The actor will next be seen opposite Kareena Kapoor in the eagerly-awaited Heroine.
He told The Times of India: "I wanted to do solo hero projects and I wanted to do different kinds of movies but that was a big mistake. I didn't realise that one has to have an audience base first, and then start experimenting.
"Finally, better sense prevailed and I came back to my own genre. I did Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, where I had the smallest part, but I stood out. Then I did Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster, then Jannat 2, and so on. Life's good now. In terms of attitude - earlier, people perceived me as a loudmouth Jat boy. Now, I'm a bit more careful. I've changed the way I express myself."
Hooda did not act for four years after his first big break in 2001's indie drama Monsoon Wedding.
He also revealed that he took to horse-riding professionally to stop himself becoming "bitter" during his dry period.
"I bought horses, I trained them, read books, watched movies - I got involved in all this and that saved me from getting bitter. I also did a lot of theatre at that time and that kept me afloat. But you know, horses are the costliest to maintain, and I was feeding five horses at the same time.
"I got a lot of money offers for them but I just couldn't sell them; they were like family to me," he added.
In August, the 36-year-old actor denied that he wants to be "the new" Emraan Hashmi.
However, he admitted earlier this year he needs to "catch up" with more successful industry stars.