Why some traders succeed and others fail? If you are a trader yourself I’m sure you have already asked yourself this question several times and you probably got several good answers too. Discipline to commit, faith on our own capability, emotional strength, motivation, etc. are all leading indicators of success.
But, in my experience, I would say that achieve consistency is the pivot moment in a trader’s growth: consistency in the actions done day after day is what brings in consistent profits.
If you are a busy person with several things going on in your life, it may seem hard to achieve consistency and routine on a daily basis. But does this mean that you cannot improve? Hell, no!
As far as I know many readers have a 5/9 job and, on the top of that, they trade the markets. It is hard to succeed in those conditions. But with the right attitude and the right network of traders, I think it can be done. The secret is to start and to develop consistency in go through your own process.
But what is consistency? According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, consistency is the “harmony of conduct or practice with profession“. To achieve consistency you need to develop good habits and routines. You have to keep your process simple, because if you over-complicate it, chances are that you will give up.
You should find a routine that you can repeat day in, day out for months. Start with something simple and build it on it. Go with incremental steps. Go with trials and errors, but do the same thing over and over again.
According to Dr. Phillippa Lally, on average it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to build a new habit. Since you don’t know in advance how long is going to take for you, consider 254 days (8 months) of efforts, then you will likely process things automatically.
Of course your routine shall have a logic and your trading plan also. Then you have to follow only a rule: try to never miss a day (or a week, if you have weekly routines). Believe me, after a few months your process will require zero efforts. You’ll get your trading, your preparation and your analysis done every day perfectly and with the same automatism that brings you to the bathroom every morning to wash your teeth.
The more you enjoy the process, the easier is for you to build consistency and good habits. That is why you must love what you do!
There is a nice book that I read recently, it is called Daily Routines. This book talks about how the most extraordinary works of imagination are often created by artists working to predictable daily routines. By repeating the same routine every day, all these people were effectively hypnotizing themselves, deliberately altering their state of consciousness in order to access the “deeper state of mind” that allowed them to work their creative magic. The different elements of the routine become associated with this creative state of mind, so that they can re-enter it by simply repeating the steps of the routine. Traders often refer to a similar state of mind as “The Zone”.
I have morning trading routines, afternoon trading routines and weekend trading routines. The “FOREX, Futures and Equities – Classical Chart Patterns Report” is part of my weekend routine and I never miss one. I would probably not trade for the whole next week if I miss my weekend chart review. For me it has become such a ritual! It gives me information, ideas and confidence.
What are the trading routines and habits that make you a better trader?