Getting in the optimal state before trading is crucial. In short, you must start your trading day the right way. In fact, the simple act of not being in the right state to trade will impact the money you get out of the market.
Think about driving a car…
Imagine you are pissed about something your boss told you. You get into the car, start driving thinking about what your boss said. I bet you'll drive faster and possibly be more impatient. Agree?
Well, the same thing can occur in trading. If you get in front of your screen thinking about what your boss said or about the series of losses you're experiencing, your trading results will be different.
This is the main reason why it's important to re-focus yourself and get in the right state before starting to trade every single time.
Start Your Trading Day Right
I've been asked a question by email recently:
Do you have any tricks that you use to get yourself into an optimal state before you start trading or especially if you're a bit burnt out, say due to fatigue or having had a few losing days in the past?
Here's what I do to start my trading day and get in the optimal state:
1) Getting my thinking right
Trading isn't always easy (in fact, it's not) so it is important to have ways to put everything back in perspective when things don't go well.
One of the things I like to do to get my thinking right is hearing about other people who have experienced trading and succeeded. I'm a big fan of audiobooks because they allow to gain lot of information in a very short time. I often listen to trading audiobooks to start the day.
Some audiobooks I listened to and worth considering (Audible):
- One Good Trade by Mike Bellafiore
- Trading In The Zone by Mark Douglas
- Daily Trading Coach: 101 lessons for becoming your own trading psychologist by Brett N. Steenbarger
- The Little Book Of Currency Trading by Kathy Liens
- Millionaire Traders by Kathy Liens
- Market Wizards: Interview with top traders by Jack D. Schwager
Sometimes, listening to only 10 minutes of one of the books mentioned above is enough to clear your mind and get your thinking straight. You'll recall that other people have been going through what you are experiencing with trading. That will definitely help you.
Podcasts can do the same as well. Hearing stories of great traders or coaches help focusing on the positive. I recommend you check out The Top 5 Podcast Episodes of 2015 and The Podcasts I Follow To Become A Better Trader.
2) Getting focused on my goal
Once I am in a positive state of mind, it's time to get to the technical stuff.
“How am I supposed to trade?” -> I need to be able to answer that question by heart.
To do that, I review my 1-Page Trading Plan every single day. It is simply a 1-page template I created to have all the information about my trading and psychology strategies onto one sheet of paper. That includes my vision, my trading strategy rules, my money management rules, my rewards and punishments for following my plan, my backtesting results, and a few trade screenshots.
For more information on how you can create your plan, check out The Guide to The Ultimate Trading Plan
Whatever ways you use to start your trading day, the important is to have something that put you in the right state of mind and help you remember what you are supposed to be trading.
Like many people said it on the podcast, awareness is key to doing the right thing. If you are aware of what you should be doing, chances are you'll do it.
Now, how do you get ready for your trading day? Let me know!