Winning traders make profits. In the end, the bottom line as a trader is the extent to which you are profitable. If your efforts don’t produce a profit, it is easy to feel as if you have accomplished nothing, as if you have failed. But focusing solely on the outcomes of a trade can be distracting, especially if you feel that you aren’t making any progress. Although profits are important, you accomplish a lot as a trader, even if some of your efforts don’t directly lead to a profit. It is essential for your self-esteem and well being to pat yourself on the back for everything you do as a trader, regardless of whether it produces a profit.
In a typical job, you put in your 40 hours a week and get a paycheck. It can be a tedious life at times, but there’s a sense of security. As a trader, you’re not sure precisely how much you’ll receive from your trading efforts. It’s tempting to measure your progress solely by your account balance. If you’re doing so well that your equity is up, you’ll feel pretty good. But if you are in a little slump, you’ll feel frustrated and a little disappointed. You may feel as if you’ve let yourself or loved ones down. You can feel stuck as if you are going nowhere. You may feel guilty and disappointed, and these negative emotions can put you in a bad mood, which itself can interfere with your ability to trade with a calm, objective mindset. Trading is stressful enough. There’s no need to worsen your mood by adding worries and other stressors.
One way to keep your spirits up is to mentally reward yourself for all your efforts. You might even make a list. As you accomplish a task, write it down, so that at the end of the day, you can review the list and feel a sense of accomplishment for your progress. For example, if you scan 20 charts, make a note of it. If you read a newsletter article, add it to the list. This process of listing completed tasks and rewarding yourself may not take the place of actually making profitable trades, but it will help give you a sense of achievement. You’ll feel you are making some progress, especially during those times when you just can’t seem to make a profit. So pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You’ll feel better overall, and when you feel good, you’ll increase your chances of making a profit.