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How to do the things you don't "feel" like doing?
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How to do the things you don't "feel" like doing?

  #1 (permalink)
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How to do the things you don't "feel" like doing?

Hey guys,

I don't post very often but I have been a backseat reader here at the forums for a long-time.

Today I want to talk about when we get to the point that we know what we need to do, and we do genuinely want the result that task will achieve for us, but we still struggle to do it. This is relevant in all aspects of life, imagine an ex-athlete that is currently out of shape. Again, they know what to do, they may have trained for 10+ years. And they truly want to get back into shape, they have the identity of an athlete, it's part of who they are. Yet, they still struggle to workout or eat right over the long-term.

This is where I am with trading, I have also been there with other endeavors in my life on many occasions. Where I know what to do, but am struggling to maintain that multi-month to multi-year level of consistency in my life. I have a plan with edge, I have backtested and forward tested my trading, I am trading profitably the vast majority of months. But I REALLY want to do this at a high level, my goal isn't to make $2,000 a month. I want to be one of the best in world. So, my goals have very little to do with P&L, I understand that producing the "best" net returns would also require access to the "best" amounts of risk capital. To really be one of the best in the world I have to beat myself, each and every day.

I have a 6-part morning routine, I exercise, I do a pre-market each morning, I have a trading plan with edge, I screen record my session, I journal each trade immediately after exiting, I watch back each trade I took that day after the market closes, I do a post-market analysis, and I grade myself on various categories each day.

This is my typical day but not my everyday.

To truly be great, I need to have much longer spans of time where ALL of those actions are completed everyday. Right now, I have statistical evidence to suggest that when I do yoga in my morning routine, I trade more profitably. But a lot of days I don't "feel" like doing the yoga. However, I will still trade. Again, I have statistical tracked evidence that yoga (or my morning routine in general) positively contributes to my P&L, and still despite this, I find some reason to "skip" some portion of my 6 step morning routine at least 1 out of 10 days. So, what I am saying is that at best I am 90% consistent, and truly we're talking closer to 80% in my opinion.

Last month, I produced aprrox. $2,850 from trading. Yes, great, I'm net positive and I am most months. However, I had a P&L of -$3,600 on trades that I noted I made some sort of error in, the primary error being taking a trade that does not fit the scope of my pre-determined plan. I fully understand that this is an unrealistic way to look at it but lets imagine I just "did not take" those "error" trades, not adding any additional good trades but just DID NOT TAKE trades that don't fit my plan. I would have more than doubled my P&L.

So I have grown very frustrated with myself because in many things in my life I have gotten to the point of "good not great". And this isn't because of a lack of desire to become great. I truly want to be one of the best in the entire world. The problem is, it is far too often that in the moment I let myself slide, and I don't even know if that's the best way to describe it. In writing this I sound so aware of myself, this is not how I feel though, when I take those error trades, I don't realize that's what I am doing and I find ways to justify it in my head allllll the way up until being stopped out, and then I find myself going on mini-trading-rampages where I am not violating my risk or size parameters, but I am seeking out trades that are not the highest quality, it is just any reason I can build logic around being in the market. Sometimes it is hard to attribute this inconsistency in trading to other inconsistencies in life because they dont "feel" correlated. Does yoga/meditation//prayer/weightlifting/good relations with my wife reaaaaaallly contribute to better trading? It never "feels" like it helps when things are going good, but I realize when things are going bad in trading I might've fallen off on other things in my life even if that has only been over the last 36 hours.

I know things like meditation helps this, watching back my trades on video definitely helps this because it is painful to see myself make those mistakes when I have an objective mind after the fact. But my problem is, I meditate 7-8 out of 10 days. Those 2-3 days off hurts me. I conduct my trading with excellent execution 80% of days, but those 4-5 "bad days" a month, hurts me. I need this execution level to be closer to 99/100 days. Perfect execution needs to become more than just the "norm", it needs to be extraordinarily obscure for me to deviate from this plan and processes.

I'm interested in any help/feedback/ideas you guys can offer, I have tried a lot of those "hacks" type of things but I need to DO it, not figure out what to do.

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  #2 (permalink)
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  #3 (permalink)
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I think you already have the solution...



GoldLinx View Post
I need to DO it, not figure out what to do.

I think your quote above sums it up pretty well. I'm certainly not perfect but I have found improvement when I just do the tasks irrespective of my motivation. It's not always easy and I don't think that it's supposed to be.

I found this article to be of some help - https://jamesclear.com/professionals-and-amateurs. I haven't read his book but have heard some really great reviews, and his blog is excellent.

When I'm not motivated but know that there's something to be done I ask myself, do I want to be an amateur and just show up when I feel like it, or do I want to be a professional and show up every day?

This is another great article along a similar vein - https://fs.blog/2017/08/amateurs-professionals/.

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  #4 (permalink)
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MWG86 View Post
I think your quote above sums it up pretty well. I'm certainly not perfect but I have found improvement when I just do the tasks irrespective of my motivation. It's not always easy and I don't think that it's supposed to be.

I found this article to be of some help - https://jamesclear.com/professionals-and-amateurs. I haven't read his book but have heard some really great reviews, and his blog is excellent.

When I'm not motivated but know that there's something to be done I ask myself, do I want to be an amateur and just show up when I feel like it, or do I want to be a professional and show up every day?

This is another great article along a similar vein - https://fs.blog/2017/08/amateurs-professionals/.

Yes! I am slightly familiar with James Clear's work (like you, I haven't read his book but I'm subscribed to his email list). I will definitely give that article a read.

Overall I do feel that I have been improving in this area greatly. When I say I'm at 80% consistency, there was also a point of 50% and even 0% lol. So there has been improvement but essentially I want things in my life to become very habitual to the degree where acting on my impulses seems very very unnatural. A big concern in my personal life is there was also a point where I nearly made the NFL, I went to camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars right out of college and I was one of the last guys cut. I was emotionally crushed by this. However the problem for me, was the mental game. I was gifted with crazy speed, but my failures were in the film room, practice, and post games. So I was "good" in my game performances but I was never Great. Because of that, this is a fear I have with trading, maybe I reach that top 10% of traders who make money (call them college players), but I really need to press on myself to do what it takes to be in that .001% to be one of the best to ever do it (relate this to NFL hall of famers).

I also have recently read Marcus Aurelius's "meditations" and he speaks a lot about mastering that "animal" nature. I often like philosophy much more than "self help" topics because its gets you thinking deeper about these things.

I thought this would be an interesting discussion because I think many of us, if not most do actually know what we need to do, but there's some aspect of self-sabotage or whatever you want to call it that lets our laziness kick in.

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  #5 (permalink)
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I think laziness is the norm for a human. We do what we need to survive and then we rest for the upcoming stresses that are surely on their way.

It sounds like you are a very motivated person and checking off all of the boxes relating to mental and physical health. Doing all those things is great, but I also have a view that we have a finite amount of energy every day and sometimes we have to let things get dropped that are lower priorities on our to-do list. I am frequently guilty of giving myself big list of things to accomplish for the day or week and then only getting to a couple of them. Just remember that you are the one keeping score and you can change the rules any time you want. Maybe on a day that you feel like skipping your workout you should just put energy into a productive task that you are more in the mood to do. Maybe your body just needs a little extra rest. I think that mental clarity and inspiration come in unpredictable bursts, but by being healthy you can increase their frequency.

Sometimes I will have a bunch of energy but I can't focus well on detailed, analytical tasks. I know I need to go do something physical to get those animal spirits out of me and then I will be able to sit calmly and get the brain work done later. Sometimes I am too tired to give an analytical task the concentration needed, but I could still watch a trading video and learn something new. I guess what I am getting at is that you have to be aware of what you can get done in a given amount of time and accept when you cannot accomplish everything you wanted to.

To me, trading is about accepting the opportunities currently available in the market and acting quickly and resolutely when your market signal presents itself. If you say, I need to make this amount this month, or I need to have x% return this year, or I need to watch the market this many hours every day, I think you are setting yourself up for those bad days. You are going to try to force it to happen.

I know this advice won't work for you, but I have actually cut back on exercise in order to have more energy to put into trading. I work full time and trade the market actively for at least 12 hours a week. I also put in about 10-15 hours of trading education and analysis weekly. I still eat healthy, but I am currently not getting the benefits of regular exercise. To me, this sacrifice is worth it right now. It is not going to be this way forever. I want to be a full time trader more than anything else right now. I don't care if I feel kind of crappy on a regular basis from not exercising or sleeping as much as I should. I am on a mission and the mission takes precedence. I don't care if I miss a friend's party if I am deep into programming an automated trading system and making some great progress. People understand that when you are on your path that sacrifices are necessary. If they don't, oh well. Unless someone physically prevents me from doing the things I need to do to be a great trader it is going to happen. If it takes 5 years longer than I estimated, it is going to happen. If the world is burning down but the markets are still open, it is going to happen. This is why I will succeed. I think you will too.

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  #6 (permalink)
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Something that has helped me stick to my strategy is to put notes directly on my charts. For years I would study my strategy before the market open then do something that went against it. So one day I discovered that I could write a note directly on the chart and make it as big and whatever color I wanted. That way it is right in front of my face all day.

For example, if I decide I do not want to risk more than 300.00 per trade on /cl today, I put that note in red letters right on the /cl chart and keep in close to the latest bar. Or if there is a number release at 7.30 I put that note right on top of the last bar so I can't miss it.

I know it sounds simplistic but it has helped me break several bad habits, hope it helps
.

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  #7 (permalink)
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Also, taking a few weeks off to just re-evaluate life and your trading approach can be very helpful. Don't worry about what is happening in the market for a a while and think about what you can do to make the returns that you are after. What is a realistic plan?

If you want to make 100% a month you are going to have to trade big size with excellent accuracy in your entries and exits. If you lose 20% of your account, or whatever your maximum pain level is, then scale down and grind back up to where you were before when you started trading heavy. See how you feel about this process.

Big money takes big risk. To navigate big risk you have to be very good. If the current approach isn't good enough then you have to study until you figure out what is. Don't assume you can't do 1000% a year. You hit a limit of what's possible as you get bigger in size of course, but it sounds like you aren't close to that size yet. You want to be great, so get realistic about what it takes. Total obsession, total focus, complete understanding of yourself and your market.

I feel like 100% a month is possible with the current market conditions. It is a great time to be a trader.

In a different context, this is what taking big risk for big rewards looks like. When these guys take a loss they pay in blood and bones. Do you think any of these guys got to this level without a lot of suffering along the way? Two wheeled warriors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cF4bcNWhSI


Last edited by LittleFinger; June 22nd, 2019 at 10:56 PM.
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  #8 (permalink)
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shortride View Post
Something that has helped me stick to my strategy is to put notes directly on my charts. For years I would study my strategy before the market open then do something that went against it. So one day I discovered that I could write a note directly on the chart and make it as big and whatever color I wanted. That way it is right in front of my face all day.



For example, if I decide I do not want to risk more than 300.00 per trade on /cl today, I put that note in red letters right on the /cl chart and keep in close to the latest bar. Or if there is a number release at 7.30 I put that note right on top of the last bar so I can't miss it.



I know it sounds simplistic but it has helped me break several bad habits, hope it helps

.



I do something very similar. I have a rule to not trade in the middle of the day in the middle of the day’s range. If at any point in the first couple hours I’ve seen both short and long setups (indicating range day), once 11:30-12:00 EST rolls around I put a big comment across the middle of the chart saying “don’t trade here”... Healthy reminder for when I come back an hour or so later and we’re still bouncing around in there...




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  #9 (permalink)
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GoldLinx View Post
This is my typical day but not my everyday.

Getting a mental coach can have a significant impact. A lot of high end athlets work with mental coaches as well. There is nothing to be worried about, worst case is it does not help. Make sure it is a coach with a good resumee, I would prefer to pick one that has been through that as well. May be you interview a couple and then decide from there.

Cheers,
Wernersabel

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  #10 (permalink)
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Wernersabel View Post
Getting a mental coach can have a significant impact. A lot of high end athlets work with mental coaches as well. There is nothing to be worried about, worst case is it does not help. Make sure it is a coach with a good resumee, I would prefer to pick one that has been through that as well. May be you interview a couple and then decide from there.

Cheers,
Wernersabel

THIS is really something I have been considering quite seriously. But I've been wanting to find somebody recommended by other traders. You get a lot of people that are full of crap in the world of online coaching. I been thinking more of trying to see a psychologist as opposed to coach, but I guess that is semantics.

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