How To Stop Biting Your Nails: A Witty Guide to Ditching Your Oldest Bad Habit

How To Stop Biting Your Nails

Nail-biting. The ever-so-sophisticated habit that’s right up there with wine tasting and attending the opera. Your friends marvel at your ability to multitask — eating finger food, typing emails, and shortening your nails all with a few swift chomps. You’ve gotten so good at it that you’re considering putting “professional nail-biter” on your resume. Bravo!

But let’s say, hypothetically, you’ve seen the light. You’ve decided that maybe, just maybe, having fingernails that actually extend beyond your fingertips could be a good thing. Maybe you’re tired of the incessant scolding from your dentist who swears you’re single-handedly funding his yearly trip to the Bahamas. Whatever the reason, you’re ready for a change.

Step 1: Admit You Have a ‘Talont’

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem — or in this case, a “talont.” Get it? Talon, like a bird’s claw, but you’ve got “talent” for making yours disappear. Comedy gold, I tell you. But seriously, acknowledge that this is a habit you’d like to kick. Accept that every time you put your fingers near your mouth, you’re not being dainty and poised; you’re chomping away at your own body like a woodchipper set loose on a forest.

Step 2: Find Your Trigger

Before you can quit, you need to know why you’re doing it in the first place. Stress? Boredom? A deep-seated desire to audition for a horror film as a hand model? Figuring out the trigger can help you find healthier outlets. Instead of biting your nails, you can maybe stress-eat a pound of broccoli or start a Twitter feud with a celebrity. Choices, people!

Step 3: Set a ‘Nail Goal’

Dream big. Maybe one day you can use your nails to slice an apple or climb up a building. In the meantime, start small. Paint your nails with the most obnoxious color you can find, something you’d never want to ingest. Neon green, perhaps? The goal here is to make your nails so spectacularly hideous that you won’t even want to put them near your face, let alone in your mouth.

Step 4: Use Tools of Distraction

Invest in a stress ball, a fidget spinner, or even a Rubik’s Cube. Anything that can keep your hands busy is a plus. If you’re really dedicated, you could even tie your hands to your chair, but that might make other tasks like eating and typing a bit tricky. So, you know, weigh your options.

Step 5: Bribery Works

Tell your friends and family about your goal and then bribe them to snitch on you. Make it lucrative. Promise them a free dinner for every time they catch you in the act. Sure, you might go broke, but at least you’ll have fabulous nails. Or you could just set up a tip jar. Every time you catch yourself biting, drop a dollar in. At the end of the year, you’ll have either quit biting your nails or funded your dentist’s upgrade from the Bahamas to the Maldives.

Step 6: Embrace the Glove

If all else fails, take a fashion tip from Michael Jackson and go for the single glove look. Yes, wearing gloves might make you look like you’re prepping for surgery or about to commit a dainty crime, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Try explaining to people that it’s a “fashion statement,” or better yet, that you’re getting into character for a play. Plus, gloves offer a second layer of fabric to chew through before you get to your nails. Call it a dental obstacle course.

Step 7: Mindfulness, or Being Too Zen to Bite

You’ve heard of mindfulness, haven’t you? It’s the latest fad that people can’t stop talking about, like avocado toast or cancelling plans to stay in and watch Netflix. Basically, it means being present in the moment. So, the next time you find your fingers wandering toward your mouth, take a deep breath. Center yourself. Then slap your hand away. See? Mindfulness.

Step 8: Spicy Fingertips

If you have a palate that is on the milder side, this step is your new best friend. Douse your fingertips in something unappetizing like hot sauce or even bitter nail polish made especially to break the habit. Every time you go in for a nibble, you’ll get a mouthful of regret. Just remember to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes. Trust me.

Step 9: Surround Yourself with “Nail-tivators”

This is like a motivator but specifically for your nails. Surround yourself with pictures of gorgeous manicures, follow Instagram accounts dedicated to nail art, and subscribe to “Nail Weekly.” Okay, I made that last one up, but if it existed, you’d subscribe, wouldn’t you? The goal is to make your new obsession everyone else’s problem.

Step 10: Celebrate Small Wins

Grow a millimeter of nail? That’s a victory. Manage to sit through an entire movie without biting? Throw a parade in your honor. Made it a whole week? Buy yourself something nice, like a ring to show off your now-visible nails, or maybe invest in a manicure. You’ve earned it!

Bonus Step: If All Else Fails, Get a Hobby

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t shake the habit, maybe it’s time to invest in a time-consuming and hand-occupying hobby. Learn to juggle. Take up knitting. Start playing the guitar. Do something that makes it absolutely impossible for you to keep up your nail-biting ways. Your nails will thank you, and hey, you might even pick up a skill more impressive than your uncanny ability to nibble yourself down to the quick.

So there you have it — a comprehensive guide to quitting your nail-biting habit and absolutely crushing your dentist’s dreams of a new yacht. Now go forth, newly minted non-nail-biters, and may your biggest problem be figuring out how to gracefully handle your newfound claws.