Conclusions and Resolutions.
As the previous year is concluded, many start off with setting up new year’s resolutions. For most, these resolutions last for the first month but does not continue on to the next. As traders, one of the main things that we should be focusing on is consistency. So here, I’ve laid out a few things that could help you remain consistent with your new year’s resolution:
1. Set up achievable goals. The number one culprit of failed resolutions is setting up unachievable goals. I know everyone knows that the main thing about setting up goals and resolutions is to set up ones that are big enough to challenge you but not too far out that it is impossible. But, unachievable goals are not only the far out goals where you set up a goal to be a millionaire by the end of the year, it also includes setting up too many challenging goals. And, I am an offender of this too. What happens is that we set up too much — that are by themselves achievable, but, not if we try to do them all at once. The solution to this: Focus on 3 to 5 main goals, and, depending on their importance or how challenging they are, set up different “achieve by” dates. For me, I would usually set these “achieve by” dates every quarter, or sometimes I do a few for the first half of the year and the rest by the end of the year. What this does is it gets you to focus on the first goals you want to achieve while having the rest on the back of your head so you would consider them when you’re making decisions. And, by the time you are done with the first goals, you already set the stage for the rest of them so they would be a lot easier to achieve.
2. Set up a good routine. To achieve the goals we’ve set up, we need to be motivated and have the focus to do so. Having a good routine is key! If you’ve ever tried to have a “be more fit” resolution before, you’ll know exactly what I mean. It’s better to have that set daily routine of, for example, 1. Warm up; 2. Cardio; 3. Cardio with resistance training; 4. Weights; then finally, 5. Cool down. Versus someone who goes to the gym and warms up then just figures it out afterwards. What happens when you “just figure it out afterwards” is that you lose your focus. You’ll feel like you don’t know what you are doing, and, eventually, you’ll just end up wandering around the gym trying to look for something to do. This is exactly the same with trading. A set routine can get us focused and “in the zone” the same way athletes have their own routines during a game. For trading, a great daily routine should always consist of setting up a plan for the day and breaks. Yes, breaks! A break not only refreshes your mind, it could also get you to feel more motivated. One, because, it would make you feel like not everything you do is work, and another, because you have something you could look forward to when you are working on your trading. Same way people have mini vacations on four day weekends.
3. Make a schedule. This goes with setting up a routine. A planned schedule for the day would get you to utilize your time a lot more efficiently than “winging it.” When I first started working on my trading, I did a lot of backtesting. During the first week of doing this, I did not set up any schedule. All I said was I would backtest for about 5–6 hours per day and I would take breaks. I didn’t have a set time for when I would start backtesting, nor did I have a set time for when to take my breaks. Many times what happened was, I take my first break by watching Netflix, then 2 hours later I was still on my break. I kept on telling myself “One more episode won’t hurt!” but it did. Solution? I set up a schedule of my day. I divided my backtesting hours to an hour and a half increments. Then, I have 30 min breaks in between.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Great goals are meant to be challenging. Don’t expect to be perfect the moment you start. For example, if you established your first routine and set it up so you wake up at 5 am, but you end up waking up at 7 am, don’t start telling yourself how much of a failure you are because you can’t even wake up at a certain time. Changes are hard. Achieving these goals do not happen overnight. It’s a process! A process of improving one’s self over a period of time. If you didn’t wake up early enough today try to wake up 30 minutes earlier tomorrow, and another 30 minutes earlier the next day, and again the day after that, until you reach your set wake up time. Everyday just set yourself to improve upon the previous day until you reach your goals.
5. Reward yourself. Most of the time we get bombarded with the things we have to do, that we forget to take the time and look at how much we’ve achieved. Even though you haven’t completely achieved all the goals that you have set up for the new year. Take the time to reward yourself when you achieve each milestone, or improved upon a certain aspect of yourself towards your goal. By doing this, you’ll have that sense of accomplishment and new feeling of motivation to achieving that next part of your goal.