1. Treat trading seriously
If your ambitions are to trade professionally, you must approach trading with the seriousness it requires. As I said on Twitter before: you can’t have the millionaire lifestyle with the 9-5 work ethic.
Makes sure to check your priorities and align them with your daily actions.
2. Avoid shortcuts
If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is and there is no way around putting in the hours.
There is no get a rich quick way and all potential shortcuts you may take will end up costing you way more time and money in the end.
3. Give yourself at least 5 years
You won’t become a profitable trader within a few weeks or months. From my experience, I can say that it takes years for someone to acquire the skills necessary to trade profitably long-term.
And by that, I do not only mean the technical skills to read charts and master technical analysis. Way more important is how you deal with setbacks, adjust to the ever-changing market conditions, and work on your mindset.
4. Review and analyze your trades
I have never met a profitable trader who does not track their trades.
Do you remember your last 10 trades? If you are like me, the clear answer is: NO!
How do you expect to learn from mistakes if you have no way of remembering each and every error you made? You must track and analyze trades to find out what works well and what doesn’t.
If you are serious about trading, you must keep a trading journal.
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5. Don’t risk more than 3%
Losing streaks will happen. Thus, plan accordingly.
If you have 4 losses in a row, your account will take a significant hit when your position size is too aggressive.
Make sure you have established clear position sizing rules before you sit down in front of your trading platform.
6. No system-hopping
System-hopping is one of the worst sins a trader can commit.
No trading system exists that will just print you money from the start for infinity.
Instead, learn to deal with the imperfection of your current trading system. Learn to cut losses and understand how to let winners run. Learn to deal with losses because if one thing is certain in trading is that even the best traders lose all the time.
7. Have a trade checklist
Ever since I read the book from market wizard Marty Schwartz I kept a trading checklist.
Checklists are great for reducing errors and for having a more objective trading process.
Before you hit the buy or sell button, you go through your checklist which lists all your trading rules to make sure you are not overlooking something.
8. Plan all trades in advance
Before you will even get to using a checklist, you have to pre-plan your trades.
Every morning, I go through all my Forex pairs to scan for potential trading opportunities for that day. I set price alerts, update my technicals, and come up with if-then scenarios for trading ideas. Then I simply sit back and wait to see whether the price will do what I need it to do to fulfill my trading plan.
9. Take full responsibility
Whatever happens in your trading, YOU are responsible for it. Don’t blame your broker, insider trading, news, or your wife if something doesn’t go according to plan. YOU are the only one that is to blame.
Such an insight will empower yourself because trading is in YOUR control and YOU are the one that can turn it around. Blaming outside circumstances will give away that power.
10. Keep trading fun
More important than monetary capital is your emotional capital and if you burn through your mental capital, most traders will give up for good.
Repeating the same mistakes, not seeing any progress, and losing money for years will cause frustrations.
Thus, adhere to all the principles outlined in this article and let them guide you through your trading journey.