What My Bad Habit Has To Do With Yours

I’m coming clean today with my bad habit. I’ve had it as long as I can remember and I’ve never gained victory over it.

I bite my fingernails.

I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t. I do think that I’ve gotten BETTER at it, but as the pictures show, they certainly aren’t anything to be proud about!


However, here they are looking great!! (for me, at least!)

I have had a few times in my life (and by a few, I mean, maybe 5) where I’ve been able to grow out my natural nails for about 2 months. Looking over this, I’ve come to some conclusions at what gives me success over this horrible habit.


Spending some money helps

When I get manicures or even if I spend the money to purchase the proper items, my nails always stay nicer longer. If I had unlimited funds, I think I would have nicer nails because I would definitely be getting regular manicures. Alas, it’s not top on the priority list or budget at our house, so when I’m done spending money on them, the nails usually go too.

The tiniest temptation eventually brings full destruction

What I mean by this is sometimes I’ll tap my nails on my teeth. Or I’ll still rim my nails around my lips (Wow. This sounds really weird) But what I find is that once I start there, it’s really hard to stop going further. I’m best not even keeping my nails around my mouth, but for some reason, they end back there.

I had to replace my old habit with a new one

Typically I bite my nails when my hands are bored. I notice it when I drive or when I watch tv. So, what I started to do was sit on my hands when I drive (of course, the one NOT driving!) and I tried to cut coupons or fold laundry when I watched tv. As soon as I left myself with nothing to do, the nails were in the mouth.

Encouragment helped– immensely

Sometimes I felt like a little kid showing my husband, mom or best friend the growth in my nails. Literally, my friend, Leslie, had to look—hard—to find the growth I was showing her one day. I would be so excited to show off my nails to whoever asked (or didn’t) and that kept me going.

If you saw my hands today, you’d see them back down to their usual state. I’ll be honest. I don’t feel a huge need to keep up on top of this bad habit because it really has no negative affect to my life (except how it looks!) so that’s why I haven’t spent the focus and money to make it a long term commitment.


I hope you are able to use this post, first off, to laugh, and then secondly to cross over what works for me onto your bad habit. Is it time for you to hire a personal trainer? Do you need to avoid certain situations so you aren’t eating unhealthy foods, or spending money unnecessarily? Is it time to find a friend to keep you accountable in your attitude or your daily habits?

What is your bad habit? (It doesn’t have to be in the area of eating and exercise!)

Is it serious enough that it warrants change?

What are some things you can put into place to gain victory over it?


  1. says

    I had the exact same habit for all of my life! I have finally had victory over it for 2 years straight by doing the following: I got one of those three way buffers that buffs the ridges out and makes your nails shiny. If I used any kind of nail polish, I would want to scrape it off with my teeth in lieu of biting, but then I would start biting my nails once the polish was gone. Disgusting, but that was how I rolled. Every Friday during family movie night, I buff my nails and shine them up. Also, I found out that using white iodine on your nails makes them super strong! I found that handy as a banjo player! For the first month, you swab some white iodine on your nails every day. Then you taper down to once a week. I also use Just Neem cuticle pen to keep my cuticles soft, because I found that I would chew on my cuticles too. All of this is super cheap and an easy way to have nice, neat nails without manicure expenses. I am also a loyal magnesium, calcium, and cod liver oil taker. All of those help your hair and nails stay strong, along with vitamin e, etc. Good luck! If you want accountability from someone who understands, feel free to email me a pretty hands pic as often as needed! 😉

  2. says

    I’m so the same way. I’ve found that when I’m in the car is when I nibble away at them. I also found, like you did that buying the correct products helps :-) I love the nail color that Essie puts out and the quality of their polish. (yes, it costs 7.97 a bottle, but it’s still cheaper than a manicure and it lasts longer as well.) I also bought some great emery boards so it is easy for me to take care of them. I still cave about every two weeks and gnaw off my nails….actually I was thinking about doing that this morning because I’m hiking this weekend and need them short, but now I’ve decided I will file them instead of biting them. Thanks for keeping me accountable :-)


  3. says

    Same exact problem! haha. I had some success last year and they grew out quite a bit, but by that time, it had been so long since I’d had anything more than a stub that I kept snagging them on something or they would just bother me, and I started biting them again. One thing that did help though was Sally Hansen’s Miracle Treatment. I can’t remember if that’s the exact name, but it was in a gold bottle. It always helped my nails to grow in fast and strong. I really need some more!

  4. says

    okay, I’ve been following you for a bit now (found you through WLW or TWW….and this just cracked me up! so I had to comment. I have the same bad habit, and one of the things I loved most when I was pregnant was how strong my nails got and I let them grow…at the end of each pregnancy my nails are always so long and pretty. Then within in day’s of delivery i’m sitting there biting them all up again! My son was born in Jan and I told myself “Okay, lets kick this habit”…but nope, didn’t happen. Still trying though! :)

  5. Chrystal Knight says

    Well I have many bad habits…in fact, I didn’t realize how many till I started thinking over it so that I could respond…(eye opener)…By far, my worst one is SMOKING! Yep,it’s a biggie. I started smoking when I was 10 years old (yes, you read that right). My stepdad at the time started me on it, by trading me cigarettes so I wouldn’t tell my mom he did drugs. As horrible as it sounds, I never thought much of it at that time, but I truly can’t remember a time I didn’t smoke. I’m 35 now, so if that tells you anything. It’s embarrassing, it’s smelly and it kills the lungs. I walk up stairs and i’m out of breath…i’m constantly worried people smell it on me and when I go to a get together, I hate when i’m the one excusing myself to go do my “horrible” habit. I’ve actually found myself avoiding situations altogether because of the embarrassment. Working out in a gym is out of the question because i’m dying after less than 2 minutes on any machine…I’ve tried to “cut down” many of times, but then find myself shutting down till the next one is due, i’ve quit cold turkey for as much as 3 weeks before but went right back. Whenever I think about quitting, like seriously quiting, I almost hyperventilate, thinking “what will I do if a stressful situation comes up and I don’t have them”. I really do want to quit…life is so short as it is, then you add the fact that i’m paying a butt load to kill myself, logically speaking, it doesn’t make sense…yet, I always go buy that next pack. I pray about it all the time and wish I had the willpower to just put them down. I’m starting to learn though, it’s not going to happen unless I just make it happen.I need to replace it with a good habit, like exercise, so i’ll stay motivated and it would help me replace another bad habit with a solution, being overweight and a carb addict…ha ha. I love that you show support Clare for everyone and everything. Please keep me and my journey to be a healthier and better human being in your prayers. It’s a daily struggle sometimes but you and many other women on your blog give me hope and inspiration!

    • Jinka B says

      :*) Love you Chrystal! Thank you for sharing. God hears that heart cry! I have been and will continue to pray. You are worth fighting for! ((Hugs))

  6. Kerrye says

    I have the very same habit. (my fingers were in my mouth as I read this) It’s a perfectionist thing with me – I can’t stand any rough edges on/around my nails, so I’m constantly “working on them”. (with my teeth… that sounds weird out loud too) At the moment I have 8 nice nails, and feel strangely proud of that! LOL. Movies are a bad time for me – I have totally destroyed a fresh (paid for) manicure during a really intense movie in a dark theatre. I try to bring something to keep my hands busy during movies (without my sight) – if just a piece of string to twist and tie and twist and tie… I’m 42 now, and hope to beat this when I grow up!

  7. says

    Guilty here! I bite and even worse, bite around my nails too. Like you, regular manicures are my only hope at keeping them nice. One of these days we’ll all be reformed nail-biters. :)

  8. says

    I didn’t have to think long about this one. One habit I wish to AVOID is my sharp tongue, especially with my children. I don’t have an abundance of patience and it doesn’t take much to make me irritable. The second is actually something that can help with the first! It’s a habit I wish to START. I want to be the type of woman that is free from her eating/exercising burdens. With my body type and metabolism, I really should be exercising on a daily basis. The same goes for good food choices. If I get the daily stress relief and no added guilt over what I ate or if I didn’t exercise then I think that would help. Some quiet time for receiving a positive word and a chance to ease the pressures on my mind will also help as well. Out with the bad and in with the good!

    • Jinka B says

      That is a big one. It can be so ingrained in us. Do you find the 2 may be connected? (If you miss feeling on top of the exercise/eating it may make you irritable?) Two books come to mind that really blessed and helped me- One is pocket book size I bet you could find on Amazon called “30 days to taming your tongue.” It is really good (I need to re-read it again!) And the other is “Captivating” by Stasi Eldredge. As mommies we have such power to build up or hurt our kids with what we say and the way we say it. I have had to straight out come to my kids and apologize for snapping at them. I hope this helps. :o)

  9. says

    Claire – I used to be a bad nail biter…now I have acrylic nails. I keep them short, and have them done every 2 weeks. I still sometimes find myself “chewing” on them, towards the end when its time for a fill especially, but for the most part, spending the money saves me from doing this. My natural nails were never strong enough to grow very long on their own. I tried keeping clear polish on them and that helped some. Overall, I’ve gone a year with the acrylic over my natural nails and they look great and I’m happy. :) its about finding what works! if it matters enough to you. I work a job where my hands are seen and I’m in meetings, etc. so biting them is no longer an option.

  10. Janna says

    I used to bite my nails too. Last year I went through a fixation with my nails and started paying for them. It wasn’t cheep but I had great looking nails that I couldn’t bit off! At first I put them in my mouth all the time. Eventually I’m not sure when I quit, because I mentally knew I couldn’t bite them. the budget changed and so did my nails. They were no longer fun any more they became a time waister. I started thinking about all the things I could be doing while I was getting my nails done! I realized I could do better things with my money (sponsor a child. Klove, ect.) I quit getting my nails done, but mynailbitting habit was gone, so I guess I got something out of the experience after all! Thanks for sharing. Now to get back in the habit of regular exercise!

  11. kimmya says

    Girl you know I’m right there with you!!! However since I went to the shellac party on Friday night they are looking good..short still but good..hope this helps!! I always tell everyone that nail biting is an expensive habit!! If you want pretty nails! I used to get acrylics but the hubby put a stop to that when we got married:( lol

  12. Rachel says

    So I’m not alone?!! I hate biting my nails but alas it is one of the lesser evils I can imagine living with. I wish I were like some of you that have commented who can keep acrylic nails… I bite them off! It’s like a new challenge. Thanks for sharing, Clare, I’m glad to know that someone over the age of 12 shares this habit with me.

  13. Dianne says

    Hi Clare…

    Fortunately, I am not a nail-biter. Unfortunately, my 5-year old daughter is, and it drives me crazy. I remember biting my nails as a child, and I remember the thing that stopped me from doing it was when I found out how many germs I was putting in my mouth. It grossed me out to no end, and that was the end of it for me. Now my daughter does it, and I keep trying to impress upon her that biting her nails could make her sick. She’s getting better, I think. But if anyone has any ideas of stopping her habit, I’m all ears. (One person told me to put hot-sauce on a fingernail and said it would be the end of it…haven’t been able to bring myself to that yet.) In the meantime, I have my own bad habits to break…mostly, losing my patience/temper when I am stressed. I’m working on it. I have relapses, but I am working on it.

  14. says

    I’ve never had any problems with biting my nails. Or sucking my thumbs. Ever. But I have other addictions which make up for it. I overeat. All the time. not to just where I’m full, or past full, but to where sometimes I will (occasionally) literally throw up. It’s awful. (But I just ordered Reshaping It All, so hopefully that will help :D)

    I also (used to be) addicted to watching tv a lot when I was 8. I would sit for hours and hours and hours. Probably around eight hours straight, except to get up to go to the bathroom or get something to eat.

    I’m doing much better though! Through Christ ALL thing are possible, right?

    • Jinka B says

      RIGHT! There is so much life to be lived. Here’s to freedom and life abundant! ((Hugs and prayers!))

  15. Gretchen says

    I thought I was alone, actually I was told it’s ‘rare’ for a woman to bite her nails. Pssh! Right now I have 6.5 nice nails with whites showing and the other 3.5 are down to below skin. I paint and push back the cuticles, then pick off the paint,then the edges become rough so I pick or chew those off, all within a few days. I think when I saw my 2 year old daughter about 1 month ago starting to bite her nails, I really, really wanted to change my habit. It made me sad how she’s picking up my bad habits. It’s so hard to stop! I’m right there with you, Clare!

  16. says

    I am a yeller. I am. Its bad. I yell when I dont want to run upstairs to get the kids, I yell when I am angry, I yell a pretty decent amount.

    I decided to stop yelling. On Saturday our family started a “no yelling” policy. I am pretty amazed that *I* have been able to stick to it, and even more proud to say that I really only have to kindly remind one of my family members (hubby, and two boys under 8 years old!) not to yell.

    The peace that comes from breaking a bad habit is pretty amazing =)

    On a side note- I am finally feeling better! (22 weeks pregnant and the “all-day” sickness is FINALLY gone!) I have worked out every other day for a week! I am very proud of this GOOD habit!!!

    Thanks for all you do- I love your posts!

  17. says

    My one bad thing that I gave up two days ago is Coke. After years of two, and at times three a day, I have had enough. My head hurts so badly right now and I am struggling to stay awake, but I am sticking with it. Not having any in the house helps.

    • Jinka B says

      Kerry! That is a big one! Oh I’m so glad. It is so bad for you in so many ways. The headaches will fade- hydrate bigtime and wash all those chemicals out of your system! Here’s to a happier body! :o)

  18. Donna says

    My nails never look great either, but because I play too many instruments, and I have to keep them short, or they get in the way on the piano, guitar and violin. I’m not a biter. Any desire I had to bite my nails was cured when we looked at what was under them through a microscope in high school biology. My bad habit is coffee. I drink it black, so no extra calories, but I hate almost all decaf. I have been drinking coffee my entire life. (No lie!) My grandfather used to give us coffee with a lot of milk and sugar and put a maraschino cherry in it. We were allowed to scoop out the cherry to eat with our spoon once we could see the top over the coffee when we set the cup flat on the table. At the age of twelve, we were at IHOP, and we all ordered coffee, my parents black, and me with cream and sugar. Dad said, “You’re just not man enough to drink it black.” Well, that did it! I had to man-up! I choked down the first cup, but by the third, I loved it. I still do! In college, I could drink it all day long, and it didn’t phase me. Now, in my thirties, I am exhausted no matter how much I drink, it keeps my brain from shutting down at bedtime, and if I really over do it, the crash I get will wake me up in the night in a cold sweat with bottomed out blood sugar. :( To quote my doctor, I’m “jacking myself up on legal stimulants.” It’s just SO hard when it tastes SO wonderful, and when I’m tired, I *think* it will make me feel less tired. I tried cutting back, but that didn’t last but about 2 weeks.

    • Denise says

      Try Teeccino. I had to give up coffee because it made me sick. I now buy Teeccino from Vitacost.com and I don’t miss the coffee at all. It has many flavours and tastes like flavoured coffee. The only hard time I had was a four day super headache when I stopped the coffee.

      • Donna says

        I tried the sample they sent me of teeccino, and I didn’t like it. It was too sweet. It tasted nothing like pure coffee. I’d be willing to try again. What flavors do you recommend?

  19. Christie says

    Thank you for your honesty. I am 41 & cannot remember a time when I did not struggle with nail biting. I am currently in therapy for it, how ridiculous. I would love to have acrylics or manicures, but they are too low. I can’t even cover them with fake nails. If makes me feel so mad at myself! I will try the nail buffer someone suggested. And I appreciate whoever mentioned “perfectionist” – I believe that is why I can’t stop. I want to make them even or smooth & just keep picking.
    Every day I start the morning saying I don’t do it. I’ll just keep trying.

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