Every day is a new day. And that’s the beauty of trading. You can always start over. But if you want to make a fresh start, you need a reality check.
Put your ego aside and take a serious look at what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong.
Most traders, especially when they’re losing money, can’t do that.
But if you’re ready to take control of your trading, you can start now. Here’s how:
Your first step to getting on track and stemming the bleeding is to know where you stand.
Take your last 12 months of trade data and put it in a spreadsheet.
Start working your numbers and look for the common threads.
If you look deep enough, you’re going to see some really interesting things… especially if you think about your life outside of trading.
I’ve seen many traders post their worst results when they’re having family, career, or health problems. Something big like a divorce or surgery can really set you back.
A lot of traders think they can fight their way through anything. And you do need a little bit of that attitude to get ahead in life. But if a major life event throws you off your mental game, take a break, regroup, and come back fresher.
Your #1 goal for the second half should be to break bad habits.
Make a list of habits that cost you money and print it out. Then, post it at your desk and read it every day.
Breaking bad habits gives you results.
For example, let’s say you keep breaking your daily loss limit, which drags down your average daily P&L by $500. If you can eliminate that bad habit and take back that $500, you’re going to have an extra $10,000 a month. That takes care of a lot of mortgage and tuition payments.
How do you do this? Start by following the list you just made.
Successful people don’t come into work wondering what they’re going to do.
They have a routine. Elite performers like Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill and Benjamin Franklin all used daily routines to stay productive and on track.
Trading is no different.
So, I’m challenging you to make a checklist of 10 things you’re going to do when you get to your trading desk in the morning. This can be stuff you’re already doing.
But I want you to systemize it so you flow from one task to the next without getting sidetracked by the news, social media, or TV. It could be checking news, scanning charts, tracking futures, previewing the economic numbers, whatever.
Just have a routine and stick to it.
I love trading. But I’d hate it if I never got away to blow off steam.
I highly recommend picking up a sport or hobby that forces you to be 100% in the moment. Start running, swimming, playing chess, or even video games to give your trading brain a rest.
You’ll work out your stress and come back fresh. Plus, you’ll be taking better care of your body.
Your P&L is tied to your health.
If you eat well, and get to sleep at a decent hour, you’re going to be a better performer day in and day out.
But if you’re coming in on 4 hours of sleep and chugging coffee to stay awake, you’re doing this all wrong!
You’ll never get where you want to go in trading if you can’t see the truth about yourself.
Hopefully, you now have some ideas that can help you take that first step towards turning your P&L around.
Chief Strategic Officer, T3 Trading Group