How To Get Back Into Something After It’s Been A While

“What do you do outside of work?” One of those surprisingly daunting questions that are somehow sad and stressful at the same time. I’m a big believer in keeping your mind active in areas that may not be your field of work – the intellectual academic and the flamboyant creator in you don’t work against each other – they nurture each other. Maybe you had a passion for sketching in the woods when you were younger. Maybe you used to be a competitive athlete but now spend your days working at a desk job. It’s far too easy to say “I don’t have time for hobbies, work keeps me busy.” Here’s the thing – if we aren’t making time to invest in ourselves, what else is there to make time for? Time to rekindle some of that passion in your responsible, 9-5 adult life – here are some of my favourite tips on how to do it.

  • Don’t expect to be at the level you were at when you left it.

Like most things, easier said than done! Sometimes, simply the act of revisiting the activity triggers a whole load of subconscious memories that may have been pushed aside until now. Out of sheer habit, you’ll expect standards that you were capable of where you left off, but it’s all too easy to be quickly disappointed when you find that you’re a little rusty and aren’t quite there anymore. It hits hard – I know. Be prepared for this and accept it with open arms, and you’ll make the experience a lot more enjoyable for yourself – perhaps in ways you’d never appreciated before.

  • Know why you’re doing it.


Know the main driving force of your motivation. It could be anything – missing the self-sufficiency it gives you, wanting to invest in your hobbies as part of a New Year’s resolution, or simply wanting to fill your time with something you enjoy. Whatever it is, be 100% convinced on it – this will keep you going when you run into challenges or feel tempted to give up.


  • Set yourself goals.


Write down a few short-term and long-term ones. Start small with achievable things, like getting to the next lamp post during your next run without stopping. Ticking these off consistently builds your confidence slowly but surely – the kind of confidence that’s here to stay. Keep your sense of perspective with a few broader, overarching goals that you can come back to every so often and feel inspired by.

  • Little and often.

It’s tempting to go hard all at once, hitting the gym every day and pushing yourself to the max every time. This also means that you’ll burn out much faster. Start slow, and keep this going regularly – consistency is your best friend. When you’re back into the groove of things, build it up gradually and keep at it. This also stops you from falling into that pit of despair when you’re just exhausted and actually doing yourself more harm than good.

  • Go slow.

Look after yourself every step of the way. Now is a great time for self-reflection – ask yourself what you’ve done well, and what you want to improve on. Add those things to your list of goals and keep chipping away at them. Reward yourself when you tick those goals off the list – if it feels half as satisfying as ticking things off my “to-do” list, you’re already a winner.

If anyone’s been taking up any new hobbies or revisited an old one recently, I’d love to hear your stories and how you did it – I do love a good chat. Until next time – you go girl.

– J

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23 Comments on “How To Get Back Into Something After It’s Been A While”

  1. Some really great tips, I know sometimes it can be so frustrating feeling like you’re so far behind compared to where you were when you left off and the trying to push yourself to hard with it. It’s all about moderation. Setting little goals is always a great thing to do, can help so much with breaking down one massive goal!x

  2. These are all great tips! I always struggle to get back into things when I fall off for a while so things like these are great reads. x

  3. It’s funny the amount of times I’ve left something and just assumed that I would get back into it at the exact same level. I think when that happens, it teaches you discipline. I try my hardest to let time go by now. Loved reading these tips – perfect reminders! xx

  4. Great tips thanks. I find with my crafts if I leave a project for a few days or weeks it can take a while to get into the swing of things but that muscle memory and habit soon comes back. Pinning this as a useful reminder!

  5. Ohh this is so strange that I have read this today. I literally, just this morning, re-downloaded the couch to 5k app t o get me back into running. I plan on starting trying to get back into running from tomorrow, so I these tps are greatly appreciated xx

  6. These are great tips! When I went to uni, I stopped playing piano so when I went back to my parent’s I tried to pick it up again, but it was very challenging!

  7. Great tips!! Setting goals is a goodie šŸ™‚ I have done so in the beginning of the year and it’s actually one of my goals to reflect on the goals I’ve set… if this makes any sense šŸ˜€

  8. Arrrgh. This is another reminder to pick up my needlepoint nightmare project. I bit off more than I could chew, and although I have the skill to finish it, Iā€™m not sure I have the patience lol!

    It be HUGE!

  9. Great thoughts. I struggled with this when I ran a half marathon in 2014, took a break for 3 months, and then tried to get back at it at the same level as before! It was a BAD, painful idea!

  10. This is a great Post! I have recently taken up a few hobbies, but go slowly with them, because of my chronic illness and balancing everything else in my life (4 year old daughter, planning a possible cross country move, being an educator). I’m getting back into blogging and reading for pleasure, and have started coloring/drawing and using a planner.

Comments and stories welcome!