With the start of a new year we always hear about resolutions, or trying to arrest bad habits and to start on a path of good ones. It’s usually easier said than done and we often find by the end of January our motivation has disappeared and we fall back into the same old patterns and habits. The challenge is to make a goal of improvement and sticking to it. There are a million excuses for falling off course but for the truly dedicated and committed they stick to it and become better.
To be honest, the New Year is just more awareness than anything. Realistically, you can change your habits any day/time of the year, not just the beginning. I get the excitement and potential momentum from a renewal or rebirth, but for someone serious about their craft they are always looking for ways to improve. Below is a short list that may give you an edge. Think about what you need to improve personally and work on it!
- Feedback mechanisms – one of the best is a trading diary. Record all of your trades, thoughts, emotions and events during your trading day. Be consistent and honest. Pick it up through the year and see where you can make some adjustments.
- Flexibility – Recognize you can shift gears midstream if things aren’t working out exactly as planned. We often find ourselves with shoes stuck in cement. You ALWAYS have options and can do many different things – not just nothing!
- Turn down the noise – The most distracting thing out there is some pundit/expert telling you his opinion as if it’s the gospel. We hear it all the time, in our attempt to get all the information available. Well, as former Chicago Bear head coach Mike Ditka would say, ‘Stop it!’ Pay more attention to your own research – charts, technicals, fundamentals – whatever your poison, and less on what the ‘other guys’ are saying. Remember, nobody cares more about your bottom line than you.
- Get Smarter – I make it a point to read at least three new books a year, most about markets, economies, biographies and self-help. You can never go wrong improving your brain. Attend more webinars on trading. I will be learning more option strategies to become a better option trader in 2013.
- Be a Contrarian – It is so popular to go with the herd. There is safety in numbers and if wrong so many more join you in the pain of loss. Who wants to be the one who loses when everyone else is winning? However, when sentiment is tilted to far to one side the boat gets heavy. We know what happens then, right? Nothing wrong with looking in th other direction when everyone is on board. The best money is made this way.
I hope this is a good list for you to get started. Add more to this and track your progress over the year. I guarantee you will be much better a year from now.