How I Broke My Very Worst Habit

I’m about to share the single thing that worked when it came to quitting a very disgusting habit that haunted me for more than 30 years.

And then, I’m going to duck.

Because I received and rejected the very same advice. And hated when people would try and tell me it was the only way.

My habit, which I’ve confessed to before:

was nail biting. Nasty, down to the quick, bloody cuticle nail biting. I started very young and despite trying everything over the years — special nail polish, wearing gloves, getting manicures (I even considered hypnosis) — I was never able to stop myself from chewing.

I had stretches of success, lasting a few weeks or at one point even two months.

But I always, ALWAYS fell off the wagon. I felt ashamed, dirty and wondered how I could ever break the habit.

And you know what the answer was?!

Deciding to FREAKING DO IT. No excuses, no waffling. Just quitting, cold turkey.

Something changed in my brain on the day I truly and finally decided that I would not be a nail biter. I wasn’t pregnant at the time — not even thinking about it — but I knew that I did not want to pass on nail biting to my own kids, and I was sick to death of being embarrassed by my weakness. And so I stopped.

I don’t know what was different about the day I decided to quit except that I meant it, 100%. I will never not be a nail biter in my heart — I still pick at my nail beds and think about chewing on torn or messy nails (that’s why I keep them VERY short). My fingernails will always be a bit weird looking from the years of abuse. But I don’t bite my nails and I never will again.

What’s your bad habit and how will YOU break it?

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  1. says

    That’s how I stopped smoking. I just decided I wasn’t going to anymore. It took about 3 times to actually stick but the 3rd time was the charm. I think it’s been about 8-9 years now? I stopped keeping count after a few years.

  2. Renee Widrick says

    If anyone of your followers has this specific ‘bad habit’ and is with a child – just consider one messy poo poo diaper change … if you still desired nibbling on those germ infested nails – well, how well do you trust those antibacterial soaps…need I say more…yum!

  3. Ashleysh22 says

    This is one of those things that I read and I think, yea well obviously. But I suck at it. I know that the only way to make a change is to do it. No excuses. But it is hard sometime to find that internal switch. One of my bad habits is candy. And since starting medical school in August 2011 it got progressively worse. And I hit an all time low this past summer through my first exam in spetmeber. But I have managed to DRASTICALLY decrease it. And once I stopped eating it, I also stopped craving it. I have had a bag of chewy sprees in my house now for two weeks and I haven’t even gone through a quarter of it. Usually a bag this size would have lasted me about three days. So I guess I haven’t stopped quite a 100%. But I have made a a huge change :) thanks Katy! Inspirational as always!

  4. says

    I have the same issue!!! It’s been horrible! My nail-biting trigger is traffic, so I just need to find an alternative like chewing gum instead or something. Frankly, quitting nail biting is harder than losing weight. You’ve inspired me to quit cold turkey! I’ll let you know how it’s going in a few weeks! Great post!

  5. says

    I was a nail biter too and somehow kicked it. Isn’t it strange what things become bad habits? Right now I’m trying to kick a number of bad food habits. If only I could remember what I did to get rid of the nail biting!

    Congratulations on kicking out out your bad habit and keeping it away!

  6. says

    I don’t bite my nails, but I have the very bad habit of picking at my cuticles to the point that on any given day 2-3 would be bleeding. Yep, super gross and embarassing! Like you, I’ve had a few times in the past where I would stop for a few months, but then I always started back up. But a month or two ago I decided this was it, I was tired of being embarassed by my fingers, and I’ve completely stopped. I’m hoping that this time it sticks!

  7. Miranda says

    OMG I JUST stopped biting my nails! It was mid August. It all started with the OPI/Sally Hansen stick on nail polishes! I started them, they are harder than nail polish and for some reason something in me just CLICKED! They grew out and I stopped biting them completely! It feels amazing and my nails finally look normal!

  8. says

    My worst habit is also nail biting – so I can appreciate this post. And thank you for the advice! Your nails look really cute short and I love that color too. :)


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