I am not saying I am a pro at painting my nails... but I know there is things I should be doing but don't do. I know just being Lazy :)
Remove any existing nail polish so your nails are clean... don't throw away the cotton pad/ball with the polish remover on it just yet.
Moisturize Moisturize Moisturize your hands. This helps nail polish from sticking to your skin. But, it also can prevent the polish from lasting on your nails, so once you've moisturized, swipe the nail polish remover over the nails again to remove any oils from your nails.
Next, apply a base coat. It will help protect your nails against color bleeding. So lets say you put on some Pink polish and you remove it but your nails still look like your rocking orange nails. That's not cute at all.
Apply one to two coats of nail polish over the base coat (You might have to do more based on Polish). Placing the brush about half-way down your nail, push downward until you almost touch your nail bed. Then reverse and sweep upward. Of course you would do this to each nail.
Once your nails look the way you want... wait for a few and then go over your hands with the polish remover-soaked cotton swab, removing any excess smudges or nail polish.
Last but not least apply another layer of your base coat or a separate clear top coat to each nail and Voilaaaaa!!!