’t believe before mountain biking entered my life. When the leader of the Ladies Mountain Biking community left town, I took on the role (with some assistance) and was initially super challenged. I faced the fear and more ladies are taking up a new hobby and sharing in their delight is fabulous.
  10. New friendships have been formed and this is what life is about. Relationships and connection.

This list is not exhaustive. I have other hobbies that I am learning to make time for. Some that take only 10 minutes a day. Every one of them expand my mind and engaging in a new hobby will expand yours too.

Some examples of new hobbies to try (or old hobbies can re-enter your life);

  • reading 20 pages a day
  • drawing
  • colouring
  • gardening
  • writing (blogs are great fun)
  • creating – Canva  is a cool online App
  • meditation (more on that, here and here)
  • being in nature

You may be still saying ‘I don’t have time for a hobby’. Now is the perfect moment to schedule some time. Even if it’s once a week. Create a new habit. Schedule, schedule, schedule. If you don’t put it in your diary (if you don’t have a diary it’s time to get a diary or find what works for you, online calendars are a great tool) chance are it won’t happen. Not regularly anyway.

When you do schedule your new hobby into your week AND make it happen, you’ll be amazed at how your mind expands.

‘Change your thoughts and you change your world’ ~ PEALE

Try it for yourself. I’d love you to share your hobby in the comments, below. The ripple effect is an amazing phenomenon; that effect you have on others that you don’t even know about.