Why Can’t I Stick To One Hobby? The Science Behind It

Hobbies are meant to be fun activities that add to the enjoyment of our daily hustle. While some people seem able to choose multiple hobbies and stick with them at the same time, others find it challenging to tackle only one. If you fall into the latter bucket, you should know there’s a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation for this. For some of us, it’s nearly impossible to ride it out with one hobby either due to the chosen hobby or even something closer to how our minds are wired.

Some people struggle to stick to one hobby because of mental health challenges. Depression can cause some sufferers to lose interest in their pursuits. Those with ADHD may hobby jump in search of a dopamine fix. The solution may be to find low-commitment hobbies that can be done sporadically. 

If you’re a hobby jumper, the type of person who skips from one hobby to the next while spending a fortune on the equipment for each new hobby you feel will be “the one…” you’ve probably wondered why this always seems to happen to you. More importantly, how you can overcome this pricey pattern? Well, keep reading as we uncover a few reasons for this phenomenon and what you can do about it. 


Hobbies, by definition, are something you do regularly that bring you enjoyment. So, is it normal to jump from one to the other in search of one that will stick?

Jumping from hobby to hobby is normal if a person has not yet found a hobby that matches their character well. They may have various interests or require a set of hobbies to rotate to avoid boredom. For some, the act of trying multiple hobbies can be a hobby itself. 

In some ways, jumping from hobby to hobby can be quite normal for many people. While others may scoff at the idea of all the wasted money, equipment, and time, others see the method in the supposed madness. A survey from 2022 found that 56% of people have multiple hobbies. 24% said they have one, and 20% said they don’t have one at all. 

For those who hobby jump, the joy is sometimes in the dabble. Perhaps your hobby is not sewing, guitar-playing, painting, or rock climbing. It could be trying out new things. That’s certainly been something we here at New Hobby Box support – we get a big thrill in trying new things. If your overriding reason for jumping between hobbies is to explore what’s out there, try out new things, and learn as much as possible, your hobby may be one we completely get – it’s a hobby of trying new things.

If you’re a hobby jumper but wish you weren’t, you more or less just want a few hobbies to stick with, then consider choosing a few hobbies that check the following boxes:

  • Don’t require you to keep something alive.
  • You can pick it up and leave whenever you like.
  • Can withstand sporadic commitment.
  • Don’t need large sums of money to function. 

Here’s why: for a hobby jumper, keeping tropical fish may be a no-no. But playing the guitar might work. So rather than rehoming the fish which requires a ton of work to make sure they end up in a good place, if you decide to put down the guitar after learning a couple of songs, and then pick it up months later, there are very few downsides to this.

For hobby jumping, if you’re on a mission to find one that stays with you, it’s all about finding a few good fits for you and allowing yourself the freedom to rotate them as you feel like it. Be sure to align your hobbies with your lifelong interests to make them stick. 

There are so many hobbies out there to explore. It’s common to have changing interests as an adult too. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, where you’re switching hobbies but want to find one to stick with, be sure to read our informative article on how to find a hobby as an adult.

On the other end, after some serious soul-searching you still can’t find a hobby that speaks to you, then there may be something else going on. Some might find that switching hobbies is the result of complete overall disinterest, withdrawal from things that use to spark joy, and even new feelings of insecurity that a hobby requires as it pulls you from a comfort zone.

These reasons carry far more gravity, but in each case, overcoming the barrier begins with fighting the urge to leave the next hobby as quickly as you left prior hobbies. Try to stick it out a little longer and notice what happens. You may surprise yourself with the results. Make notes of your progress and reward yourself when you achieve specific goals. Forcing yourself to see something through longer than you care to can often be enough to override the ailment.

Don’t be discouraged by this either. Jumping from hobby to hobby is expected as people grow and change, Deakin University details how this is an incredibly normal part of aging. You can’t possibly be expected to enjoy doing the same things you loved as a child or teenager. What may have brought you joy in your early twenties might not cut it for you in your forties, and so on. As you change, grow, and evolve, jumping from hobby to hobby is normal. Be sure to not lose sight of that and extend yourself some grace in the process.

If you are looking for a little hobby inspiration, why not take a cue from others? Statista surveyed the United States and came back with the following most popular hobbies for 2022:

  • Cooking and baking: 38%
  • Reading: 36%
  • Pets: 33%
  • Video gaming: 31%
  • Outdoor activities: 30%
  • Traveling: 27%
  • DIY, arts, and crafts: 26%
  • Gardening and plants: 24%
  • Board games and card games: 23%

And we’re not short of hobby ideas around here either. Be sure to check out our list of hobbies for senior adults as well.


Obsessive Hobby Disorder is that feeling you get when your hobby starts to override everything else. Some describe it as starting innocent enough but quickly consuming free time, resources, and conversations. Here’s the technical definition of Obsessive Hobby Disorder:

Obsessive Hobby Disorder is when a hobby begins to take over the user’s life. Instead of being something to enjoy during downtime, it becomes something that consumes a person’s time and resources. Compulsions may lead someone with OHD to research, work, or communicate excessively about their hobby. 

In the link above, the author “Seven” describes some of their OHD activities such as – researching interests online ad nauseum, in library books, and through societies. This was all before the author realized he had an obsessive nature with his hobbies. Before this insight, he would find ways to discuss his interests with people at any opportunity. This ultimately created friction with loved ones and acquaintances.

Simply put, Obsessive Hobby Disorder is when your hobby goes from being a keen interest to something that takes over your time, energy, financial resources, and thoughts. 

You could be obsessed if you find yourself participating in any aspect of your hobby instead of performing other essential tasks. Obsession is not to be mistaken for determination, however. Feeling determined to complete a practice session or element of your hobby before doing something else does not constitute obsession. Rather, it’s where you think about it even when you don’t want to, and the only thing that removes the annoyance of thinking about it is the compulsion of discussing it or learning more about it. It’s a classic case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

As you would treat any form of obsessions and compulsions, Obsessive Hobby Disorder can be helped with therapy. Make an effort to keep the passion for your hobbies alive while learning to interact with and about them in a way others will also appreciate. 

There are certainly healthy ways to approach hobbies though – after all, hobbies are activities we enjoy. If you find yourself hyper-fixating on one, your brain has found something it can focus on but can distance itself from. To the point of impairment, if you fixate on something constantly for a payoff, this can be detrimental.

Why Do I Hyper-Fixate On Hobbies?

For most, hyper-fixation occurs because the brain is receiving a stimulus from the activity. The hobby could be providing an escape, a dopamine hit, or a sense of achievement for the user. The payoff keeps them coming back and can cause a reliance on the hobby. 

Your payoff may be a sense of achievement, a dopamine hit, or the distraction the hobby provides. Many people who have ADHD tend to hyper-fixate on hobbies. Where a non-ADHDer may show a general interest in something, an ADHD person will become almost or entirely obsessed with it. 

The hobby may take up all your spare time, energy, and resources, resulting in lapses in healthy behavior like sleeping and eating. It can certainly be debilitating, as someone who manages this daily, without clear awareness the consequences can be severe.

There is one silver lining though – having ADHD and hyper-fixating on hobbies typically only lasts a short time. Once the novelty of the pursuit begins to wear off, the fixation will too. And a close process to hyper fixation is hyperfocus. Just as many ADHDers find themselves hyper-fixating on hobbies for a short while, they may also find themselves hyper-focusing on the tasks within the hobby if they are interesting enough. 

It’s believed that what causes hyperfocus is a dopamine deficiency that makes it difficult for people with ADHD to change between tasks. This is why those who suffer from ADHD would rather spend hours performing one task with all their intent. Hyper fixation is a similar phenomenon.

While the hobby remains exciting and the dopamine reward remains high, staying intently focused and fixated on the hobby is fun. So, you pour yourself into it and allow it to take over your world for a while. 


Research shows that having a hobby is good for you, as it can raise your overall mood and outlook, increases communication skills, and decrease stress levels. There are many positive effects of engaging in a hobby. You might be wondering though, if having a hobby is good for you, why do you lose interest in it and other things so quickly? The answer is complex to say the least. 

People lose interest in things quickly for various reasons. Reasons can include depression, ADHD, or a lack of internal motivation. It could be that the person did not consider why they began the activity in the first place, or what their end goal is. Perhaps they have lost inspiration. 

Let’s look at a few possible reasons why you could be losing interest in things fast. 

Depression Can Easily Lead to a Lack of Interest

For some, losing interest in a hobby could be a symptom of depression. If you’re losing interest in your hobbies and many other areas of your life, consider whether or not you could be depressed. The term for losing interest in everything is anhedonia. This is a severe condition and worth speaking to your doctor about.

You May Have ADHD

Another reason you might lose interest in things quickly could be that you have ADHD. Many adults have undiagnosed attention deficits. Those with ADHD often mention the difficulties of sticking with one hobby and the guilt and shame that come with jumping from one to the next. 

For those with ADHD, the issue comes with the need for a dopamine fix. People with ADHD have lower dopamine levels in the brain than those with a non-ADHD brain. This makes them more likely to seek dopamine fixes than those without ADHD. 

When you begin a new hobby, the excitement and intrigue bring on a rush of dopamine. As you learn more about the hobby and the novelty wears off, so does the dopamine. That’s typically when someone with ADHD drops a hobby and hops to the next. There are many other symptoms of ADHD. But if this is something you’ve noticed, it’s another good reason to speak with your physician.

It’s Not You, It’s the Hobby

If you start something and feel interested in it initially, but your interest soon drops off, maybe you weren’t as into it as you thought. From the outside, the hobby or other thing looked different from when you engaged with it more intensely. If it isn’t for you, move on without shame. It’s never a waste to learn.

Other Reasons for Losing Interest in Hobbies Quickly

There are many other reasons you may lose interest in things quickly. Let’s look at a few:

  • You realize they’re too far out of your comfort zone.
  • You have a fear of failure.
  • You lose sight of why you began.
  • You lack intrinsic motivation.
  • The payoff is too far in the distance; you want instant gratification. 
  • You need help to make a habit of practicing or doing it. 
  • Your life is too busy to fit it in.
  • It is not easy and accessible to do it. 
  • You need better time management.
  • Your end goal is too large or far away.
  • You expect it to be fun all the time. 
  • You are a perfectionist, and it is uncomfortable to fail in small ways as you learn. 


It can be exasperating to notice that you are, once again, losing interest in the hobby or craze that you felt was “the one.” To overcome this phenomenon and try to stick the next one out, try one or a few of these handy ideas.

  1. Motive: First, have a clear notion of why you want to do it. Your reason should also give you a reasonable end goal to keep in mind as you take your smaller steps. Ensure that your goals and expectations for the hobby are realistic. Never climbed before? Maybe Everest can wait until you’ve scaled a few smaller mountains first. 
  2. Plan: Schedule your activity into your weeks and days. Make it a non-negotiable appointment and get a support system. Your support system can be a hobby friend, gym buddy, or anyone who can hold you accountable. 
  3. Inspiration: Look for inspiration as you keep up with the thing you have chosen to do. Keep a Pinterest board, vision board, or whatever method you enjoy to keep your inspiration high. Force yourself to do the work, even when it gets tricky. Embrace your every win and reward yourself along the way. 
  4. Spice It Up: When things start looking a little dull, find new ways to enjoy your hobby. Most activities are multi-faceted, and you will likely enjoy them in various ways. So, you’ve learned all the kata in your Karate grade. How about researching the history of Karate and secretly trying out a few breathing techniques in your next class? 

There may be skills to be learned within your hobby. Just like the skill of breathwork within Karate, you can find other skills within your hobby. Read this informative article to learn more about the differences between hobbies and skills. 


As you work toward becoming accomplished in your hobby, you need to understand your reasons for not wanting to stick with it. Take note of our valuable advice here, and you will be rewarded with enjoyment, fulfillment, and skills to boast about at your next social gathering. 


Hey - I'm Steve, co-founder of New Hobby Box, and hobby enthusiast. A few years back, I felt like I was getting dull when it came to learning new things. That's why I was part of the original crew who set out to challenge ourselves to learn new things. We liked it so much that we decided to take our challenge public - and that's what ultimately started New Hobby Box. I love going against the status quo when it comes to hobbies, I've tried so many things that I would never have thought to do, that ultimately became part of my life. You'll find quite a few of my hobby experiences throughout the site. Happy Hobbying!

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