One year ago, I would never have shown you my fingernails, much less put a picture of them on my website. I must confess, my lifelong habit of nail-biting had reached its peak when I started purposely hiding my hands at social gathers because I was so ashamed of how they looked. Crazy, right? I knew it was time to break bad.
I created a long-term plan that included what I believed to be the key ingredients to habit breaking:
- I developed a relationship with a manicurist and made regular appointments. This may sound luxurious, but I knew that she would play a vital role in helping me break bad. (Thank you Dalia).
- I wore gloves at times when I was most vulnerable to partake in my bad habit, like when I while watching TV and driving. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face that first night hanging out with bright green gloves on. I’m happy to report that I no longer have to wear them, but I keep them at my side just in case.
- I learned to take better care of my hands (TLC) and applied moisturizer every day. Turns out that nurturing the hands actually feels quite good too.
- I started slowly with clear to very light color polish to avoid any attention to my hands while they were in transition. I wasn’t sure if my hands would heal from the years of abuse. Color wasn’t in the long-term plan – nails were.
- On my one-year anniversary, Dalia–my sweet and supportive manicurist–inspired me to try color. Big step! We started with a light shade of shimmery brown. As my hands began to heal, the ridges slowly faded and it gave me more confidence to try a fancy dark brown
What I’ve learned along the way…
~ I love how our bodies can heal after years of mistreatment. Through mindfulness and care, the body will heal.
~ Habits good and bad, are a reflection of our life performance. If you look a little deeper, you’ll find the heart of the reason why it is a habit. In this case it was stress and mindlessness.
~ If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve started this process a very long time ago. This inspires me to break more unhealthy habits (excessive caffeine).
~ Starting new habits or changing bad ones take time. And it is the journey that teaches us the most about ourselves.
~ My nails will never be perfect, but the remnants of my habit inspire me to be more mindful and live with less stress every day.
~ Most people are supportive and kind when you open yourself up and share your vulnerability. Having a base of social support is the most important ingredient to breaking bad.
Congratulations on your milestone and I know your plight very well. I’ll probably never have normal fingertips or nails but at least I don’t feel the need to hide them anymore. Have a wonderful bite free new year!