Updated: Nov 23, 2020
After graduating from college, I felt a nagging sense of aimlessness whenever I had free time.
After work, I sometimes went to the gym, played the piano for awhile, or met up with friends, but most of my days ended with a realization that I pretty much watched YouTube videos, looked at Instagram, and played board games online all evening.
At the end of most days, I felt a lot of regret about how I spent my free time. Before going to bed, I usually told myself that I would do more tomorrow. But you probably know the ending to that story already. The cycle repeated itself.
Even on days when I felt motivated to do something productive with my free time, I often felt aimless about what to do. After a few years of this, I realized that my problem was singular and simple: I didn’t have any hobbies. On top of that, I didn’t really know how to find a hobby. So this year, I decided to try an experiment.
I called it MY NEXT THING.
I created 3 simple rules.
Do it most days for a month.
On January 1st, 2020, I chose my first THING: Yoga. I had always been intimidated by yoga as someone who has never been able to touch his toes, but I started doing it as my THING nonetheless. Some days I did yoga for 10 minutes. Other days I did it for an hour. A few days I didn’t do it at all. At the end of the month, I chose something new and repeated the process. Looking back, that simple pattern has completely changed my life.
In the first 6 months of My Next Thing, I spent my free time doing one new THING per month. In that time, I did 25 hours of yoga, read 28 books, did 7,900 push ups, learned how to meditate, designed a website, and ran 37 miles.
To be honest, I feel incredible about those accomplishments. But those are all secondary to my primary goal of repurposing my free time, and in that way My Next Thing has been a huge success. In just a few months, I went from feeling aimless and guilty during my free time to feeling excited and purposeful about it. This will sound like a sentence from a self-improvement book, but the only change I made in my life that led to a complete transformation of my free time was following the three rules behind My Next Thing. Let me break them down.