The Most Useful Hobbies To Replace Video Games

If you tell a gamer you want to quit playing video games, the most common response is something along the lines of, "Dude it's just a matter of balance, you don't have to quit altogether."

And that's true, that's actually the main stance I take when I write on this blog. Even if you struggle with video game addiction, I think you can overcome your addiction and still be able to play video games, once you've developed the skills and healthy habits you needed all along. 

But all that doesn't really matter if you just have the urge to do something productive or useful with your free time. Playing video games ain't the only hobby in town, right? 

There are tons of things you can get into, but what are the most useful hobbies you can replace video games with?

Graph of how to do something, step-by-step, squares and arrows

Learn How To Fix Your Own Car

Car problems are stressful when you don't know how to troubleshoot them and fix the issue. And unless you're a fancy pants driving around a Tesla, there's no real reason why you shouldn't do your research on what might be going on and get your hands dirty under the hood. 

It's important to learn how to fix your own car, at least the minor issues. If you're a gamer who has built his own computer, you probably loved the process. 

Even when the OS didn't boot or your PSU keeps making that whining noise or your new SSD isn't being recognized by the system, you have a fondness for knowing your computer inside and out. 

Well "car guys" feel the same way, only with their cars. They take pride in keeping the machine running smoothly. They take pride in their interior, the paint job, making it go faster, making it sound more powerful, modifying it, installing a better audio system -- everything, they love it all. 

And with this hobby, you'll save yourself a lot of cash and avoid some arguments with a sheisty mechanic.

Man working on his car in a garage

Learn A Martial Art

Every guy says he wants to enroll into a martial arts class. Every guy loves MMA. Ever guy wants to know how to defend himself. Every guy wants to be the big, bad wolf. 

But most guys don't take action, we let all the reasons not to learn a martial art stop us. In the words of Jocko Willink, "You have the time. Make the time."

 It's true. It's about priorities and you're here reading this list because you know that. So if you're looking for something useful to do besides playing video games, why not finally learn a martial art? There are so many options available to us. You can get into a MMA gym or enter specific disciplines:
  • Western boxing
  • Muay Thai or Kickboxing
  • Wrestling
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Judo
  • Traditional Karate or Tae Kwon Do
  • Eskrima/Kali/Arnis (Filipino martial art)
  • Krav Maga

This list can be as long as the wiki page, but you get the idea. If there is something inside you saying to explore martial arts, you owe it to yourself to take action.

Woman hitting the punching bag, martial arts, heavy bag

Learn How To Program

Before I made this website, I was teaching myself how to program using online resources and it was going as well as it can go.

If you haven't ventured into the programming world, the early days are difficult, confusing, discouraging, and will make you doubt yourself like you've never doubted yourself before. And the funny thing is... that's normal. Even the most intelligent individuals struggled and doubted their capabilities, but found reasons to push through until they got their "Oh I understand now" moment.

Knowing how to program is a valuable and useful skill and can stay as a hobby or can be turned into a full-fledged career! I know of lots of programmers who work on open-source projects on their free time just because they want to.

There's no reason programming can't be both a hobby and your career though :)

computer screen, coding, web development, programming,

Bodybuilding And/Or Strength Training

This useful hobby is similar to getting into martial arts, only this time the iron is what will give you discipline, confidence, and self-respect. It is the iron that will show you where you stand and it's the iron that will sharpen the edge of your soul. 

When people ask what they can do instead of video games, bodybuilding (or just going to the gym) is one of, if not, the most popular answer they're given. And for good reason. 

Bodybuilding will give you the physique you've always wanted, will lead you down a healthy lifestyle that includes:
  • Eating well
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drinking enough water
  • Correcting your nutritional deficiencies
  • Confidence and self-respect blasting through the roof like a kamehameha wave

 Many successful entrepeneurs credit fitness and regular exercise as one of the key components of their success story. The body is the mind. But it doesn't have to be as deep as I'm making it out to be, you might just want a stellar body and feel more attractive. No bodybuilder will deny those reasons lol.

Man about to deadlift, bodybuilding, strength training


It's not as popular nor as... aesthetically pleasing as bodybuilding is, but running is one of the most useful hobbies out there. 

Depending on the type of training you get into will determine what kind of physique you're going to build in this sport, but it will strengthen your overall body composition and improve your cardiovascular system, which is pretty darn important, I heard. 

And let's not forget about the legendary runner's high you'll experience once you get the hang of things and can start to enjoy this underappreciated hobby. My favorite thing about running is feeling like a machine and how rhythmic the movements are. 

And all you really need is a good pair of running shoes, so it's a very cost-effective sport.

Man running through a driveway


Another common (and incredibly useful) recommendation to replace video games with. Even though I'm a writer and a major component of everyone reading books, I'll admit... reading (by itself) will not replace playing video games. 

Not that just one hobby should be able to replace video games completely. It's probably best to have a few hobbies to jump between. But reading is a hobby you have to set aside time for and be in a quiet setting, not very possible for a lot of people, especially if they don't live alone. 

To me, reading is something that you should do every day though, for at least 15-30 minutes. It's probably best to do it at night, when you're in bed and want to lull yourself to sleep. 

But you do need to exercise and broaden your mind and reading is a great way to do that daily. Plus you can really get into it once you find a book that hits the spot. There's nothing like a good book :)

Man holding a book, reading

Learn How To (Seriously) Cook

Cooking is in my Top 10 Video Game Alternatives for a reason: Everyone needs to eat

But it goes beyond that because you can easily buy yourself lots of junk food, canned foods, microwaveable foods, and get takeout food when you're craving something and don't want to bother mucking around in the kitchen. Cooking is an art form as well as a science. And the culinary arts is a vast world to explore. 

And your creations almost never have to go to waste (unless you seriously botch it up). Everything you create will be eaten! 

My recommendation is to just write a list of all your favorite foods and learn how to make each one. Watch Youtube videos and read recipe blogs and you'll learn the natural way. But if you want to know the fundamentals of cooking and why you use different techniques, learn structurally. 

If cooking transcends being a useful hobby into a passion, consider finding a job at a restaurant or even enroll into a culinary school!

Man cooking in kitche, two stock pots steaming

Start A Garden In The Backyard

Why stop at cooking when you can also start growing your own food? You don't have to go full bore with gardening (or any of these useful hobbies), it's probably best to ease yourself into a lot of this stuff. 

What are some things you find yourself eating every day? You can start planting stuff for your daily salads or grow potatoes (who doesn't love potatoes?). You can grow peppers, tomatoes -- I'm not gonna go down the list of vegetables, you get the idea. 

Farming/gardening used to be something every family did, there weren't always grocery stores. Families grew their own food, raised their own meat, and traded with each other.  

Plus it's surprising how satisfying it is to plant one tiny seed into some soil and slowly watch it grow into something you can actually eat. And personally, it made me start appreciating food on another level I didn't experience before I started growing my own stuff.

Shovel in the soil, gardening and farming, garden

Learn The Fundamentals Of Fashion (And Dress Well) 

Growing up, I couldn't care less about clothes and how I dressed. I was the typical gamer that wanted games for presents and rolled my eyes whenever I got clothes. Now that I'm 28 years old, I actually get excited when I get socks. 

Weird, right? 

I'm surprised learning how to dress well and appreciating fashion isn't recommended more to gamers. No I'm not talking about runway models dressed up all goofy, I'm talking about down-to-earth fashion that's both attractive and practical. 

Does the man make the clothes or the clothes make the man? 

You'd be surprised how a well-composed wardrobe and knowing what works with what can improve your life. No, you're not going to trade in an evening of playing games for going shopping with the fellows at the Gap, but you were looking for useful things to do besides video games, so here we are. 

Learn how to dress well, brothers.

Well-dressed young man, fashion

Learn Another Language

Again, ease yourself into these useful hobbies. 

I think one thing to really take note is you have to really care about this stuff in order to want to do them instead of doing what's easy and loading up the video games. It took me a long time to overcome my video game addiction and an even longer time finding stuff I'm passionate about. 

If you're passionate about learning another language (and with that, another culture), then this will quickly go from a useful hobby to a passion. 

But if you're just looking for things to "busy" yourself with in the name of productivity, most people give up on this one. The biggest reason is because language, like reading, is just a tool to help navigate life. 

It takes passion to really dive deep.

Young man traveling through Asia, language learning

Learn About History

I recently became obsessed with learning about the history and culture of the Philippines. As an American-born Filipino, there was always a disconnect with my roots and a lot of "holes" in my identity since I was never taught Tagalog or barely taught much about my culture. 

The main thing about this useful hobby is I wanted to learn history because it became important for me to know where my family came from and the history of my people. 

Of course, you don't have to just learn about the history of where you and your family come from, you can really get into other parts of history, especially Egypt. People get OBSESSED about Egypt! People get obsessed about Greek history too!

Rome Italy, the coliseum, history

Learn A Trade Skill

When I graduated high school in 2008, there was hardly any talk of going to trade school. It was either you go to college or you're a loser. 

I'm serious, I'm not exaggerating. And I didn't go to a fancy upscale school, I went to a public school in a regular mid-sized city (it's probably not even mid-size). 

Trade schools and attaining trade skills aren't talked about enough, these jobs and careers are as important, if not even more important, than academic careers/fields because we need these jobs -- real life work, get stuff done that people actually need to get done. 

How many academics do we need? 

I don't mean to downplay the academics, but there is a large imbalance. So if you're looking for a useful hobby that can turn into a useful career, consider learning a trade. 

My older brother found his way into being a barber and he gets paid well and he loves it. He gets to cut hair and joke around with his friends in the shop. Not a bad way to live.

Man measuring piece of wood, trade skill, woodworking, carpentry

Learn How To Make Money (How To Make It Work For You)

This will be my last specific recommendation for "useful" hobbies since I want to do something different than the average list of video game alternatives. You see, I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, though I didn't know it until several months ago. 

I remember in my World of Warcraft days, I was an above-average player. I was pretty good at the game, joined a popular guild and became one of its key members. In this game there was an auction house where you can sell goods and I got really, really good at making money in there. 

But none of that translated into real life. I was as poor/broke as can be and would always wish I could make money as easily as I could in this game. 

The problem was I never bothered to learn how to make proper money in real life. I didn't research what to do and how to do it. I just kept logging into WoW and wished things were different. 

We all know a guy like that and a lot of us were that guy. If you want to get started, but don't know where to start, I recommend reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It's an excellent way to change your mindset about money and how to become wealthy and successful.

stocks, stock market, graphs, money making, dollars

Step Into The World Of Personal Development

Here is a quick summary on what Personal Development is: Youtube video

The concept is simple, but life-consuming. It is literally improving who you are as a person, acquiring skills you need to succeed, and leveling up all your strengths to the point where your weaknesses minimize as much as they can. 

You're leveling up your own character :) 

The urge to find useful hobbies to replace video games with is the gateway to personal development for most of us who sensed we want to be so much more than we currently are.

Young business man looking out window, personal development

How Do You Get Started With Personal Development? 

  • Who do you want to be? 
  • What lifestyle do you want to live? 
  • What do you want to be known for? 
  • What do you want to achieve? 

This is where you start :)

I don't want this blog post to be too long and I don't want to attempt to reinvent any wheels here, so I found an excellent guide on how to start: How To Create A Personal Development Plan

I also recommend a couple books, one by Jordan Peterson and the other by Jocko Willink:

Something to note about "self-help" books is don't fall into the trap of reading one after another. The important thing is to learn from these men, distill their lessons into wisdom you can use and get to work. 

Ever since I got started in my Personal Development, it's been hard to want to play video games. I want to do other things way more now! 
  • I want to read more about Philippine history
  • Learn Filipino recipes
  • Learn how to create my own language
  • Do my daily workouts
  • Learn how to take care of my body and follow skin/hair care routines
  • Learn business fundamentals
  • Learn how to be a stronger writer
  • Learn the fundamentals of sales
  • And so much more

Before I let you go, I want to reiterate the importance of pursuing things you care deeply about and not do things for the sake of keeping busy and being "productive". We can pack our days with lessons and activities and not reach the places we want to be, so prioritize accordingly. 

Thanks for reading, gamers. Be sure to bookmark my blog and return in times of need! And if you're struggling with video game addiction, be sure to read my story of how I overcame it.