A Better Way to Lose a Bad Habit


In Personal Stories Posted

Yes! My fingernails are getting longer!

I know you were attracted by the title. No confessions needed, we’re all guilty of having a bad habit or even a handful.

Perhaps you’re wondering what relationship my fingernails have with a bad habit. Well, I’ve been an unrepentant nail-biter or is it chewer -whatever you call it- for over two decades now. I cut my fingernails and even my toenails with my teeth, then I chew it to powder and spew it out.

Most times, I bite in too deep into my fingers that it hurts, yet, I remained undeterred by the pains.

There are times when I’ll chew on my cuticles and create subtle holes at the side of my fingernails, then unknowingly do dishes or laundry and water will slip in and become puss, painful puss. Going about with a swollen finger, I’ll be in pains for days till I subject the finger to heat and forcefully press out the puss.

I chew in public, meetings, services, even in the middle of conversations unmindful of watching eyes. Even as I write this article, I chew my fingernails in-between rest.

How then can I tell you a better way to lose a bad habit?

For one, I’m in the process of losing the habit and writing about it is a form of commitment to the process for me. Well, I didn’t just wake up and decide to lose the habit, it became embarrassing, demeaning, and unfit for my personality.

Intuitively, the first thing to do was to determine not to chew on my fingernails again, but you and I know that never works. How many of us stay committed to our New Year resolutions to visit the gym, lose some weight and stay fit? I think one out of a hundred. I would have eaten all of my fingernails before I remember my decision not to chew on them again, then I’ll feel guilty and undisciplined. This continued for a long time until I gave up on trying.

Well, I didn’t give up for long because My Beloved wouldn’t allow. She wanted more and deserved even more. For her and for myself, I resumed my quest; I read books and watched self-help videos on losing a bad habit, all to no avail.

Recently, I miraculously stumbled on a quote that says “What we focus on thrives, what we nurture grows.” This simple quote created an awakening in me! It resonated a whole lot to me and got me thinking.

“What we focus on thrives, what we nurture grows”

After much thought, I came to the conclusion that whatever we force resists and whatever we give attention to thrives. I took a cue from a scene of an angry mob being pushed and forced back by armed policemen. The more the policemen pushed, the more the mob pressed, so, I figured that the more I forced myself not to chew my fingers, the more I’ll chew. The more I focus on losing the bad habit, the more engrossed in it I become. So, I concluded on paying attention to what I want (which is to see my nails grow) and neglect the negative.

my hands
my hands

Hence, I decided to focus on seeing my fingernails grow and not on losing the habit, and surprisingly, that did the magic! As you can see in the image above, the nails on my right hand compared to the left are now long, the longest they have ever been. I must say that the experience was strange at first, it still is though.

Whatever we force resists and whatever we give attention to thrives.

Well, it’s not all rosy and glamorous, I now find it inconvenient to type, eat with my hands, and even hold someone without causing injury among other things. Also, there is the unending, time-consuming task of keeping it clean and attractive, but overall, the excitement of seeing my nails long overshadows it.

Every story needs a title, isn’t it? Hence the reason for the title.

I didn’t set out to give you a list of psychology hacks on how to lose a bad habit but to share the story of how far I’ve come in my journey to losing my bad habit with you. I do hope that I was able to communicate, and perhaps, show you a better way to lose that bad habit of yours.


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