Become a Successful Trader

February 4, 2014

Unconventional Ways to Create Good Habits & Achieve Goals

Apple Tree

It’s about that time… You’ve given up on (or broke) your New Year’s resolution(s). Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

You don’t have to admit defeat just yet. Remember, you’re not a failure unless you stop trying.

[quote]“Good habits are as good as bad habits, only a lot more rewarding”[/quote]

Here are some ways to create habits you can stick with:

Crawl before you can walk

Start small, like really small. Something so simple and easy it’s almost impossible not to succeed.

If you’re goal is to “read more in 2014” start by making a list of the books you’d like to read. Or checking a book out from the library, or even picking out a spot where you are going to do your reading.

I’m not too big on New Year’s resolutions; I’d rather have one big goal that all my focus on and drives everything else that I do. I did however want to read more in 2014 so I decided to set a goal of reading 20 pages per day, that’s it.

It only took a week for me to get sucked into some great books and now I find myself reading for an hour before bed and first thing when I wake up.

It’s amazing what baby steps can do.

How to increase your goal success rate

In my last post of 2013 I wrote about goal setting for traders. It’s important to quantify a goal, meaning tie it to a specific date and have some measurable factor to which you can measure it as a success.

In trading though, assigning dates to some goals is a bad thing.

For example:

Rather than creating the goal of having X amount of dollars in your trading account by X date, or trading X many contracts by X date shift the focus to what makes the goal a success.

If you’re trading 1 ES contract with a $5000 account instead of saying “I want to grow my account to $10,000 by end of next month” it’s more advantageous to set a goal of “being profitable for 8 consecutive weeks.”

This addresses the core issue, being consistently profitable, and thus ensures all your efforts are focused to getting to that goal.

The more you clarify your goals, the more successful you’ll be.

3 bad habits to break in 2014

Another way to create good habits than can have a powerful impact on your trading is to break bad ones.

Here are some things to stop doing in 2014:

1. Turn off the TV: There’s a reason it’s nicknamed the idiot box.

If you must, rent a movie, or watch a show on Hulu, but make a point to watch less TV.

Helpful Hint: If turning on the TV is habit, start with day a week no TV watching, or make a list of all the shows you watch regularly and narrow them down to your top 3 – 5.

2. Stop listening to pop radio: I gather most of my audience doesn’t have this problem, but pop radio is just as bad as TV. Filled with celebrity gossip, consumerism, and ads. Instead, try listening to a podcast, or talk radio, or even classical!

Helpful Hint: Make a point to leave 5-minutes earlier. Allowing the extra 5-minutes is enough time to lower your stress level and not feel rushed.

3. Stop live trading if you’re unsure of yourself: Whenever you doubt yourself, your methodology, or don’t feel confident your trading suffers. Remember that the markets will ALWAYS be there for us so there’s no rush to take a new strategy or idea to print immediately.

Helpful Hint: Take the time to master your ideas on paper first. Once you’ve proven to yourself that your idea has some validity on paper you can begin to trade live.

With all the emotional aspects that come into play with live trading you need to be totally comfortable with your entry, exit, and trade management criteria.

Make a point in 2014 to challenge yourself. When two paths lay before you, make a conscious effort to take the one that looks more challenging and learn as you go. In the end it will be more rewarding.

Good habits to strive for in 2014

  • Walk for 10-minutes 2x a day
  • Reconnect with 1 dormant tie (an old friend) each week
  • Take a different route home from work each day
  • Do a Weekly 80/20

A New Year means a fresh start and new beginnings, but the same can be said for a new month, or a new week. Make a conscious effort to do the little things each day and together they will help you reach your goals faster.

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About Tim Racette
Tim Racette is a day trader of 15+ years in the E-mini futures and swing trader of stocks. Mountain biker, lover of the outdoors, and explorer. Tim is an ASU Sun Devil and a Chicagoland Native now living in sunny Scottsdale, AZ.

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