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First comes self belief

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Finally Stop Nail Biting Blog/General/First comes self belief

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First Comes Self Belief

When I decided to stop biting my nails, I didn’t know of anyone who had done this in their 50’s. All my references were of younger people in their late teens or 20’s, who had managed to stop. That was an uncomfortable place to be because my brain would have loved to have evidence that this was even possible in someone my age, with such an ‘established’ habit. I had zero evidence and zero belief that stopping nail biting was even possible for me.

I had never managed to stop nail biting for any length of time. The longest was for about 1 year as a teenager. I didn't know how I was going to do this - starting was the easiest part, but keeping going had proved hard. So hard I always failed. Even when I did think I had some control, I simply didn't trust myself. I was confused by urges and frightened of them. When the urge to bite came along, the only way I knew how to stop the misery of them was to go back to biting my nails.

If I based another attempt solely looking at my past evidence then I knew I would be doomed from the start. One of my decisions was not to allow my brain to keep telling me all the reasons this wouldn't work. Whenever one of these thoughts popped up I got curious about the 'story' in my head. Reminded myself that this was a familiar dialogue in my brain. A story.

Our brains are the most amazing story tellers, but sometimes the story is disempowering and self limiting, rather then helping us to move forward. One trick is to write down the sentences from our mind and put them down on paper. Then it becomes easier to look at those sentences more objectively.

Here is a great piece of relatively recent history that illustrates the belief concept beautifully.

Up to the 1950’s, no human had run 1 mile in less than 4 minutes. It was thought to be impossible. So when Roger Bannister broke this barrier in 1954, he had nothing to draw on other than his own self belief and determination. His successful run on May 6th 1954 was the day he made world history with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. However it would be easy to just look at that 1 day and assume it had all been straight forward and easy to accomplish this milestone in human capability.

Prior to this significant moment in human endeavour, he had competed at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki with mixed results. He came 4th in the 1500 m race (the metric mile) but set a new British record; having only narrowly made the cut to even compete at the Olympics. Up to the qualifiers he was only training 1 hour a day, as he was a Medical student at the time. He spent the 2 months after the Olympics actually debating whether to give up running. He decided to continue and made it his goal to beat the 4 minute mile as part of his commitment to continue running competitively.

There were other runners around the world who had this goal in their sights too, who regularly competed against each other. In 1953 a mile long race was included in an athletic meeting programme at which a number of contenders raced. Bannister’s time for this event was 4 min 2 secs. This race paved the way for the 4 minute mile barrier to be broken, all the competitors could see it within their sights. There were 4 contenders and it was probably just a question of time before one of them achieved a sub 4 minute mile. This created rivalry and competitiveness.

Once achieved, the record for running a mile in under 4 minutes was held by Bannister for only 46 days, before this too was beaten by one of Bannisters rivals! Ironically although Bannister achievement was iconic, he held that record for the shortest amount of time. Once the evidence was there that humans could run a mile in less than 4 minutes, the records for running speed just keep on being broken. Runners now had the knowledge that the barrier was no longer a barrier. They had witnessed first hand the long held belief that it was impossible, being dis-proved.

What you believe really does determine your success. This is a universal truth. Having positive examples and role models is inspirational. I have a growing number of clients who have stopped biting their nails in an age range of 18 - 66 years old. They too all thought it was impossible. We worked on changing their beliefs around. Just knowing that others have managed to stop nail biting permanently is a game changer. That means that this is possible for you too. None of us are special unicorns. We are just regular folk who were courageous enough to change our beliefs and our concept of what was possible - just like Roger Bannister. 

If you really want to stop biting your nails then first you’ve got to believe it is possible - or at least be open to the idea. You do have a belief around nail biting, whether you've examined it or not. When we have 1 ingrained belief, we often have a lot more - they become a belief system. Now most folk don't jump from 'I can't' to 100% belief in 1 leap. The first step is to begin to uncover what your existing beliefs are. One way to flush out the beliefs is to spend the next 7 days attempting to stop - that will bring them out. Write down all the brain chatter - 'this won't work', 'you've never been able to do this before', 'you can't stop', 'you've done this far too long', 'it's genetic, your whole family do this', 'there's something wrong with you', 'it's too hard', 'this is your way of dealing with stress and anxiety'.....etc 

I know it is absolutely possible for you to stop nail biting.

I also know that it is your beliefs about nail biting that are holding you back.

It won't be a different product that will end nail biting for you, it will be a change of mindset that will be pivotal to ending your habit permanently. So start to see if you can start to identify some of the sentences in your head, that come up the minute you start to think about stopping nail biting.

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Hi, I'm Ann Barton

This blog:
Busts the myths that keeps nail biters stuck.
Speaks truth about our nail biting habit.
Takes a different approach based on cognitive behaviour.

I ended my 50+ year nail biting habit, after 5 decades of miserably trying and failing. I now teach and coach clients to permanently end nail biting too.

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