I want to talk about a piece of advice that I see EVERYWHERE, often given as the first step to dating effectively:

“Just try new things and then keep doing the ones you like!”

Isn’t it frustrating when someone gives you that advice, but leaves you to figure out how to actually use it?  You can probably think of a few things you’d be willing to try out as new hobbies, but the hard part is the part they don’t describe.

I’m going to show you a quick plan for how to pick up a new social activity.  Social hobbies where you learn something and improve at it over time, with other like-minded people, can be by FAR one of the most rewarding uses of your time.

But after that, I’m going to go a step further to tell you something I almost never hear going along with this advice: that it often takes persistence and perseverance to keep a new interest going.

First things first, here are some ideas to try out:

  • Social or ballroom partner dancing
  • Dungeons and Dragons-style group quest games (if you can find/make a group)
  • Tabletop board games group, or playing cards
  • Playing musical instruments and learning songs with a group
  • Acro Yoga
  • Painting class (ongoing)
  • Rock climbing (I recommend trying it at a gym that exclusively has rock walls)
  • Book club
  • Indoor soccer team (some centers even let you join a team that needs players)
  • Chess club
  • Hiking or cycling group
  • Volunteering (dog shelter, food kitchen, events staff, etc.)

There are a thousand things you could try.  Of course, some activities require money or a special place (like a gym or ballroom), and others don’t.

Some are athletic, others are intellectual.

It’s up to you to decide what you’re looking for in this respect.  No one knows you better than you. 🙂

Believe me, this does tie into improving how you connect with women you like.  Lots of these activities are great places to meet new women.  

But it’s more about making an effort to regularly build social, purposeful plans into your schedule.   It’ll give you a lot to talk about when someone asks you, “what do you like to do?”

It’s also awesome to have a relaxed environment with something else to focus on besides one-on-one conversation with people.

Next, break it down into small steps – How can you start one new hobby?

If you’re having trouble getting motivated to do this and you seem to keep putting it off, try to find  the smallest steps to move forward.  Let’s take the example of volunteering at a food kitchen:

Step 1: Research online for a few organizations to work with in your city, and write them down.

Step 2: Choose one to try out.

Step 3: Set a date in your calendar to attend ONE day to serve food, or get in contact with the organizers to find a date.

Step 4: Actually go to the event.  Your only real goal is to show up and do what’s asked of you.  Bonus points if you strike up conversations with a couple of people!

Take your time if you need to.  You can even do one step per day, as long as you keep moving forward.  Promise yourself you’ll see it through to actual participation in the thing!

Another helpful tip is to try and get a friend or partner involved.  That way, you’ll be less likely to back out of the activity because someone else is going with you (and they can share the experience with you on the off chance that it doesn’t go well).

Finally, being persistent – THIS STEP IS KEY

This is where I want to address the part of this advice that bothers me the most:

“Keep doing the things you decide you like.”

I have several hobbies that I absolutely love, and I look forward to doing them every week or two.  But here’s the thing –  I didn’t really enjoy them until I got better at the skills involved.

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The mental struggle is real…

For me, this was learning to partner dance (swing, salsa, etc.).   When I first started lessons at a local dance hall, I was terrible.  I was nervous and I had to work up the motivation to go every single time.

It took me about 3 months to feel confident with my first dance, East Coast Swing.  Until then, I was basically deluding myself on purpose into believing that I was enjoying it.

Parts of it really were fun… like meeting new people, or laughing about my goofy moves with a friendly partner.  Other aspects just gave me anxiety and wore me out mentally.

At long last, I realized I hit a tipping point and began to totally love doing it!  If I hadn’t persisted and stuck with dancing, I would have never become the dancer I am today.

I find that this is the case with most skill-based social hobbies, but it can be just as difficult to get into something because it involves meeting up with unfamiliar people over and over again.

So the question at this point is, how do you decide if you want to keep doing this new thing?

Let’s reframe and think about some other aspects of your experience, other than whether you “liked” it or not:

  • Were the people there the types of people you want to spend more time around?
  • Did you feel some respect or admiration for the people who already appeared to be skilled at this thing?
    • Could you see yourself getting to that point with practice?  Would you want to?
  • Could you gain some cool benefits by doing this thing regularly, like a new kind of strength, knowledge, or skill?

If after reflecting on this you still don’t feel interested in pursuing your chosen activity, go ahead and move on to something else.  I think it’s important to go deeper than just whether you enjoyed yourself the first time.

And chances are, the rewards will feel that much sweeter after you’ve overcome some challenges to get them.

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If you used this advice to finally try something you’ve always wanted to, or you discovered something new that has potential in your life – I want to hear about it!

Let me know in a comment if you had a little victory today.

Cheers!