What you're missing in your Trading Routine?

building discipline trading routine Jan 19, 2024
Trading Routine

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Trading, much like professional sports, is not for the faint-hearted. It's a high-stakes, high-pressure environment where milliseconds decisions can have monumental consequences. As a Trading Mindset Coach and a seasoned Day Trader, I've lived through the rollercoaster of emotions that the market can invoke. My journey over the past decade has taught me that to excel in this demanding world, one needs more than just knowledge of the market; one needs a fortified mindset, a disciplined routine, and an unyielding commitment to personal growth.

This blog is for you, the high achiever, who has tasted success in trading, but knows that consistency is the real trophy in this game. 

How to achieve trading consistency?

One of the most effective ways to achieve consistency in your trading performance lies in something very simple and follows the principle of how you do one thing that's how you do everything. If you want to be consistent in trading, build consistency around it.

Building Your Trading Routine is a KEY!

To make it even simpler: build a consistent trading routine that supports you in your trading efforts and that includes all elements involved in trading. So not only your game plan but also a proper preparation of your mind and body. 

What is routine giving me? Your routine will serve you as a solid FOUNDATION on which you can depend and use to build your confidence.

Here, I will provide you with a framework for such a routine, but it is not enough to just read about it. To be
able to turn it into a key to the "kingdom of success" you will need to practice it, adapt it to your needs, and make it an integral part of your lifestyle. So, if you’re ready, read on and learn how to turn your daily trading routine into a foundation for a strong trading performance.


How to Build Your Trading Routine?


Phase 1: Morning Preparation 

You're just starting your trading day. So what is the objective? Starting it with Clarity and Focus!

Regardless of your best intentions from the previous day, the moment you wake up check the CNBC app, and look at your watchlist your mind starts filling up with thoughts. These thoughts can easily sway you away from your initial game plan or create a certain bias that will influence how you perceive the market (and therefore your trading decisions).

That's why it is crucial to include an activity into your morning daily trading routine aiming to quiet your mind and focus on the present moment. That will help you create the right momentum for the rest of the day and support a solid trading performance. Starting your day with a clean slate is like the gate to your trading zone.

πŸ’‘ What kind of activities should you include in your morning daily trading routine? Here are some examples:  

  • Morning journaling
  • Meditate
  • Practice mental skills, such as visualizing
  • Practice breathing
  • Do Yoga or mindful exercise
  • Go for a walk in nature
  • Dress nicely
  • Listen to an inspiring podcast or music you love

These activities help you get rid of the noise in your head and bring focus and positive vibrations to your thoughts. Journaling, meditating on, and holding thoughts about your big goals, things and people you are grateful for, all the good that is happening in your life right now, and all that you want to happen in the future. The result of all this is feeling good about yourself, about your efforts, and taking away the worries about the future. By doing this daily routine consistently you will build confidence and feel worthy of the success you desire.


Phase 2: Navigating Your Trading Day

Now you're entering the part of the day where you need laser focus. The discipline to consequently follow your trading plan.

So what is the objective?
Stick to your plan (!), keep the stress level low, focus on the price action, and enjoy.

If you do not prepare mentally before entering this part of the day, most likely you will start trading with high expectations. Not just towards the market, but also towards yourself creating extra pressure and setting yourself up for failure. But let's say, you did your morning daily routine and you are now mentally prepared. So, you are sitting in front of your screens and the market starts triggering all kinds of thoughts and emotions. Your previous losses pop up in your head, your hopes to make them back and you get this strong feeling of not wanting to lose again. All that is playing in the background causing you plenty of unpleasant physical sensations, while you are trying to focus and make the right decisions. You don't even know anymore if what you are thinking is the right decision or if is it your ego that is telling you to prove yourself right. It can be confusing and overwhelming...

So what I'm suggesting?

  • Have your game plan written down and in front of you
  • Pick a focus area related to your process (not P&L)
  • Eliminate distractions and "golden trading tips" from other traders
  • Write down or speak out loud your thoughts and emotions during your day
  • Listen and follow the signals your body gives you
  • Take small breaks away from the screen
  • Take a lunch break
  • Take a nap

The biggest challenge in trading is switching your focus from the result to the process. It seems so counterintuitive because you are trading to make money after all, right? But consider this, if you work let's say as a manager or a lawyer, or even if you are an Uber driver, you focus on the steps you are taking to accomplish your tasks. You are thinking "What's the best way to get from A to B", right? It's okay to look for the most profitable way to do it, but that's still focusing on the process. If you are constantly thinking about money in trading, you are assured to ride a daily emotional rollercoaster!

Trading is a stressful activity and if you want to perform well you need your body and your brain to support you. You cannot expect a good trading performance if your nervous system is on the highest alert all the time, putting your body into survival mode. Implementing these activities into your daily trading routine will give your body and your brain a chance to help you succeed. Listen to your body because when it comes to trading it is "the smart guy" in the room at all times.

Phase 3: Closing Your Trading Day

It's almost done! What is the objective now? Reflect, Rejuvenate, and Reset!

After a day of trading filled with struggle to follow my plan and stress, the closing bell was the most beautiful sound. It was like a savior taking me out of my misery. My trading day was done. I knew I needed to prepare for the next day, but I never considered my evening activities as part of my daily trading routine. At that time I didn't realize how important they were to my trading performance. 

My point is, that your trading day continues even after you are done with the charts. After exiting the prolonged state of concentration and pressure you need to reset your system. And I mean your body and mind. It would be best if you let your nervous system relax and your mind refills with fresh energy. If you don't do that, it's very easy to drag the frustration and pain of this day to the next day. Learning to let go and disconnect will not only help you stay well, but it will bring more peace and joy to your dinner table. 

But how?

  • Define your learning points for the next day
  • Go for a walk and pay attention to your environment 
  • Think about what you love about trading
  • Exercise - helps get out of your head
  • Breathe deeply
  • Listen to music you love
  • Give somebody a hug
  • Practice an act of kindness
  • Practice self-love 

Being a successful trader is not a job. It's a lifestyle. It's an ongoing process and does not stop with a closing bell. It's a journey to self-mastery, discipline, continuously evaluating your performance, and looking for ways to improve it. And because how you do one thing that's how you do everything, everything you do needs to support your trading. Please don't take it lightly. Building a solid daily trading routine will have a significant positive impact on your performance. However, it will take time and true commitment.

πŸ’‘ Rome wasn't built in a day. But the sooner you begin, the sooner you get there. If you want to improve your trading results, there is no reason to wait. 


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Agnieszka Wood


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