The Exact Plan to Transform Your Trading In 30 Days | Ultimate Guide

How can you achieve dramatic progress in your trading in just 30 days? How can you keep that momentum going month after month? And how can you rediscover the excitement you once had for developing your trading?

The answer is our Transformation Plan. This isn't just another goal template—it's a meticulously crafted approach based on evidence-based research in skill development, goal-setting, motivation, and other areas of high performance. We've provided this to members of the Duomo Program through our Monthly Transformation Contests and seen remarkable results.

As I said in a previous article, if you're going to spend time on your trading, you might as well use it in the most effective way possible. This is the most effective way.

Instead of diving straight into the plan, I want to walk you through the research and rationale first. By doing so, I hope you'll see its value and take action, rather than dismissing it as just another template. I genuinely believe this approach will add immense value and provide you with significant benefits.

This template was shared with traders who went through our Free Trading Masterclass. If you haven't gone through it yet, I'd recommend doing that now.

Why the Monthly Transformation Plan Is Needed

When you first start trading, you’re constantly learning new skills, techniques, and concepts. Your development looks like this:

But over time, it begins to flatten out and eventually stagnates. Your progress seems to plateau.

There are two common reasons for this:

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know. It becomes more difficult to figure out exactly what you need to improve or learn.
  2. You stay in your comfort zone without realising it. You feel comfortable doing analysis and executing trades, so you spend your time doing that instead of continuing your development.

What was once purposeful practice slowly becomes ordinary practice.

“Ordinary practice is not enough: To reach elite levels of performance, you need to constantly push yourself beyond your abilities and comfort level.” - Anders Ericsson

It feels frustrating when you stagnate. You’re aware your trading isn’t at the level you want, but you continue doing what you’re doing and hope your results will eventually improve.

Think about what top football teams do, like those in the Premier League. They play one or two matches per week, but they’re also training multiple times per week, studying footage, getting insights from coaches, working on their physical conditioning, and more.

Imagine you’re a striker who can’t seem to score. Would you continue what you’re doing and hope for slow improvement over time? Unlikely. Instead, you’d identify the issue and spend time training it, getting feedback from coaches, and running drills.

People often act as if trading exists in a bubble and only look for trading-related answers to their problems. But most of the time, the insights you need can be found elsewhere.

Watch this clip with former Arsenal player Alexandre Lacazette talking to the assistant coach:

For Lacazette to improve in that area, he has to focus less on other things. Maybe his build-up play will suffer for a while, but it will lead to improvements in the area that needs developing the most.

Over the years, I’ve noticed this bothers people learning to trade. They worry that if they neglect certain areas of their trading to focus on one area, their overall ability will decline. So they try to do everything all the time rather than focusing on the areas that need it the most, and they miss out on progressing further.

It’s true that when you stop using or developing a skill, you go through skill decay. But in reality, the amount of skill decay you’ll experience over a short period like one month is negligible. Studies suggest complex skills start deteriorating after more than two months if not used or practised frequently. The more proficient you are in the skill, the slower that decline will be.

Skill decay doesn't happen as quickly as people assume

The progress you could achieve from one month of focus in one area could overshadow your sacrifice in skill decay. Sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward.

That’s what we challenge our members to do with the Monthly Transformation Contest. We thought of it like fitness transformations, where you see extreme before and after photos.

How can we achieve dramatic improvements in a short space of time? Spend one month hyper-focused on the area of your trading that needs it most or will have the biggest impact on your development.

The winner each month gets a prize, like a £100 Amazon gift card. For our quarterly prize, we’re paying for someone’s funding application. But we don’t just judge it based on the end result; it’s also judged on how well planned it was. There’s no point rewarding big successes that happen by luck. Instead, if something is specifically planned in a deliberate, realistic, and measurable way, the process becomes predictable and repeatable.

Think of success in trading like building a house. Your initial development is like setting the foundations. After that, it’s not about trying to click your fingers and magically see a finished house overnight. Instead, each well-planned monthly transformation is like stacking one brick at a time in a dependable way.

Let me walk you through exactly how to do that.

How the Transformation Plan Works

The Transformation Plan has three sections:

  • Identifying the area of transformation
  • Planning the actions
  • Reviewing your progress

The first two sections need to be completed before you start your month, and the third section is completed both during and at the end of the challenge.

You should complete this document with as much detail as possible and make sure it’s written down; don’t just keep it in your head. There are a few reasons for this:

  • It provides you with a clear plan to follow each day rather than anything being left vague or open-ended. You’re more likely to take the right actions as you progress through the month.
  • It avoids hindsight bias. Without setting things down in writing, it’s easy to get to the end of the month and believe you achieved what you set out to even if you didn’t. By writing it specifically and clearly, you can judge your performance more objectively and make any changes or improvements for the next one.
  • It’s been found that those who write their objectives or goals in detail are significantly more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. One study found it to be between 1.2 and 1.4 times more likely.
  • By having a detailed record of all your transformations, you can revisit them over time to see how far you’ve come and what approaches led to the best progress.

Section 1: Area of Improvement

Just like a SMART goal, we’re making sure things are specific, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Latham and Locke, who pioneered SMART goals, discovered through their research that elevated performance comes when five principles are met: clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback, and task complexity.

Their research spans decades with lots of evidence of this, including one with lumberjacks, where they found planning in this way improved performance and productivity by 11 to 25%.

We start by identifying the right area to focus on. The first four questions combined will help you to make that decision. Together, they’re helping you ensure you’re identifying the right thing.

If you’re not sure, try thinking about problem areas or aspects you’ve discovered in your trading data that are holding back your performance. Then, think logically about which trading actions or decisions are contributing to that.

If there’s more than one area of improvement, narrow it down to the one having the biggest negative impact or would lead to the biggest overall benefit if improved. In some cases, it’s like a lead domino; once solved, it has a positive knock-on effect in other areas. So you get more bang for your buck.

Then, answer each of those questions in the document.

Firstly, what specific area are you planning to focus on? For example, you might say:

"I will focus on my trade management."

Then, what led you to choose that area for improvement? Provide the detailed reason for that being the most important area to focus on for this month.

For example, if your area is trade management, you might put:

"Once I’m in a profitable trade, I make decisions based on gut feeling. By improving my trade management decisions, I can maximise my opportunities and improve my returns more than any other change."

Then, how is this currently affecting your trading? If you have any evidence from your data you can add that here. For example:

“I can see in 30% of my profitable trades I exited too early and would have achieved bigger profits if I stayed in longer. 25% of my losing trades were initially in a profit greater than 2R.”

More importantly, where possible you should provide a vivid description. Something like:

“I don’t feel confident once I’m in a trade, instead I just feel uncertainty and a lack of clarity. I watch every price tick debating whether I should take action. Once I exit the trade, I feel frustrated when I watch what the price does next.”

Remember, this process is like a ‘before and after’. By making it vivid and detailed, you’re feeling the pain of the situation. This helps motivate you to take action and move away from that. Also, at the end of the month it’ll be much easier to recognise the progress you’ve made without being influenced by things like the peak-end rule and other hindsight-related biases.

Next, explain the benefits. Knowing specifically how your trading will benefit from this transformation allows you to see the brighter future you’re moving towards. Again, this helps with motivation as you’re moving away from pain towards pleasure. But this question also serves as a way of checking if this is the right transformation to focus on. Sure, it might be an area for improvement, but are there other priority areas that could provide greater benefits?

These questions aren’t just for documenting the transformation plan, they’re also prompts to help you ensure you’re identifying the right area of focus. So spend time thinking deeply about all the questions before you commit the plan to writing.

Now, you need to nail down the specific transformation you’re going to focus on. Word it in a way that describes the end point. In other words, what you’ll be able to do by the end of the month that you’re not currently doing.

For example, if trade management is your area of focus, you’re not going to fix everything in one month. So what specific transformation can you make now that will help you get on the way to achieving it? What’s the first brick you can lay down, knowing you’ll be stacking other bricks one at a time in future transformations?

In this case, you might focus on scaling out. You’ve recognised that some profitable trades are ending in losses and some are being closed too early. If you can learn the right time to scale out of positions, that will put you further towards fixing that area.

“By the end of this month, I’ll have clarity over when I should partially scale out from open trades.”

Next, you need to assess if this is ambitious enough. If it’s something you’re likely to achieve in a regular month doing what you’re already doing, it’s not a transformation. You need to be moving into the challenge-skill zone, also known as the Zone of Proximal Development.

We discussed this in more detail in: Why Learning to Trade is So Difficult Compared to Other Skills.

The gap between your current level and where you’re trying to get to can’t be perceived as huge, or it becomes demotivating and leads to negative emotions like frustration, self-doubt, and even depression. But if it’s not wide enough, it can likewise be demotivating and feel boring.

A paper by Jonathan Cohen called 'The Eighty-Five Percent Rule for Optimal Learning' explained that your goals should be difficult enough to get things right 85% of the time and make errors 15% of the time. Errors feel frustrating, but that frustration engages certain parts of the brain to be more alert, focused, and able to learn. This is one of the key principles of neuroplasticity. Of course, it’s not possible to know precisely what that 85% level is ahead of time. Instead, you’ll have to use your initiative with that as a general benchmark.

Getting the right skill-challenge balance is one of the prerequisites for achieving flow. Getting into flow when learning and developing can give you a significant advantage. A study by Brain Monitoring and the US Department of Defense found getting a beginner into a flow state accelerated their learning; taking 50% less time than normal to reach an expert level.

Finally for this section, is this transformation realistic to achieve in 4 weeks? Maybe it only is if you make sacrifices. These might be sacrifices in other areas of your trading, just like that clip we watched of Alexandre Lacazette. There are many things you’re doing that take up time, but might not be necessary for that month. Alternatively, they may be sacrifices outside trading, like having less free time for the month. Detail the sacrifices you’ll be making and make a commitment to yourself.

Section 2: Key Actions and Measures

Now we get into the nuts and bolts of how you’ll achieve the transformation. What specific steps will you take, and how will you measure your progress? If something isn’t measurable, it’s much more difficult to improve on.

The first thing you need to do is set out the specific actions you’ll take. Don’t be broad with this, instead make the actions as specific and clear as possible. It doesn’t have to be the same thing throughout the month. Maybe there are several things you’ll do. Maybe there’s a progression. But make it clear and specific.

Not only is this another one of the prerequisites for flow (having clear goals) but it also means you’re less likely to procrastinate or be wasteful during your learning sessions. When it’s time to work, you’ll know exactly what to do.

For example, for the scaling out transformation, maybe it’s like this:

"Week 1 - Revisit the strategic risk management section in the Duomo Program and complete all purposeful practice activities.

Week 2 - Take all my previous trade entries and open them in a simulator or TradingView replay mode so I can’t see what happens next. Manage the trades using the scaling out approaches I used in week 1. Review any differences from the original trades.

Week 3 - Go through one month in a trading simulator. Enter trades but only use scaling out for trade management decisions. Review how far the decisions were from optimal.

Week 4 - Follow the same approach from week 3, but this time in the live markets with a demo account."

This is just a short example, but the more specific and detailed you can be, the better it will be for you. Throughout the month when other things come up, you’ll be able to see if they fit your plan. If not, maybe park them until the end of the transformation month.

The next question is there to prompt you to think about the actions in the right way. My advice is to start with the end in mind. Imagine you’ve successfully achieved the transformation and work backwards from there, what would the final actions be? What about the ones before those? And before those? And so on.

Then importantly, how will you measure your progress? It’s important to choose something specific to the area you’re focusing on. You shouldn’t use overall returns as the measure. It’s too broad and depends too much on the markets which aren’t in your control.

If it’s difficult to find the ideal measure, approach it from different angles. For our example, Week 1 might be about the percentage completed of the lessons and activities. Week 2 might focus on how much better the performance on your trades is compared to the original trades. Week 3 and 4 might be a measure showing how far you were from optimal, or as we’ll discuss more in a moment, how many mistakes are pointed out to you in the community.

Depending on what area you’re focusing on, you may also consider the Pairing Principle. This was made popular by Andy Grove in his book High Output Management:

“[Measures] tend to direct your attention toward what they are monitoring. It is like riding a bicycle: you will probably steer it where you are looking.” - Andy Grove

As Marc Andreessen points out:

“The problem with arbitrary metrics in complex situations – they tend to backfire. Give emergency services drivers rigid response time metrics, and they’ll tend to stay close to urban centers.” - Marc Andreessen

The solution is that every measure should have a ‘paired’ measure addressing the possible negative consequences of the first measure. For someone wanting to open more trades, if they measure the number of trades open it encourages them to open low quality ones. Instead, they need to pair quantity with another measure to avoid negative consequences. Maybe: ‘number of trades with a positive expectancy’.

The next question was more relevant for our members. They have access to our community for instant feedback. If you don’t have that, think about how you’ll keep yourself accountable. It’s even better if you can build this into your planned actions and create a flywheel effect: Complete a trade, get feedback in the community, assess and implement the feedback, complete another trade, get feedback, and so on.

Then, how will you know you’ve achieved the transformation? What measure will you achieve to know it’s done? This should align with your description of the successful transformation from the first section of the plan. If not, you either need to change the actions, or reassess the intended transformation.

By making this clear and measurable, it’ll help you track how far you are from achieving it as you progress through the month. It also taps into intrinsic drivers to help you push yourself to achieve more than you would in a regular month. You don’t want something vague that leaves things open to interpretation or makes you unsure at the end of the month if you’ve succeeded.

There are three main reasons people don’t achieve their goals.

  1. They don’t take the actions they were meant to take.
  2. They were unrealistic with the goal they were trying to achieve.
  3. Other things happened that got in the way.

What we’ve gone through so far deals with the first two. The final question in this section deals with the third one.

Think through all the things that may go wrong and find a way to mitigate those risks or have a contingency plan

I’d recommend using a pre-mortem analysis. This was developed by the psychologist Gary Klein. A post-mortem analysis happens at the end of something to assess what happened. But a pre-mortem analysis is done before you even start.

You imagine you’re at the end and you’ve failed. Then, brainstorm all the possible things that could have resulted in that failure.

Now you know all the things that could go wrong, so you can plan for them. Don’t just think about trading-related issues, also think about the personal side and even the influence of other people.

One of our members did an amazing job with this. They set out processes or protocols to follow when certain situations occur that might affect them negatively. Since failure is part of learning, they knew there would be some ‘L’s which might change their mindset. They already planned exactly how to get their mind back on track.

Section 3: Progress Review

Now, we get to the final section to be completed during the transformation month, with a final review at the end. I think it’s self-explanatory, so I’ll only cover this briefly.

The weekly reviews are a chance to think about what’s gone well and what you may need to adjust for the next week. Be brutally honest with yourself about whether you did the actions and achieved the transformation.

I like to remember Solomon’s Paradox; a cognitive bias we have where we give different (and usually better) advice to other people than for ourselves.

Try to imagine yourself as a third party reviewing what you’ve done, or imagine you’re giving feedback to someone else. What would you say to improve the chances of the person staying on course and completing the transformation?

And then at the end, you do a final review. Again, be brutally honest with yourself about whether you did the actions and whether you genuinely achieved the transformation or not. This is the only way that you can provide answers to the final two questions that will actually be useful to you.

By documenting this in detail each time, your transformations will continue to get better.

Most people are over or under ambitious for the first one, but by going through this process you’ll tighten up the next one and the next. Eventually you’ll find the sweet spot where your plans are reliable and the outcomes are more predictable.

Once you complete this transformation, take on the feedback you’ve given yourself (or got from me or the community, if you’re one of our members) and start planning the next one. Each month, brick by brick, you’ll be constructing the trader you want to be. You’re paving a dependable path towards your long-term goals. No more trying to do everything all at once and hoping for the best.

Like everything we do here, we’ve tried to make this as logical and evidence-based as possible. I hope you’ve found this useful and will take on board everything you’ve learned in this article to start creating that more reliable path for yourself.