ADHD Hobbies

ADHD Hobbies

Having a hobby is usually easy for neurotypical people. They choose an activity and tend to stick with it for a decent amount of time. However, for adults with ADHD, finding a lasting hobby can be challenging and frustrating. When every new pursuit quickly loses its appeal, it's discouraging. But with a slight mindset shift, adults with ADHD can break free from this cycle. Let me show you how.

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Written by

Lisa Batten

PhD in Psychology

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The Never Ending Cycle Of ADHD Hobbies 

Hobbies are activities that people engage in for leisure, allowing them to relax, unwind, and alleviate stress. For neurotypical individuals, choosing an interest to try is often a straightforward process. They can select something that interests them, engage in it consistently, and usually become good at it. ✅

However, for individuals with ADHD, these interests serve an essential purpose—it can help manage their symptoms. It provides an outlet for excess energy, improves focus and concentration, and promotes a sense of calm and relaxation. 

Yet, maintaining a hobby can be a different story for those of us with an ADHD diagnosis. We tend to grow bored quickly and struggle to sustain interest in one activity for an extended period. 🥱

People with ADHD often find themselves caught in an ongoing cycle when it comes to hobbies. This cycle involves discovering new interests, progressing, growing bored, and starting anew.

Sound familiar? If so, you’re in the right place. Let's unpack why and how this can happen. 👇

Oops… I Lost Interest (Again)

Due to my ADHD symptoms, I often lose interest when trying new things. I can become instantly captivated by things I see on YouTube, leading me to want to try them immediately. The impulsivity I experience during these moments can be overwhelming, even though I know I will most likely be bored of it within a few days. 😬

Like many others, I struggle to find a permanent hobby that I can stick with for the long term. It's disheartening when I misplace or lose interest in things, ultimately causing me to quit. While having specific interests is generally beneficial for adults with ADHD, it can sometimes become a source of stress for me. 😣

Before I received my ADHD diagnosis, I had difficulty finding and maintaining activities that truly sparked my passion. I attempted martial arts, but the progress was slow and didn’t fit my schedule, so I eventually stopped. 🥱

I tried various other things, only to encounter similar outcomes within days of trying them. For instance, I started writing stories but ended up doodling most of the time instead. That's when I got interested in learning about creating simple illustrations. ✏️ However, I didn't have the necessary resources, so I stopped doing it for a while.

It was this frustrating inability to ‘stick’ at anything that eventually led me to talk to a professional and seek treatment for my mental health. At 29, I was officially diagnosed with adult ADHD. When I realized that this ADHD symptom could impact my life decisions, including chosen career paths, interests, and even romantic relationships, it all clicked into place. 💡

From that day forward, my diagnosis motivated me to raise awareness about ADHD and post about how its symptoms can impact a person like myself. As a result, The Mini ADHD Coach was born - and luckily, it's something I've been able to stick with for a long time and continue to enjoy writing about! ❣️

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The Life Cycle Of A New Hobby

New interests can be tough for people with ADHD. Many of us will try one thing and then quickly abandon it for something new. The outcome is usually the same, whether learning new musical instruments, exploring photography, engaging in art, or binge-reading books.

Here's a breakdown of the typical life cycle of interest when it comes to hobbies and ADHD. 👇


The initial stage of developing a hobby in an ADHD brain is driven by curiosity. It occurs when an initial idea 💡suddenly captures our interest and sparks curiosity. During this phase, we gather information about the specific interest, whether it's through binge-reading a website, reading Instagram posts, watching videos, or listening to podcasts. 

This curiosity is often fueled by impulsivity and hyperactivity, motivating us to spend hours pursuing these ideas further. ⏩


After this first stage, the excitement begins to build. 🥳We often become firmly attached to starting this new pursuit during this stage. We might continuously discuss it, share our plans with friends, and feel optimistic about its ability to last. 

Thanks to the huge influx of dopamine, it's during this phase that hyperfocus often kicks in. Hyperfocus allows us to spend every moment of our free time researching and learning what we need to do before we begin.


The cycle's peak occurs when individuals with ADHD achieve what they desire in their hobby. They genuinely enjoy the activity, which brings them happiness. This enjoyment triggers high dopamine production as  learning something new is incredibly rewarding to their brain.

However, after reaching this peak and acquiring knowledge or skills, their ADHD brains tend to disengage and lose focus on the activity. The initial excitement starts to fade as they lose interest in their leisure pursuit. They may recognize a familiar pattern of returning to the same cycle, where past times are short-lived, and enthusiasm wanes.  📉


In the last phase of the cycle, we begin to experience boredom, exhaustion, and even dread of the things we once enjoyed. 😔 This can lead us to consider dropping the hobby and seeking something new. Of course, the experience of boredom is not exclusive to individuals with ADHD - and there is nothing wrong with trying new things. 

However, we may be more susceptible to growing tired of new pursuits faster, making it feel like a never-ending cycle. ♻️

The Missing Part To Break the Cycle: Acceptance

A crucial aspect of finding the perfect hobby for an ADHD brain is acceptance. Embracing that some hobbies may come and go and might not work for us long-term can help us better understand ourselves and have more compassion. 💙

If your new interest doesn’t stick around for as long as you hoped, try to focus on the joy it brought you. Remember, there is a difference between something we do for fun and something we do as a job or a task. There are no rules when it comes to play! You can enjoy something one minute, and forget about it the next. It’s all about how much happiness it brings you in the moment. 💃

If you feel strongly about wanting to stick to certain hobbies, I understand the frustration. It can be hurtful when friends or family innocently make comments about not being able to stick to something, or comment on the money you have spent pursuing that interest. 

The thing is, there isn't a surefire way of making an interest stick for people diagnosed with ADHD. It ultimately depends on understanding how your brain processes and engages with different activities. Of course, this can be different from one person to the next. 


When navigating the cycle of new pursuits, it's essential to develop a sense of self-compassion. Instead of harshly judging ourselves when we lose interest in something that once brought us happiness, we can focus on the positive aspects, such as the creativity we tapped into and the skills we developed.

Rather than clinging to hobbies out of obligation, we can gracefully let go when our interest naturally fades. This allows us to embrace new pursuits that captivate our ADHD minds. With a curious and lighthearted attitude, we can welcome the ebb and flow, knowing another passion may be just around the corner.

By accepting ourselves for who we are, we can release the pressure to stick with hobbies, even when they no longer bring us joy. We can find activities that align with our present needs, recognizing that as our needs change, our pastimes may also evolve - and that's perfectly okay. 🥰 

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ADHD & Hobbies The 4 Stages: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

 Is having a hobby important for people with ADHD?‍

A hobby is often important for individuals with ADHD. Like most people, engaging in new interests provides a means to unwind, relax, and alleviate anxiety. However, it can also relieve ADHD symptoms, particularly difficulties with focus.

What makes it challenging for individuals with ADHD to stick to their hobbies?

Several factors contribute to the challenge of sticking to new interests. These include a tendency to lose interest quickly and the impulsivity to pursue new and more exciting activities.

Can people with ADHD ever stick to a hobby?

Yes, people with ADHD can keep up a hobby in the long term. However, it often involves a bit of trial and error. By trying out new things without putting ourselves under pressure to maintain them, we can figure out what we genuinely enjoy.

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