The Easy Way to Achieve Your Trading Goals
January 18, 2016
4 Min Read
Ladies and Gentlemen, there's a growing crisis amongst traders, and I want to help us solve it.We keep setting these trading goals each year - whether they're performance related goals (e.g. to make £10,000 profit) or developmental goals (e.g. to stop overtrading and stick to my system).The issue is that we don't seem to achieve the goals we set. They remain pinned to our wall at the end of a year as a poster of the insurmountable Everest, rather than the photo of us triumphantly standing at the summit.You probably sit there occasionally asking yourself why this is the case.You know you're putting in the hours of hard work, but you sometimes feel like you're going round in circles.Every time you look at your unachieved goal, you feel more like you've failed yourself.Rather than seeming closer to succeeding - it actually feels further away than ever; with every single failed attempt to reach that goal.Somehow, this has become routine.But rest assured, this is not the way it needs to be. I'm going to help you right now to solve your problem.
What the Hell Is Your Problem?
Let me start by explaining the problems, before I present you with the solution that will ensure this year is your most successful trading year ever.It's so common for us to give up on our goal and revert back to our comfort zone when we are constantly focusing on our end goal rather than the progress (albeit small) that we're making.Right from the get-go, we shoot ourselves in the foot.When we publicly announce our ambitions, our body releases dopamine, which makes us feel good about what we're doing. But this can mean that the dopamine rush is associated with the end achievement itself, rather than the enjoyment of progress.There are far too many elements involved in trading profitably. If you want to improve, you need to work on skills such as your risk management, your ability to spot opportunities and controlling your emotions, to name just a few.This means, if you focus on your end goal every day, you'll inevitably be focusing on improving all of those factors simultaneously.As a result, your will power is going to run out quicker (ego depletion) due to the high number of factors included.
You see, we all have a set amount of will power each day, but once it's run out - our mind reverts back to its default settings. Which in terms of trading, means you'll end up doing things the way you've always done them. (Remember Einstein's quote about insanity? Doing the same things again and again, but expecting different results).
Controlling Your Ego - Controlling Your Success
Instead, we need to narrow down our daily steps towards our goal. Let's keep it simple.We're going to focus on incremental improvements.When you first started trading, rather than focusing on becoming profitable, what if you focused on just making a small improvement in one area every single day?After one month, that would be 20 small improvements. After 3 months, that would be 60 small improvements.The results would shortly become staggering.That would mean, rather than going round in circles and not really improving - your small improvements will have led you to making a massive change in your ability.What's more, after an average of 66 days, consistent actions we take become habits - and a habit does not rely on will power (and is therefore not susceptible to ego depletion).In his book 'The One Thing', Gary Keller talks about the benefits of focusing on (surprise, surprise) one thing. He explains that you can have a 'someday' goal ("become a profitable trader") but this must then be broken down to just ONE thing that you do each day.
He likens this to 'the domino effect'. One domino can knock over a domino twice as tall, wide and thick as it. Which means that by starting with a normal-size domino, you can knock over a 110 metre-tall tower in just 12 steps.Incremental improvements are everything!
What Can I Do About It?
You're already putting in the hours of work every day.All I want you to do is redirect your energy.Rather than focusing on your goal, just choose one part of your trading and make it your ONE thing.Focus on finishing the day slightly better at that one thing, than when you started the day.Imagine just taking one small trading lesson every single day. Every day you learn one thing, you get better at one thing. After 90 days of this, you'll know 90 new things. You'll have 90 incremental improvements.This will make your goal more manageable, sustainable and achievable.So tomorrow, forget about what you did yesterday, and instead, take the incremental improvements approach."Today I'm going to become a slightly better trader, in this area, than I was yesterday."