Can One Small Life Change Lead to Bigger Ones?

By Ted Spiker
Picking at nails

My ongoing list of “things I could do better”
in the health department has filled these pages for years and my brain for decades. Often, I feel like I spend 17% of my waking life wrestling with habit-forming, decision-making, and temptation-thwarting.

I know — I just know — I could…
Eat less. Drink less.
Eat slower. Run faster.
Go to the doctor more often. Wolf entire pizzas less often. (Have you tried with banana peppers? Really good, btw.)

So when it comes to smaller changes to improve my health, I feel like the shoulder-shrug emoji. Does it really matter if I floss every night if thecarnage involves pancakes and sausage, which are doing more damage inside than they are between the second and third molars? I know it’s not right to think that way, but it’s how I’ve justified ignoring the small stuff. Who cares if there’s a tiny scratch on the car if the engine is shot? Logically, I know that’s terrible to say — because valuing and caring for the human body involves thoughtfulness and appreciation for all of its parts and processes.

Looking back, that’s probably why I’ve ignored my seventh-worst lifelong habit: picking (not biting) my nails (fingers and toes) for-freaking- ever. Who did it really affect, besides me in terms of appearances and my wife who had to endure the annoying sound and constant discovery of my scraps? I mean, it’s not like my habit/condition/ stress-reliever was nearly as bad as realizing that #ButterMakesEverythingBetter.

But this January, I decided to stop.

I’ve only cold-turkey’d two things in my life: Diet soda around 10 years ago (though I do now use
it as a mixer with rum or whiskey, but never by itself) and now this. And with only two exceptions, I’ve refrained from this digital destruction for nearly nine months now.

On the surface, I know that stopping this habit didn’t do much to change my overall wellness. Yet something else has happened this year. I’m eating healthier, my pants are loosening up, and I’m feeling stronger.

Did my little change cascade into more important ones?
Probably not.
Or just maybe it did.

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What Your Nails Say About Your Health

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