In order to note good days and bad days, you'll need to rate each day with one number. No extensive journaling or record keeping, but one number a day. The pulling / picking scale I have devised is similar to the pain scale that you may be asked about at the doctor. You rate each day from 0 to 10. Zero means zero pulling, and 10 means YOUR worst day (use the last year as a way to measure your worst day). This is a subjective rating and does NOT have to be exact. You will know the difference between an 8 on the scale and a 2 once you start doing this.
Here is the thing about good days: They aren't zero pulling days, they are lower number days. Depending on what your average pulling or picking day is, the days you actually pull or pick if you don't do it daily, you will choose a number that is not lower than 3, and that is within your reach right now, to be a good day. If you get lots of 5s and 6s, a few 3s and 4s, and a few 8s through 10s, pick 4 and below as your good day. If on the days you pull or pick you get mostly 8s, 9s and 10s, and a few 6s or 7s, use 7 and below as a good day. If you get mostly 4s, 5s and 6s, a few 8s and 9s, a fews 3s, 2s and 1s, use 3 and below as your "good day." For many people 3 or 4 will be your good day. But again, if that is currently out of your reach and you never get 3s or 4s, then choose a 7 by all means.
The important thing is that what you consider a good day is a) not lower than 3, and b) not out of your reach right now.
You might keep a record of these numbers on your electronic calendar or on a paper calendar that you can make. But every day that is "Good" (a number you choose like 3, 4 or 5 or below) make a big X on that day. That's a recovery day. The idea is that each month you will have more and more of these good days. Once that is easy, you can lower the number you use for your good day, and work toward a slightly lower number. Your goal always and only is to lower your numbers each month, NOT to have your hair back or your skin looking great. So long as your goal is focused on the results not the journey, you will get discouraged and give up.
So shift your goal from "having my hair back" or "having my skin clear" to collecting 30 good days, then 60 good days, then 90 good days, but NOT sequentially. That's right. NOT sequentially. That means you can still have some very bad days. See if you can get 30 good days in a total of 60 days. (If you get 30 good days in 75 days, that's great; now try again to get 30 good days in 60 total days. Once you achieve that, work toward 30 good days in 45 days. Keep counting the good days even if you reach 45 and don't have the 30 good days. See how many days it takes. If it takes 50 or 60, great. Try again for the 30 days in 45 days.
If this is not going well for you, do NOT panic. That only means you must shift your goal. The most important thing here is to find a small goal you can achieve. If that means your good days are a higher number and in a larger total number of days, that's fine. When you get there, see if you can improve it just a little the next time. If you do this, you will succeed. However, remember this: If you are someone like most pullers and pickers who a) cannot set boundaries (no Mom, I don't want your opinion) or say no to people easily; b) who is a workaholic and perfectionist; c) has constant self criticism running through your head or d) who does not take time for yourself; or have any other issue that is troubling you including you depression, hating your job, being in an unhappy relationship, then you must deal with these things in order to recover. Get into therapy. Get into group. Go to a 12 step meeting if one applies. There are interns and trainees who can see you for little money. You must prioritize self care if you are to recover from these behaviors.
Being able to handle having had a bad day and put it in perspective may well be the single most important thing necessary to recovery. I believe that once we have a string of good days, the part of our psyche that has always had the behavior (addiction) to turn to, will panic. And the fear of never being able to do this again causes the addiction in those of us with these disorders to have really overwhelming urges on any one day. And the addiction always wins at that point if we look at our hair and skin and say, Ugh I have ruined it. What's the point?
If however your goal is to get more good days in a shorter period of time, you cannot fail. See how long it takes to get 30 good days (days that anywhere from a 3 and below to a 7 and a below). Next time around try to do it in a slightly shorter period of time. No matter how much you pull or pick, you cannot "undo" the success of having worked toward 30 good days in, say, 45 (or whatever your goal is). Eventually yes you will have hair and skin you are far happier with. But racking up good days is always your goal.
You'll also need to begin integrating relaxation into your life as you slowly pick or pull less and less. One simple example is the 4-4-4 technique. Close your eyes. Inhale slowly to the count of four. Hold for a count of four. Exhale slowly to the count of 4. Do this before you sit down at the computer or to watch TV or before drive or go to bed. You can do it more than once but even once will help.
If you had a bad day, be kind to yourself. You are already bummed after all. You didn't ask for this disorder and it isn't your fault you have it. Your addiction wants you to give up and give in because then you will indulge in the behavior you are addicted to. No matter how bummed you are, I PROMISE you this, it is NOT hopeless. I pulled daily constantly for 25 years. Now I don't. And I know so many people who picked or pulled and have gone through this and have stopped you cannot imagine. Recognize that it is the addiction whispering to you to make you feel and think, there is no point, it's hopeless, I'll never get better SO I MIGHT AS WELL PULL OR PICK Whatever else it does, if you refuse to let the addiction get you to give up, that is the most important thing, and then you are in recovery. And it gets easier. It really does.
I wish all of you healing and comfort as you continue on your journey.