Grandma Marge was quick to encourage me to stop biting my nails when I was around seven or eight-years-old. She (my mom’s, mom) would remind me that, “germs could be living under your fingernails,” and I have to assume that she was correct.
Well, it finally happened some 30 years later; I have officially stopped biting my fingernails. My wife, Kasey would tell you that biting my nails would be a sign that I was, “worried about something,” or that something was perhaps wrong. I’m not really sure why I started this bad habit all those years ago or why it stayed with me for so long.
As I’m writing this column, I’m constantly looking at my fingernails and resisting the urge to bite them. They’re not that long, but certainly longer than I’ve had them in three decades. What am I supposed to do, use a fingernail clipper? Sure, that seems like the obvious answer, but I’m concerned that I’ll cut a finger off! Do I resort to threatening myself with putting hot sauce on my fingers to avoid the temptation?
Breaking old habits is really hard, and it’s okay to talk about it. I hope if you’re going through something similar you don’t feel discouraged. Maybe you’ve combined the breaking of a bad old habit with a New Year’s resolution. Good! I hope that you are able to continue down the path towards whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.
Along with the nail biting, I’m trying really hard to not eat things with a lot of sugar (as of writing this, I am yet to enjoy anything sweet thus far this year, no candy, cookies, cake, or ice cream). I know that sugar has a direct impact on the numbers I see when I step onto the scale. There is something very empowering about conquering or breaking a habit or succeeding in a goal you’ve laid out for yourself.
I would say the same for doing something nice for a stranger. I’m going to share this story with you, and I hope you don’t take this as a form of bragging, because that is not my intent. A few weeks ago, I ran to the Westside Store gas station to pick up a few things. As I was preparing to leave, another customer entered and was frustrated that the gas pump wasn’t working. At the same time, this customer commented on being very fatigued and wasn’t sure if they could even walk back to their vehicle. Without hesitation, I offered my arm and walked the customer back to their vehicle. The employee followed us to the pump and went as far as pumping their gas. As I got into my van, I felt good about lending a hand (or arm) because it was the right thing to do.
So, I hope that my Grandma Marge is smiling down with pride knowing that I’ve finally conquered my bad habit. She is, after all, one of the people who instilled good values like doing the right thing, kindness, and much more. Stay the course, break the habit, and never stop learning lessons along the way. I’ll see you next week.