How I Finally Broke My Worst and Longest Bad Habit for Good

I did it! I finally broke my bad habit that I had since I was a small child! Since I was very young, I had been biting my nails.  I have struggled for decades to break the bad habit of biting my nails.

I tried everything to break my bad habit of biting my nails: Band-Aids, manicures, acrylic nails, gel nails, and even hypnosis. Through the years, my nail beds (especially my left pinkie) have been permanently damaged, my bottom front teeth have been worn down from my years of biting my acrylic nails, and I even chipped my front tooth from this bad habit of biting my nails.

I finally was able to successfully break my bad habit of biting my nails on January 1, 2014.


What changed that would enable me to finally break my bad habit and stop biting my nails?

2 Reasons I Finally Broke My Bad Habit of Biting my Nails

  1. My 6-year-old son now has the bad habit of biting his nails. And his problem is worse than mine to the point that he has NO nail bed anymore, just cuticles. The epiphany for me came one day when I saw him biting his nails and told him to stop – and realized that I had to take my fingers out of my mouth to say it. *face palm* moment there, folks!
  2. I read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life & Business by Charles Duhigg! This book was a life changer for me — not only did Duhigg help me understand habits at their core so that I could finally break my bad habit — but his book also helped me understand the power of drug addiction and how nearly impossible it is to break free from addictions and habits which helped me have more compassion for birthparents with addictions.  (This book is a very good read — full of interesting stories revolving around habits, including an amusing story of what happened when Target used buyer habits to send out baby circulars.)

You must watch this 3-minute video of Duhigg describing how bad habits really work.

In his book, Duhigg details the HABIT CYCLE of Mandy, another life-long nail biter.

I discovered my CUE (or trigger) to bite my nails occurs when my hands aren’t busy — I begin feeling the edges of my nails for an uneven texture, and then when I feel something, I have developed the ROUTINE to “smooth” it by scraping it, then biting it.  It’s hard to describe — almost like I’m seeking a form of touch sensation in my fingertips (similar to those commonly found in Sensory Processing Disorder).

What’s the REWARD in biting my nails? Is it the touch? Maybe, because I realized after I had grown my nails long that I touched my fingertips the same way, only now the feeling is smooth. (I also noticed that Matthew McConaughey touches his fingertips this way too)

Yes I can break my bad habit of biting my nails. Check out these remedies.

How to break bad habit of biting nails

Read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life & Business by Charles Duhigg to become aware of your habit and ideas on how to break your bad habit. When I began noticing that my fingers were touching my mouth, I began rubbing my fingertips against my forearms to replace that feeling of touch.

Use Mavala Stop to create a bitter taste when your fingers touch your mouth. Mavala Stop was part of the awareness process for me. I didn’t realize how often I moved my fingertips to my mouth. With the Mavala Stop, I stopped putting my fingers in my mouth and began just brushing my fingertips against my mouth. This still left a bitter aftertaste on my lips that even my husband noticed. I was then able to replace brushing my nails against my lips to rubbing them on my arms.

Use nail buffers and nail files incessantly. Anytime I felt any kind of snag, I would pull out an emery board or buffer and smooth it out. I kept them everywhere – in my purse, car, desk. Another tip is to buff nails to a shine before you use the Mavala Stop.

Keep cuticles trimmed. Use a cuticle pusher to push back cuticles, then use a cuticle nipper to trim cuticles smooth.

After only 2 weeks (14 days), you will be able to see your efforts pay off — you will be able to actually see white tips on your nails — Congratulations– treat yourself to a manicure!!!

Use a nail strengthener like Salon Sciences Instant Artificials which worked the best for me! I tried others but they dried out my nails making them brittle. You wouldn’t believe how hard my nails got with the Instant Artificials.

Keep your nails pretty & painted. I’ve discovered that glitter polish lasts the longest without showing nicks and flakes. My favorite is L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Nail Gold Dust Nail Color with its texture.

I have broken my bad habit for an entire year now! If I can do it, so can you!  Tag me on Twitter or Instagram to show me your progress! You can do it!