If you are anything like me then the passage of time seems to be speeding up; as in just a few weeks ago it was December, 2011! And so we are in the early throes of 2016, can you believe it! But, of course, we are grateful that we are still here alive and relatively well because whatever situation may challenge us, know that it could always be worse. Given that, the New Year holds much promise for us as another opportunity in every part of our lives; it all depends on you and what you are willing to give and persevere for the results that you want, either in trading or in life.
As this is the New Year, many of you have identified a list of resolutions that you have sworn to maintain. Every year millions of people make lists of resolutions and are gung ho for about 2 weeks…if that long, towards keeping them. Does this sound familiar? Now, if they actually kept their resolutions and commitments to better health, losing weight, writing a book, or putting more time into their trading these folks would end the year way ahead of the game and would have achieved a great deal and perhaps would have actually turned the corner to becoming a more successful trader. But, how do you do that? How do you ensure that after you make a resolution, you’ll follow-through? Well, there are ways to deal with errant and inconsistent follow-through in order to keep those commitments. The answer is to develop potent routines that become habits towards your resolutions in order to realize those goals.
New (positive) habits begin with an intentional behavior that’s repeated, over and over; in other words a routine. After the goal has been identified, break down the item into objectives and tasks. For each objective make a list of tasks that need to be completed; then prioritize those tasks. What you have created is a prioritized checklist which then becomes your hourly, daily, weekly and monthly routine. Routines are the building blocks of habits. An intentional routine is a regularly scheduled behavior, but you still must consciously think about it because the behavior has not dropped into subconscious control. Habits are automatic behavior patterns that you have done so many times that the action is controlled by the unconscious. In other words, you’ll do what is best for you without thinking!
“Psycho-Cybernetics” was written by Dr. Maxwell Maltz in 1960; a ground breaking book in which he described the power of the mind and ways to harness that power. A major part of his treatise had to do with the creation of habits. He also stated in the book that it takes about 21 days to instill a habit. Actually, when you want to establish a strong habit for your trading, it is much more effective to engage the behavior every day for 60 to 90 days. You want a strong habit because bringing your highest and best trader to the platform in order to access and activate internal resources is crucial to your trading.
To illustrate, you need an appropriate blood sugar level to support a clear mind, a hydrated body so that your internal physiological system communicates cellular information efficiently, a focused intention that comes from being centered and grounded and an emotionally stable demeanor that is connected to confidence. Furthermore, you need to be aligned in body, mind, and emotions in order to handle potential conflicts that could and would be distractions. By developing a foundation in the morning consisting of a powerful morning routine you’ll support your “internal data” meaning your thinking, emotions and behavior; and you’ll support your “mechanical data” that is, the market information, news, charts, and indicators. These intentionally repeated actions will, after 60 to 90 days become unconsciously driven behavioral patterns of deliberate goal oriented strategies leading to much better trading results. The reason you make resolutions about your trading is due to the frequency with which you experience being out-of-control and breaking trading rules, but you would go a long way to getting back in control if you created a routine and checklist that you could follow, which would after a short while habituate and set the stage for building your skill levels.
Routines create new habits and if you identify and write down a routine/checklist for the beginning of your trading session, you‘ll initiate a device for optimal capability to “see” the reality of the price action and the order flow. It’s not enough to prepare only for the mechanical data. You must also prepare your internal data if you want to have any chance of becoming an elite trader and maintaining your “A” Game to the platform. Design how you are going to trade by learning and using mental and emotional tools to consistently trade “as” a winner. In the Extended Learning Track “Mastering the Mental Game,” we show you how to get your highest and best game ready to perform effectively in the markets and to keep it there while trading. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information about the Online Mastering the Mental Game Courses. Also, read my book; “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.”
Dr. Woody Johnson