Tracking your picking daily can help reduce picking

Trudi Griffin - LPC
Jun 22nd, 2017

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Annette Pasternak's very first stop skin picking coaching client, Carly talks about her journey and the strategies that have been most helpful to her in the long-term. Number one is logging, tracking her picking daily. She uses different methods of monitoring picking, from the SkinPick app to a simple calendar tracking method. 

How tracking helps

Tracking daily skin picking activity is a mindful practice that can help in a number of ways.

A mindful practice

What do we mean by mindful practice? Mindfulness is the process of being present in the moment, aware of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help you separate of the behavior of skin picking from your identity and objectively evaluate where you are and where you want to be.

Increase awareness

We think we know a lot about our habits, but tracking them provide revealing insights. In the early stages of treatment, identifying habits, triggers, and behaviors related to skin picking helps to formulate a treatment plan consistent with your goals. Think of tracking as a way to investigate how the skin picking disorder affects your life.

  • Recognize habits. Tracking picking will help identify picking habits. Maybe there are times of day, locations, or life events that influence your picking behaviors in ways that are not always noticed.
  • Awareness of triggers. Sometimes we are not aware of why we do what we do or what causes us to start. Triggers can include locations, people, events, or feelings.
  • Awareness of how stress affects skin picking. Tracking behaviors as well as thoughts, feelings, and event surrounding picking will help you become more aware of trends in picking behavior.
  • Increased awareness of how much time is spent on picking can be an eye opener as well, especially those who pick without being aware they are doing it.

As your awareness of your habits increased, you can make decisions about how you would like to change. 

Take control

Tracking picking behavior and recognizing patterns allows you to take steps to control it.  For example, let's say you recognize that the compulsion to pick increases following being around certain people because it leads to stress. Then, you can experiment with different skills. You may decide to avoid those people or spend less time with them to see what happens. By tracking, you can determine if there is a difference. In addition, if you have to be around those people, you can experiment with with different coping skills before, during, and after to see if those have any effect.


Tracking picking and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that accompany it also allows for objective evaluation. For example, if by tracking your habits you learn that you spend 12 hours per week picking, one of your treatment goals may be to find ways to decrease it. Then, when you implement strategies and track your time, you may find out you decrease to 9 hours per week. Without tracking, you may feel like you have not decreased enough, but with tracking, you can note your progress and celebrate success no matter how small. 

There are many reasons tracking picking behavior can help during treatment. Not everyone stops picking completely, but tracking can help you on your way to feeling like you can control the behavior.

Trudi Griffin - LPC


Education, experience, and compassion for people informs Trudi's research and writing about mental health. She holds a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Addictions and Mental Health from Marquette University, with Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. Before committing to full-time research and writing, she practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor providing therapy to people of all ages who struggled with addictions, mental health problems, and trauma recovery in community health settings and private practice.

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