Last night, as I thought about the last two days of trading I'd gone through, I was embarrassed with myself. What kind of behavior was this? It's childish. Do I want to be a trader or a crybaby throwing random fits?
It didn't take me long to realize that I may need more than just a simple plan and a “commitment” to follow it. I may need a more well-defined mental framework from which to operate.
It also didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that probably one of the most effective structures for modifying my behavior would come from the military.
My trading plan is literally my “mission plan.” And a lack of clarity about the mission and/or deviating from the mission plan in a military operation can open the door for disaster. It will take me a little time to test and develop this framework for myself, but I will be working to implement several specific things:
- I am the FNG: I need to get clear about the fact that I am not yet a successful, profitable or professional trader. Period. But this is not meant to be self-demeaning in any way. On the contrary, understanding my “place” may be as important a realization as any, because it provides the context and platform from which I can then begin to progress. If I take action from the perspective of something I am not – i.e., being “in over my head” or being “out of my depth” – then those actions will likely not end successfully. So for the foreseeable future, I am the new recruit; I am the grunt; I am the FNG. And my only job is to operate within the training and mission parameters that I've been given.
- Daily AAR: I post my trades and results every day now, but my framework for determining whether I “did well” or not, and whether I met my objectives or not, is fuzzy. So I will be working to develop that framework so I can then perform my AAR at the end of each trading day.
- Diet, exercise and rest: I already follow a very good, strict diet that I designed for myself. Some might refer to me as being somewhat "straight edge" too, because I don't do any form of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol - and I even limit my caffeine intake to one iced tea per day right now. I also follow a very simple but very effective (like my trading plan) military-inspired exercise regimen that I designed for myself. But now I will be taking these more seriously and treating them as if I'm in military training. That also means getting an appropriate amount of sleep/rest.
- Attitude and mental work: I do daily mental work, but again, I will begin treating this more seriously – as if my future depends on it (which it does). I'm not going to go into detail about what I'm doing at this point. But I will say that I began doing my mental work in a different way - with a different slant - this past October, and there is no doubt in my mind that it is responsible for catapulting me to where I am right now. I say "catapulting" because significant changes have occurred in my life with regard to my trading work since then. For example, this isn't the first time, by any means, that I have attempted a consistency exercise like this, but something is distinctly, almost eerily, different this time around. Things related to my trading and my life are suddenly "falling into place" little bit by little bit. I believe that ultimately this is where the key truly lies.
I'm making plans like this because this kind of structure appeals to me. I've done martial arts and a triathlon; I spent most of my youth on motocross bikes; I recently spent several years very involved in speedball (tournament-style) paintball; and I've always been involved in other miscellaneous physical activities.
Training and discipline has been a big part of my way of life. It's time to apply it to my trading in a serious way.
A look at the stats
My expectancy appears to be waning a bit. Not altogether surprising, but I'll just have to see how this progresses.
Since it's the end of the month I'll post my Weekly Stats grid.