Introduction: I first heard about this app after reading Hilary Flinn’s excellent post about how she used it to break her nail biting habit. The app is called ‘Nail Biting’ and it was created by Saso Korotaj. In this post, I outline why the app is so powerful, and how you can use it to kick-start your nail biting success journey.
Simplicity & Speed: Using the app is about as simple as it gets. All you have to do is open the app and push the ‘I Did It’ button every time you slip up. That’s it. It takes less than 5 seconds if you’re phone is already in your hand. There are very few habit apps out there which make the process of tracking each slip-up so seamless. This benefit alone makes it worth a download.
Super Convenient Accountability: One of the reasons habit tracking is so powerful is because of the built-in accountability factor. Instead of allowing you to ‘get away with it’, tracking your bad habit provides a consistent wake up call, a
It’s so easy pretend that those small slip-ups don’t count. Denial is not your friend. This app will provide the behavioral mirror you need to break that veil of denial and give you a firm dose of reality. You might not like what you see when you gaze into this behavioral mirror. Nobody said change was easy. Accountability is one of the pills you must swallow in order to be cured.
A Counter That Helps You Celebrate Micro Victories & Bounce Back From Defeat: As soon as you hit the ‘I did it’ button, the app resets your count to zero. At the same time, it immediately starts tracking the length of your new habit-breaking streak in seconds, minutes, hours and days. This allows you to bounce back from defeat so much faster. Every second and every minute that passes can ultimately be treated as a mini victory. Better yet, the minutes will compound into hours and days so much faster than you might expect.
Simple Stats: It’s hard to overemphasize how important it is to know exactly when your last slip up occurred, and how often you are repeating the mistake during the day. Fortunately, the app has a stats tab which makes it very easy to view an objective, statistically accurate graph of your behavior.
Unlocks Bonus Motivation: The funny thing about tracking your habits is that it unlocks bonus motivation to stop. In the case of this app, you will find that the thought of hitting the ‘I did it’ button is powerful enough to take your fingers out of your mouth, in order to avoid having to own up to the error.
In other words, being forced to acknowledge your mistake can provide enough motivation to avoid the mistake in the first place.
It turns it into a game that you can actually win: This benefit is most pertinent for competitive people that hate losing. Like it or not, pushing the ‘I did it’ button will feel like a defeat. On the other hand, not pushing the ‘I did it’ button will feel like victory. That’s how simple the game is.
It might seem crazy, but this benefit plugged directly into my competitive spirit, unleashing a wave of motivation and consistency that I was desperately searching for. I don’t push the ‘I did it’ button any more, because I no longer do it. In short, I have broken the habit, and this app provided the tipping point I needed to succeed.
The 1 Major Downside: In short, the app has in-built ads. These are most annoying when you view your stats (opening the stats tab seems to trigger an ad). Although the in-built ads are a bit frustrating, the app is totally free, so this is the price that you pay for that freedom.
Full Disclaimer: I am actually a compulsive skin picker (rather than a nail biter), but these conditions are practically interchangeable. Both fall within the spectrum of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, according the latest medical categorizations.
Did it work for me? I only downloaded the app 40 days after reading Hilary Flinn’s post. Although it took me a while to take action, I am super happy with the results it has delivered. It might seem ridiculous to celebrate 2 day victories, but for skin pickers and nail biters, these small victories are the essential stepping stones of success.
In addition, it might seem like my success with the app happened overnight, but in reality, I spent just over 2 years trying desperately to stop. While other tracking methods definitely helped me reduce my skin picking, this app was ultimately the straw that broke the camel’s back. I will document my full recovery story in an upcoming post.