My Nail Biting Habit

"How3 I'm breaking my nail-biting habit" text over hand

I have always struggled with nail biting. It’s a habit I have had for as long as I can remember. I have tried everything to stop the habit or to change my nail biting tendencies but was successful only once, but it didn’t last long.

I’m a cuticle picker, a hangnail ripper, and a nail biter. Its especially bad when I’m reading or watching tv. My nail biting habit is mindless, I do it without thinking about it and when I realize what I’ve done I have ten bloody nubs where my fingernails were.

I used to think it was a nervous habit or something to do with anxiety, but I’m not a nervous or anxious person any more, my stress levels are incredibly low, yet I’m still a nail biter.

The one thing that worked for me to stop my nail biting was to have pretty fingernails. When I was young, I had my first manicure and I wanted it to last forever so I was very careful with my nails and didn’t bite them, was gentle with my hands, and I didn’t bite my nails for a long time after that. I don’t know what happened after that to make me start my nail biting habit back up.

In middle school, I painted my nails at least twice a week to keep them pretty so I wouldn’t bite them. I had long beautiful nails that were always meticulously painted. I didn’t bite them for almost two years. When I became a cheerleader, long nails were forbidden for obvious reasons. But so were colored nails. We could have natural looking nails, but natural looking nails wasn’t going to keep me from biting. There were even instances as a cheerleader where I chewed off my nails because they were just long enough to hurt someone. Since then, my nail biting habit has been stronger than ever.\

I’ve tried, in my adult life, to keep my nails painted and pretty, but it’s so hard when you can’t successfully paint your nails. I have struggled to get even an adequate at home manicure. I always get bubbles, smudges, or chips within the first day. I tried more expensive polishes, different formulas, everything. I gave up.

I decided recently that I would just shell out the money to pay for manicures every month until I no longer felt the urge to bite my nails.

close up of a hand holding a book
I let my first month grow out way too far. I had them done July 31st and didn’t go back in until September 6th.

Now I am on month two. I get a gel manicure and it lasts about four weeks. Last month I found myself chewing a little bit when I got a snag in a nail. This month, my goal was to go the whole four weeks without picking, tearing, or biting.  I almost made it three weeks. I didn’t make it to four. After the below photos were taken, my left thumb nail split up the middle. I successful cut and filed that one, but then chewed on my right pinky almost directly after. I am going to make another appointment for the first week of October. 

hand with manicured nails

A different look at my nails. I don’t think I like the square nails, I prefer rounded. This is two weeks after my appointment.

manicured hand with bracelet. Brette Bliss
Ignore the injury, I’m clumsy.

It takes on average, a little over two months to make a new habit. The time frame for breaking habits is a little less conclusive. I decided I would try 90 days. Since I was quasi unsuccessful last month and this month, I will count next month as my first successful 30 days if I can make between nail appointments without biting, chewing, or tearing. I want at least 90 successful days before I try going about my days with naked, natural nails. I might go longer depending on how I continue to fit nail appointments into my monthly budget and how I feel about my progress.

In the end, my nail biting habit is disgusting, painful, and its ruining my nails and teeth. I hate being a nail biter and my nail biting has gone on far too long. This habit needs to go and I’m more than ready to work for it.

Do you have a habit that you want to break? How do you plan on breaking it? What have you tried in the past?

I’m going to go gray for October. What color should I choose for November? (I will not consider suggestions that include the colors orange or yellow!)

nails 1

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