As I’m writing this it happens to be right in the mix of the December holiday season. Around the planet, regardless of your particular ideological persuasion, there is a celebration for everyone. There is Hanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas and Kwanza just to name a few of the majors. However you look at it, it is a time to enjoy family, friends and acquaintances by opening your heart and home with loads of laughs and joyful noises. In other words, it’s a time to get to the essentials of what matters most in our lives… that being relationships. Of course, the importance of relationships is upon us throughout the year, but their significance becomes especially emotional when we seek to reach out and let others know how important they are to our lives. Now, this may seem a bit of a stretch, but your trading process is in relationship to you. In other words, what you do to support, develop and nurture your trading process while keeping promises are paramount when it comes to your trading process becoming the best that it can be… your A-Game. So, it’s crucial to know some of the essentials when it comes to promoting and fostering a strong and vibrant trading process. We might call these the “keys” to firing up the engine to your trading success. These keys are the necessary ingredients to achieving anything of value. They are major components to getting the trading results you want. Let’s list them briefly:
Goals are extremely important as you begin trading, and goals are designed to help you objectify and prioritize your steps to become a consistently successful trader. However, the precursor to setting those goals is to “see” your destination specifically and clearly. This vision is an outgrowth of the “why” you are trading in the first place… your purpose. It ties the what-matters-most in your life to the what-matters-most in the trade. This is where your passion is put in the service of propelling you toward that destination. Consider the power of beginning your trading session by imagining yourself doing exactly what was necessary to maintain your A-Game at the platform (trading the plan, following all the rules and keeping all of your commitments).
The next key is to have your beliefs in alignment with your vision. You’ve got to believe in your ability to learn, to be curious, to maintain a course of action and to generally believe in yourself. Now, this doesn’t mean that there are no challenges. On the contrary, you’ll want to uncover any limiting beliefs lurking just below the surface and neutralize and extricate them. In the same vein, nurture your positive beliefs by being self-aware and monitoring your thoughts in order to dispel any negative “out-of-alignment” thinking and turn that thinking around. Of course, you’ll want to have confidence (belief) in the trading set-ups, procedures and rules of your system. This is supported through back-testing and using feedback (documentation) so that you are measuring and verifying that your set-ups, procedures and rules are working for you.
3. A Strategy for Actualizing the Vision
A strategy is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. When you do anything (good or bad) you are using a strategy. Many traders fall into bad patterns and habits that stem from negative programming in their past. They are caught in strategies that don’t work; and they use them over and over expecting a different result. What is crucial is to develop your strategy for making that vision a reality. This goes for your internal data (thoughts, emotions and behaviors) as much as it does for your mechanical data (everything that has to do with the mechanics of the trade – charting, news, planning, execution, exiting, etc.) You’ll want to create a strategy for how you will prepare and engage a mindset with an attitude that has altitude; meaning that you employ mental/emotional tools to ensure that you remain on target, on task and on purpose in your follow-through.
4. Managing your state
An internal state is a condition or mindset of thinking and emotions. It is a frame of mind that encompasses beliefs, internal pictures, biases and memories. For instance, consider the emotion anxiety. It stems from thoughts that are anxiety producing such as watching the price action inch towards your stop-loss. However, the state of anxiety would also include memories of times that you were taken out of a trade and left behind to watch it hit what would have been your target, along with the sounds, feelings, and sights of that memory. Internal states are what govern your days and your trading. It is critical to “manage” your internal states using the internal data strategies as mentioned in the above.
There you have it. Your trading is serious and you’ll want to give the relationship to your trading process – yourself – every edge. When you are in the trader trenches it is imperative that you bring and maintain your A-Game at your platform. Your best is the only thing that will create the conditions for consistent positive results. Let’s face it, results is the name of the game. This is what we teach in “Mastering the Mental Game” Online, XLT and On-location courses. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information.
Also, get my book, “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader
Happy Trading… and Holidays
Dr. Woody Johnson