Trading... many want to make money out of it. Beginner questions: “Can you make money fast?” It is possible, but is it sustainable, and can you keep the gains? Also, what is fast for you, can be slow for others. “Can you make big gains?” Yes, if you are riding a strong trend, but keeping the gains part again...and also, what is huge for you, maybe is small for someone else. Trend can change, and winning strategy may not work any more. Problem for many is to accept that trading is not a 100 meter race, but a marathon. One big boring marathon, with the steep learning curve, and without a single trading rule which will work in all conditions. Ok, so you learn, you win and you lose, you go through all of that situations already written in Trading is Not Easy articles Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3... Maybe even apply some Patience in trading.
One eternity later… you finally know something, decent in TA, understand what is going on… Now you need to find your own comfort zone. Your own daily routine. Your own lot size, your own tempo, your own goal, no matter if you trade full time, or part time, like majority of traders do. To have a plan, to trade that plan. To trade without fear, without sleepless nights, without feeling like a giant stone is pressuring your chest the minute you sit in front of the screens.
Trading for me now, in past several years, is different than before. Not only that I have abandoned trading stocks, options and other instruments and focused only on German DAX (and occasionally US indices), but also knowing what I want to see to press the trigger. Finding the right trading instrument, that suits your personality, can do wonders for you.
Next phase: I want to trade less, on well known setups, that I execute well. I want to lower down frustration of missed moves, mistakes and losers to minimum. I am trying to avoid mistakes and overtrading. Not only to trade less, with focus on best setups, but also to trade when I feel well and understand what is going on in the markets. When I make a mistake - missing the entry, closing winner too soon, or anything else, I usually take a break and sit on it a while. Ask yourself, what is it that YOU want out of trading.
Once I had a very bad period in personal life. Family house lost, my father died, I had a surgery. All of that in a two months period. I was pretty down and depressed. Instead of recovering first, and making a pause, I was trading instead. Angry and depressed. That was not a good period. Lost months, and time is our most valued resource, to compensate the losses. Money can be made, but lost time we cannot recover. Never again will I allow that. Feeling bad? Sick? Problems in personal life? Any other issues? It will likely reflect on your trading. Don't trade in this periods. As simple as that. Save some money from the good periods, you will need it. Save it for the "rainy days". Survive the difficulties without trading, and come back well prepared and rested.
Next: Now I know what I want to see to be engaged in markets, and what I want from them. What is that YOU want to see, and what is that YOU want from the market? I want to consistently take pieces between two inflection points, in high odds trades. I know now that keeping gains is a big part of trading, so I will not trade out of boredom. Knowing when to trade, but also when to sit tight. "Knowing when not to take a trade is just as important as knowing when to take a trade". When I found out that I can be profitable with only one or two good days per week, trading less, instead of more, it was a revelation for me. A few +2R trades, or sometimes only one really good trade (like +4R winner) per week, is good enough. In those good days I will make majority of weekly gains, and then take just best setups if available.
Professional tennis players - they get back in the game after losing matches that should be won, and are able to quickly recover and move on. So should we. This is a mind game. There will be losers, and there will be mistakes. There is always something to regret in trading, no matter how hard we try to do everything perfectly, so no point to constantly look behind. Future is not there, it is in front of us.
Learn and invest in yourself.