How to Improve Trading Discipline

There are many skills a trader may possess in order to enhance their trading skills and knowledge: the ability to assess the markets, make quick and informed decisions, and use technical analysis tools. A trader needs to be able to concentrate and focus their attention on trading, without distractions. With all that, trading can be psychologically exhausting. That is why the most important skill to have is discipline. Improving it may help improve every other aspect of a trader’s routine. 

Step #1 – Study your weaknesses

The first step to improving yourself is finding out what your weak spots are so that you could go ahead and start working on them. Put the most challenging things at the top of the list. When it comes to discipline, common distractions or obstacles are emotions. Emotions control a lot of our decisions, especially in trading. 

Many traders admit that they often make compulsive and rushed decisions due to their emotional state. The emotions that often influence traders are greed, fear, excitement, and frustration. As a result: revenge trading, prematurely closed deals, trades opened in the wrong time, poor choice of assets. Understanding which emotions you encounter when trading and, perhaps, writing them down, will help first acknowledge them and then start taking measures in order to manage their influence.

Another weakness that traders often report is lack of structure. Not knowing where to start or what to do is normal, as long as you work on improving that. Preparing a personal trading plan and a risk management method may eliminate some of the uncertainty and chaos out of your trading and help improve your trading discipline.

Step #2 – Stick to the new routine

Once you know what is hurting your discipline and you have the understanding of what has to be changed, come up with a new routine and make sure to stick to it no matter what. Try to be conscious about it and think of what you’ve done to improve your discipline every single day. 

Discipline is a habit and every habit needs time to develop and stay in your routine. Eliminate the bad habits as much as possible,  try to assess your improvements over the time and evaluate how well you are doing. Keeping track of your performance is key, as it helps to notice changes, as well as motivates you to stay on track.

Step #3 – Don’t get discouraged and reward yourself

Don’t forget to reward yourself for good performance. It can be simple verbal praise, but it is crucial to stay stimulated. 

However, even if it doesn’t work out straight away, don’t get frustrated. It only means that you are a human being. Being disciplined is hard and anyone can slip once in a while. If you notice that it’s not working out, come back to step #1 and think of the reasons your discipline is hurting. What matters is that you take the time to notice your mistakes and work on them in the future. 

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