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Confession: Until pretty recently, we were card-carrying nail biters. We’re not proud, but it’s true. It wasn’t until we employed these seven tips that our hands went from looking like those of a nervous 12-year-old to those of an actual grown-up with a 401(k) and a mortgage. Was it tough to break the habit? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

RELATED: 22 Tips for Really Pretty Nails

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Treat Yourself to Manis When You Can
Nail polish in general is a deterrent from biting, but nail polish that’s been carefully applied by a professional you gave your hard-earned money to is a major deterrent from biting. So while painting your own nails will certainly make you think twice before chomping away, we rely on perfectly done salon jobs to really guilt ourselves out of it.

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Keep Your Nails on the Shorter Side
The longer the nail, the higher the likelihood of snags that lead to biting. By keeping your nails trimmed, you’re less at risk.  

Apply Bitter-Tasting Polish
Available over the counter, these safe but gross-tasting formulas (like SuperNail’s Bite No More) aim to stop you from biting your nails by making it a really unpleasant experience. The trick here is making yourself continuously reapply it.

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Identify Your Triggers
And avoid them or brainstorm solutions for coping. Take note of when you’re most likely to bite your nails. Is it when you’re stressed? When you’re bored? From there, avoid those situations, if possible, and if not, come up with ways to deal. For example, if you’re biting when you’re bored, keep your hands busy with needlepoint or adult coloring. To manage stress and anxiety, consider deep breathing or meditation.

Try to Phase It Out
When it comes to quitting bad habits, cold turkey only works sometimes. If you haven’t had luck in the past, try to take it slow and stop biting your nails one finger at a time. It might look a little weird while you’re in the process of quitting, but once you see how great your healthy nails look, it’ll be all the motivation you’ll need to keep going.

RELATED: The Real Reason Your Nails Keep Splitting

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Enlist Your Friends
Tell the people you’re around most about your goal to stop biting your nails and ask them to call you out if they see you doing it. If you’re really just doing it mindlessly, it’ll help to have someone mentioning it, and if you’re very aware of your behavior, having someone hold you accountable might guilt you into stopping.

Be Patient
Real talk: You aren’t going to have hand-model-esque nails the second you stop biting, and you shouldn’t expect to. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get there eventually. The key is to stick with it and not give up before you see any results. Trust us, as reformed biters, it’s kind of weird how gratifying it is to be complimented on our almond-shaped talons now.

RELATED: 5 Easy Ways to Make Your Nails Grow Faster

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