Breaking Bad (Habits)

This post is a bit of a personal one, and I debated back and forth a lot before I finally decided to write it. Let me start by saying that I think that each and every one of us has one or two (or several!) bad habits that we’d like to break, and while they might be a source of shame or guilt, I think sharing your goals of breaking the habit can be really empowering. Once you tell people you’re going to do something, I think you’re way more likely to stick with it. Right? Ok, so here we go.

I am a nail biter. Have been for a long time, and I think it developed as a nervous energy/anxiety habit, because every time I’m stressed or overwhelmed I notice I start to gnaw my nails to shreds. You guys, I think it’s a super gross habit and I’m really embarrassed with how junky my nails look. As someone who plans to build a career as a hand therapist, in which a lot of the job requires using your hands to manipulate and heal, this bad habit is not ideal. So I’ve decided it’s time to break the cycle.

Because my habit is fueled by anxiety and stress, I don’t think that sheer willpower alone will get me through it. In looking for solutions, someone suggested I pay for weekly manicures. I liked the idea of having a consequence to motivate me, but I’ve never had a manicure in my life (nail salons kind of creep me out, I know I’m weird) and I’m a broke grad student who can’t really afford the luxury right now. So I decided to try out some at-home gel nail polish, and create a daily log to track my success.

The Polish

Breaking Bad Habits via Imperfect Chevron

I chose this Sally Hansen Miracle Gel and topcoat because it doesn’t require an LED light to dry, it’s budget-friendly, and it had good reviews online. It was a little more expensive than nail polish I typically buy, and I realized that if my nails don’t chip right away I’d be more motivated to keep them looking good. So each week, I’m going to spend an hour on my nails. I chose a nude color polish so that my nails look clean and classic, and I didn’t want an outrageous color bringing attention to the little nubs at the end of my fingers.

I’ve also been using the app, Way of Life, to keep track of my progress. Each day, you simply open the app and log if you followed the rule for that day. It takes less than 30 seconds to log, and I like that you can look at the overall 6-week trend (when I make it to that point, it will be amazing!) as well as your weekly progress. I think it’s also helpful in that you don’t have to look at it being this huge goal, you can just take it one day at a time. It’s like, I know I can make it through one day without biting my nails. And then I just start over the next day! Sometimes you kind of have to trick your brain into it, you know?

I think I’m off to a pretty good start, I’ve made it a whole week without biting my nails! If you have any other tips or ideas, please share!