Monday, August 13, 2012

Will Power and Diamonds

When I was a little girl, I was a nail biter. I've always been a high energy person, and as someone with ADHD, there is a fair bit of low grade anxiety most of the time. So I used to bite my nails. Not only was it a sort of gross habit, it was also incredibly unbecoming. (Note: I am not picking on any nail biters out there. I promise there will be a point to all of this.) I was about 9 years old when my mom struck a deal with me. If I didn't bite my nails for two months, she would buy me a diamond ring. If I needed them trimmed or if I broke one, I was to tell her and she would trim them for me. So there stood this major challenge before me. If I did it, I would get the one thing I have loved since I could see shiny things--jewelry. No joke, since I was a very little child I have loved the sparkly. Non-vampire form of sparkly. I digress. Prior to this deal I struck with my mom, she had tried everything to get me to stop biting them. She had used this bitter nail polish type stuff to make my nails taste bad, she had begged and pleaded, she had spanked and grounded me and nothing seemed to work. But this time, she had dangled the ultimate carrot in front of my face. I wanted the diamond ring so bad, I was willing to do anything. So I stopped biting my nails. I stopped cold turkey.

Sixty days is not a terribly long period of time, but for a nine-year-old it may as well be a year. Sixty days of not biting my nails was an awful length of time. It dragged on and on. But after a while, the desire to bite my nails was gone. I knew that I was going to get my ring instead. I remember every time we would get an ad from the store, I would go tearing through it to make sure that they still had the ring that I wanted. Finally the weekend after the sixty days was completed, my mom took me to collect my prize. I still remember walking into that jewelry store.  It had super thick red carpet that muffled your steps. I could be a ninja on that carpet. I picked out my ring, it said "Love" with a heart for the "o" and a tiny diamond chip in the middle of it. It may have cost about $20-$30 total, but I could have cared less. It seemed to me to have cost thousands, and in my young life I had not owned anything so beautiful. It was all mine, and I had earned it.

I was telling my girlfriends this story at lunch on Friday as we sat in a restaurant and they ate the food they ordered, I ate the lunch I had packed. ( I clearly have no sense of shame, but it was the only way for me to have an accurate calorie count.) My friend Stephanie looks at me and remarks at the story, "Wow! You have so much will power!" I just looked at her dumbfounded. I have never in my life associated my character with having any amount of self-control. Impulse control issues was what I associated with me, not will power. But what she said so resonated with me that I had to write it down. What I realized about my success and breaking this bad habit: 1) It was a specific goal. 2) There was a specific time frame involved. 3) There was a prize at stake. 4) I wanted to do it. Even though it was my mom's idea, I wanted it. I want this success, even though it's going to take more than 60 days. I want this more than anything, and I have time specific goals as well as numbers that I want to achieve. Perhaps I may need to add a prize to my current goals. Something shiny seems appropriate. Or several prizes...I like that idea too.


Rest day. My knees are still hurting a lot and after Friday's WOD I have limped all weekend long. I am beginning to wonder if I need to see a specialist about getting those shots in them. I may also need to revamp my workouts in general. More rowing, less box jumps.


Breakfast: 3 Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage links, 3 eggs, coffee with h&h and Splenda/Truvia. I am trying to make the switch to Truvia, but it's a process, I am using a little bit of Splenda still but I am not replacing it once I run out.

Snack: 2 string cheese sticks.

Lunch: spinach salad with turkey breast, half an avocado, and spicy low-fat ranch. 1 serving Baked Ruffles. Rrrrruffles have rrrrrridges. Bonus points if you remember that commercial.

Snack: I have a protein shake or almonds if I get hungry for a second snack, but I'm not committed to eating it just yet.

Dinner: chicken breast, with garlic and lemon, salt and pepper. 2 cups steamed broccoli. Broccoli makes me happy, and fills me up. May put some butter on it. We'll see what my calorie count is at at this point.

I like this new perspective I have on myself, and my character. I've always considered myself tenacious, and a strong willed, but having will power is new to me. It's growing on me too. And in case you're wondering, that ring still sits in my jewelry box, 26 years later. Special thanks to my friend Stephanie, who sees things in me that I don't, and to my mom who is still teaching me about myself at the age of 35.




  1. First, who doesn't remember ruffles have ridges?! Second, why is truvia Better than splenda? And finally Costco has lots of good something shiny's and I'd be happy to help you select the prize! End goal is definitely needed!

  2. Erin, you are awesome! This is why we are friends. Second, my naturopathic doctor has been preaching th ills of Splenda for a long time, it's a lot of chemicals. Truvia is plant based, and it's a simple process. This brand in particular is good because it doesn't have a bitter aftertaste. And finally, yes please! I can't believe we've never done a Costco trip together!

  3. wow, that's a really great insight!!! I love motivation/goal setting stuff--I may use that story sometime!
    P.s. I'm a nail biter to this day! Not 'down to the nubs' and not even obsessively--I 'trim my nails with my teeth.' Little tiny bits of dead skin drive me bonkers! I have never kicked the habit--never had a good enough carrot!