Guest Post by JB Marwood @MarwoodJB on Twitter.
It was 10:30 AM and I’d already been through so many round trips I could probably claim back a flight to Las Vegas.
We’d previously been told not to look at our P&L’s, but I just couldn’t help myself. Every 20 seconds I’d bring the window back up and see just how much money I’d lost over the past couple of hours.
I was overtrading. With every little price movement the market made I saw a profitable pattern in my head. Every time I pounced on one, I broke my rules and I invariably lost money.
I was new to the markets then but I wasn’t so new that I didn’t realise the dangerous cycle of overtrading and poor discipline.
I’d lost a chunk of money and I was determined to get it back. But it took many years before I ever got near to doing that.
Only when I realised the importance of trading discipline did I start to make progress and take back my money from the market.
Rule #1. Work at it.
The number one thing to realise is that discipline is a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it gets.
If you trade too many times a day, cut down by just one trade a day. If you’re struggling to put in the hours needed to be successful, start putting in a little bit more. Work 10 mins more a day, then 20 minutes, then an hour.
Keep practicing, keep working at it, and your discipline will grow. Just like a muscle.
Rule #2. Keep your goals in mind.
On my desktop, and on my wall, I’ve got a poster that I put together using images of all the things that inspire me. You could call it a mood-board but it’s more of an ‘inspire-board’.
There’s a picture of Tokyo on there because I love to travel. There’s a little cabin in the mountains that I’d like to buy and live in for a couple of months a year. There’s a classic Mercedes Benz with a soft-top.
Every morning before I do anything else I take a look at those images and it focuses my mind. I know that these are the things I really want and if I stay disciplined today I’ll achieve my goals.
Rule #3. Have a plan.
It may be a cliche but #1 and #2 are only possible if you have a plan. Without a trading plan you can’t be disciplined because you don’t know where to start. Without a trading plan you won’t have the path or route to reach your destination.
Trading plans are best hatched at night or early morning, when the markets are closed. It doesn’t matter if your plan fails, so much as you follow your plan.
As traders, we perform best when we steer clear of emotion. And following the plan is the best way to do that. Work on the plan, fine-tune the plan, then do your best to stick to it. Your P&L will never have looked so good.
JB Marwood is an independent trader, writer, and stock market enthusiast. For more trading tips and strategies, check out his blog at: decodingmarkets.com