Thoughts on habits and change

I’ve been doing some reading on changing habits in order to make improvements in my life. Namely, I want to get back into working out regularly, and get some productive things done instead  of wasting my time like I do. (Damn you, Pinterest!)
I used to say my worst habit was biting my fingernails. I’d bite them almost to the point of bleeding, and it was incessant. Half the time, I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it.
So how’d I change?
For starters, I recognized that it was a habit I wanted to change. That’s the first step. You can’t get too far with anything if you don’t realize the commitment you’ll need to achieve a goal.
The second part had more to do with understand the reasons why I bit my fingernails. It really wasn’t the nail biting that was the issue; it was feeling anxious and nervous. This goes for eating as well. Maybe it’s a human instinct to put something in our mouths when we feel like that, but once I recognized that, I had to find ways to calm myself down.
I also recognized that this wasn’t going to happen overnight. I bit my fingernails for 40 years. I couldn’t expect I’d just flip a switch in my brain and change that. It ended up taking months if not a year to accomplish, but I did it.
I found tricks to calm myself, and cope with issues I was trying to change. I always kept on hand nail clippers. I would file them at any given time to remove snags that often led to my nibbling. I also would mentally say the word ‘calm’ in an inner voice that was low, slow, and almost sounding like the ‘Om’ in meditation. Oddly, it worked.
A few months into this, I realize my nails clicking against the table. I eventually needed to trim them. I had to learn to grow accustomed to having nails, like scratching myself where it hurt and reminding myself “Oh yeah, I have fingernails now”.
Now I don’t have any want of biting them at all.
I need to do the same for a few other habits- like the eating sweets. My dad used to call me Cookie Monster when I was little because my voracious want for all things sweet. It wasn’t a sweet tooth- heck, I had a set of sweet chompers. NOM NOM NOM
And I want to adopt a habit of exercising regularly. This will be tough because 1) I hate exercising, namely sweating. My glasses slip down my nose, and its just upleasant. And 2) I can’t figure out the best time to workout.
I’ll figure it out eventually.

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