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Fixing a mistake in one area can aid in the resolution of a problem in another, and so on; it’s a process, small changes can add up to major changes. This may seem obvious, but identifying weaknesses and turning them into strengths is an often overlooked aspect of trader development. It’s one of the reasons many traders make the same mistakes over and over again. Even minor fixes and tweaks here and there can add up to a significant difference.
It is extremely difficult to pinpoint problems, let alone solve them, in the absence of good records.
Going over your trade history can help you see what you need to work on quickly. You can, for example, calculate risk/reward ratios or see that you profit on certain types of trades but lose on others.
A journal will assist in identifying behavioural patterns that may need to be corrected. These are the most difficult to address, but you can’t even begin to address them unless they’re fully exposed. The review process should be done on a regular basis, even if only once a week, as it can help make significant progress.
The key here is to take it one step at a time and to move slowly. You will become overwhelmed and frustrated if you try to solve all of your problems at once.
Begin with the most critical. These are usually issues with risk management. This is a topic we discuss on a weekly basis; for more information, see this risk management webinar. While we’re on the subject of risk, it’s worth noting that some issues cross over into other aspects of your trading, so resolving one helps resolving another.
There will be hiccups. Trader development is a process that, if not handled properly, can be a frustrating journey. Try not to be too unforgiving with yourself on the off chance that it takes more time than you like or accept it ought to. Just be patient and take your time. If you find yourself slipping and regressing along the way, take a step back and, if necessary, take some time off to regain perspective.
It’s in our competitive nature to want to push through difficulties, but sometimes the best approach is to stop struggling and further entwining ourselves in a tangle. When you are not trying too hard, the problems and their solutions are more likely to appear.