One of the most important edges in a trader’s arsenal is the power of discipline. More specifically, the power of self-discipline. Like many of the other trading edges, self-discipline is available for the building. You can start with a little and work your way to a lot. In trading as in life, it is elegant in its simplicity. It requires only that you make a decision…and stick to it.
- Do you want to impact your metabolism by avoiding meals after 6pm each day? Decide and do it. Set an alarm… empty your refrigerator of all but spring water… partner up with your partner or someone else and do it together… just decide and prioritize it
- Do you want to avoid long positions in a downtrending market? Don’t buy when the market is in a downtrend. Act as if the buy button is disabled in your trading software… set alarms and then walk away until the alarms tell you the market has turned… subscribe to a service that sends you an alert when there is a change in market trend
- Do you want to make sure your loved ones hear “I love you” at least once each day? Make sure YOU tell them…. repeatedly
- Do you want to be sure you monitor trade risk at all times? Make “what is my risk?” a constant question
I know, I know… it’s hard to follow through sometimes… to resist the temptation of that late night snack… to get off your arse and exercise. But that’s the price. If you want the result, you must to pay up.
If it sounds like I’m suggesting building a link between self-discipline and habit, then my message is clear. The Power of Discipline becomes a part of your Trader DNA when it becomes habitual. By conditioning yourself to make good trading discipline automatic… rote even, you become less aware of it. Rather than being something that you do, or call upon, it becomes a part of who you are as a trader (and it will likely bleed into other areas of your life as well). The more you use it, the more it will become an inseparable component of your trading process. You won’t even think about the actions that you take in accordance with your discipline. Ironically, eventually you will no longer have to exercise the power of discipline once the habits are formed as they will become second nature.
Prior to the formation of the habit, trading discipline allows you to wade into the uncertainty that day trading is. It is the net that allows you to walk out onto the high wire of trading. You may not know what the market’s chaos will bring on any given day. But having designed your trading program to account for uncertainty, you know what YOU will do.
More importantly, you know that you WILL do it.
Trust me when I tell you that taking this approach will reward you exponentially.