Nail Biter

I’m a lifelong nail biter. There I’ve said it out loud. It definitely feels like a secret confession which is daft because it’s not as though I can hide the fact.

I’ve tried to stop many times, but I think the longest I’ve managed is about 6 months. I’m not what I’d call an extreme nail biter. My nails are naturally quite long so I’ve always got a little length.

I realise that worrying about biting my nails is a bit trivial and (as far as I know) it’s not life threatening. But there is a strange self confidence thing that goes on. And, I also think a bit of self sabotage.

It’s weird because I’m so pleased with myself when my nails have grown a bit and I think they’re looking good. And then for no apparent reason I’ll start nibbling and go back to where I started.

I guess it’s no different from other things; losing weight and then putting it all back on, stopping smoking and then starting again, starting an exercise routine and then getting distracted with something else. We all do it.

Just before school broke up for the summer holidays, I made a pact with my teenage daughter that we’d both grow our nails. We ‘pinky promised’ that we’d keep it up for a month and then reward ourselves with a manicure.

This should have worked. I had support, accountability, a reward, all the ingredients for a successful challenge.

I even bought some of that bitter tasting nail bite solution to remind me when I put my fingers in my mouth. It certainly helped, but my mouth tasted disgusting all the time…

How did it go?

Well, let’s say that my daughter was very successful. Her nails looked long and lovely, and she had the manicure as promised.

But mine? I started well. But within a few weeks my subconscious habit took over again. I nibbled away in front of the TV or whilst engrossed reading a book. Almost as though someone had hypnotised me into doing something outside of my control.

For goodness sake Hilary, you’re only talking about nails I can hear you say. Which is true. But I feel it’s the principle that’s important.

We like to believe that we have some control over our will and I think we do. I know that I can choose whether to run or not when I get up in the morning and it’s cold and dark.

But how do I stop myself doing something that is subconscious? That feels harder.

I’m determined to overcome this. So here is my latest No Nail Biting strategy:

  • I’ve set myself a timeframe – long nails by Christmas.
  • I’m visualising what they’ll look like, after the manicure.
  • I’ll book and even pay for the manicure so I have a proper commitment.
  • Use the bitter nail solution every morning.
  • Add this goal in my daily journal, reminding myself in the morning and just before I go to bed.

And finally, to keep me accountable, I will put an update on this blog every Sunday.

Watch this space!