Person making objects with clay

Your Result

Boost your sense of creativity and play by cultivating an existing interest

To be happier, consider a habit that will boost your sense of creativity and play by cultivating an existing interest.

Why this aim is likely to make you happier

It can be a challenge to make time for our interests, especially if they don’t feel “productive” or useful, or if we have many other demands on our time and energy. But an atmosphere of growth is a key component of a happy life. We need to feel like we’re being challenged, developing mastery, and learning, teaching, and pursuing our passions.

Making time for our own interests can give us the boost of energy we need to meet our other responsibilities.

Aims you might consider

Spend an hour every week practicing a musical instrument that may currently be collecting dust

Set aside time every week for creative play—you might get your kids or friends involved or protect that time for solo exploration

Join or start a book club on a topic or genre that interests you

Take yourself on weekly artist dates and visit places you find interesting or inspiring

Make it more convenient to engage in that activity regularly by dedicating a space to it

Know Yourself Better

Self-knowledge is an essential aspect of happiness, because we can create a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own values, and our own interests. 

As you consider ways to boost your sense of creativity and play by cultivating an existing interest​​​, ask yourself:

  • What did you do for fun when you were a child? This could reveal a dormant interest you may enjoy reviving.
  • If you haven’t spent time on an interest recently, why? Is it because you don’t feel like you have the time or energy? Do you need to invest in materials or create a dedicated space for it? Or have you simply lost interest?

Consider your Tendency. Learn whether you’re an Obliger, Questioner, Upholder, or Rebel by taking the
free Four Tendencies Quiz.

  • If you’re an Obliger, joining a group or taking a class can offer the outer accountability you need. 
  • If you’re a Questioner, embrace your love of research and information.
  • If you’re an Upholder, schedule time to pursue your interests—if you put creative time on your calendar or book a class, you’re more likely to do it.
  • If you’re a Rebel, if you resist the repetition of practice, consider how developing mastery on a subject or skill supports an identity that’s important to you.

A few notes of caution…

  • Remember, what’s fun for you may not be fun for someone else. While it can be enjoyable to do activities with friends, their interests might not always align with yours. Follow your own enthusiasm.

  • While it’s exciting to try new things and learn new skills, there’s great value in developing mastery in an existing skill. If you tend to hop to new interests quickly, try to find ways to experience that novelty while delving into an interest you already have. Sometimes picking up tools or materials you already have lying around can spark new ideas.

  • If you’re returning to an activity you once practiced regularly, you may feel discouraged by the fact that you’re not as skilled as you once were. Don’t hold yourself to the standards of another time; allow yourself to enjoy it on today’s terms.