Control Bad Habits with Daily Reminders

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Control Bad Habits with Daily Reminders

Even after a decade of a trading, I still do things some days that go against my trading plan and strategies. Sometime I take extra trades out of boredom, other times I skip trades, and other times I take all the right trades but fail to manage them properly. Regardless of what the problem is, or what causes it (the rationalization is always a bit different), these tendencies need to be reigned in quickly.

Messing up one or two trades is one thing, but it can’t be allowed to go on for multiple trading sessions in a row. Trading is a business, and bad business practices need to be stopped as soon as they are noticed. It’s likely the issue will pop up again down the road, but each time it needs to addressed and controlled as quickly as possible.

Here’s my nightly ritual which may help you keep your particular problem isolated to a occasional mess up, instead of a constant bad habit which will drain your trading account.

Notice Your Issue

There are lots of trading issues, but once you have a plan in place that you should be following (based on tested profitability) there are three main problems:

  • not taking trades you should
  • taking trades you shouldn’t
  • Somehow messing it up once in a trade, by either taking profits too early or too late, or taking on too much risk or trying too hard to minimize risk. With binary options this third point isn’t as much a concern, since risk and reward are fixed at the outset of the trade.

Regardless of the issue, define what is occurring and what is going on when the issue pops up.

For example, maybe you take extra trades when you are bored, or when the market is quiet and moving rhythmically so you think making a few extra dollars is worth the risk of taking a trade based on an untested strategy.

Use the “text” feature on your charts (if available) to write down what you messed up and your basic thoughts at the time of the mess up. If your charts don’t have a writing feature, take a screenshot of each of your trades, save them, and then at the end of the day use a little program like Microsoft’s “Paint” to type in your comments.

Keep screenshots of every trading day, with all your trades and comments, that way at the end of the day you have a visual record what you did, and why you did what you did.

Usually right before I go to bed, I write myself a reminder for the next day about what I need to focus on. Usually it is very brief, with what I need to do and how I can do it.

For example, if you have been skipping trades recently and have had to watch in horror as those trades would have produced a profit while you instead sat on the sidelines, then make a simple note for yourself at night.

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The note may read, in point form, something like:

-ONLY goal for today is to get into the trades I should

-If valid setup, place order and then sit on hands until the trade is over

-I don’t know what will happen in the future, so I just need to trust my signals and take the trades

The note will vary depending upon your personal issue, your psychology and your ideas on how to overcome the issue.

During the day, remind yourself of these points and let them seep in. Ideally, speak them out loud before and during trades to make sure you are following the advice.

I do this at night because by then I have been away from trading for several hours, and my mind is likely to be clearer after a break, so I can more objectively write a few thoughts that will help me the next day.

The Full Ritual

The daily ritual consists of pointing out issues on my charts, and writing basic comments about my state of mind at the time of the mess up.

I then take screenshots of my charts so I have a record of all my trades, issues and comments to refer back to. Take screenshots of all trades, showing enough data to provide a context for the trade. You may notice issues after the market closes, when you review you trades, you didn’t notice in real time.

At night–every night, even if things are going well–I make a note for myself and put it on my trading desk outlining two or three key things to remember the next day. Most of the time these will have to do with an issue that cropped up the prior day or recently, but sometimes they will just reminders to stay present in the moment, take all valid trade signals or don’t take random (untested) trades.

During the next trading day, I repeat these points, and say them out loud before and during trades so the thought is in my mind and can help prevent mistakes from being made in real-time.

How to Use Daily Reminders to Control Bad Habits

No matter how long you have been in the trading industry, sometimes you tend to deviate from your routine. You may have a trading plan and some strategies but probably because of boredom you go against them. There are times that you skip trades and there are times that you feel you are taking the right trades but end up failing. No matter what these problem are or what are the things that cause it, they have to be controlled immediately.

Trading badly once or twice is an issue in itself but it does not have to happen all over again in many trading sessions to come. You have to put in mind that trading is a business and that if you have bad business practices you have to stop them the moment you notice them happening. There is always a chance that the same thing will happen again but every time it will happen you have to stop it before it becomes worst. This is why you need to understand some tips that can help you get rid of the same mistakes or same bad habits over and over again. This can actually help your bank account remain healthy.

BE AWARE OF THE ISSUE

There are many trading issues out there but even when you have a full proof plan that you are following there are still problems that you will most likely face. These problems could include not trading a trade or trades that you should, taking a trade that you should not have, and messing up a trade by taking profits too late or too early. Another problem would be taking too much risk and trying so hard to get do away risks. However, the last two problems are not big concerns when it comes to binary options.

Despite of such issues, you have to know what is happening and when it will probably happen. For example, out of boredom or if there is a quiet market you may try taking extra trades. You do this because you believe that some extra cash can be worth risking for even when using a new strategy. If you mess up you can have to take some notes by writing down what messed up including your thoughts that moment you failed. If your chart does not have any writing feature, you can screenshot your trades and then save them. As the day ends you can type your comments beside the screenshot. You can screenshot every trading day so that you can have a visual journal of everything you did.

HAVE A DAILY REMINDER

It is also good to constantly remind yourself of the things that you need to do and the things that you have done during the day. You can do o by writing to yourself as a reminder for what shall transpire the next day. Make sure to make it brief and concise. For example, make a simple note when you have recently been skipping trader and you had to be awestruck when those trades earned while you were simply sitting pretty. Your notes can be from personal issues to your ideas and proposed plans on how to overcome future trading errors. As morning comes you look at your notes and you can briskly move on with your day. Make sure your mind is actually clear before you fill it up with some new reminders.

HAVE A RITUAL

You might think that having strict rituals can out you under the Obsessive Compulsive category of mental disorders. However, this is not the case. Rituals can help you get on with your day in a progressive manner. When it comes to trading your ritual may involve issues on your charts and writing comments on your state of mind when you messed up a trade. Taking screenshots can be part of your routine. Remember to take shots of all your trade so that you can keep track of the right data. You can always learn from what you have saved in your computer. This is basically good because it’s hard for you to notice trades in real time. So reviewing them could be a good idea.

When you wake up every day, you repeat all of these point and even say them aloud.

Architects, Here Are The Bad Habits You Must Eliminate From Your Daily Routine

Your success is a result of consistently performing a series of good habits…over and over again. When you allow a bad habit to take the place of a good habit, you are dramatically impeding your path to success. Bad habits kill our productivity and creativity. They slow us down and hold us back from achieving our goals. Seems simple enough right? Wrong. Bad habits are stealth, creeping up on you slowly until you don’t even notice the damage they’re causing.

What does it take to break your bad habits? Self-control — and lots of it. Research shows that self-control has huge implications for success.

University of Pennsylvania psychologists Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman conducted a study where they measured college students’ IQ scores and levels of self-control upon entering university. Four years later, they looked at the students’ grade point averages (GPA) and found that self-control was twice as important as IQ in earning a high GPA.

The self-control required to develop good habits (and stop bad ones) also serves as the foundation for a strong work ethic and high productivity. Self-control is just like a muscle — to build it up you need to exercise it. Practice flexing your self-control muscle by breaking the following bad habits:

1. Eating when you’re not hungry.

We’ve all done it, and sometimes we don’t even realize when it’s happening. Maybe you graze when you’re bored, or reach your hand into the office candy jar each time you pass by. Perhaps when you’re feeling sluggish in the afternoon, you head to the vending machine for a pick-me-up. All of these are opportunities to eat for reasons other than hunger.

Turning to food for whatever reason won’t resolve the underlying issue at hand. Try tracking your eating habits with the LooseIt or MyFitnessPal apps and note your emotional state when you in head for those mid-morning, afternoon or late-night snacks. Bored, stressed, tired, anxious…I bet you’ll be shocked at the results. Also, put your snack on a plate and sit down at the table to enjoy it, like you would for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. No more out-of-the-box.

2. Using your cell phone or tablet in bed.

Using your phone in bed has a negative effect on both the hours you are sleeping and the quality of sleep you’re getting. A study published by Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, M.D., Ph.D., revealed how the artificial blue light emitted from electronic devices like cell phones, smartphones and tablets activates arousing neurons within the brain, preventing us from feeling sleepy.

This blue light plays an important role in your mood, energy level and sleep quality. In the morning, sunlight contains high concentrations of this blue light. When your eyes are exposed to it directly, the blue light halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert. In the afternoon, the sun’s rays lose their blue light, which allows your body to produce melatonin and start making you sleepy. By the evening, your brain isn’t prepared for any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it.

The best thing you can do is to avoid these devices after dinner. Try engaging in conversation instead…shocking, I know.

3. Impulsively surfing the internet.

I frequently check my phone without any real need. I find myself using my phone while walking to the office, in the middle of lunch with coworkers, or while I’m waiting for a barista to make my coffee — but why?

If you’re always on your phone, you’re not engaged with the outside world and you’re certainly not present, living in the moment. Numerous studies show that an increase in phone usage leads to a decrease in happiness. The internet, especially social media, often sets unrealistic expectations of what our lives should be like.

Should you give up social media and internet surfing completely? Absolutely not! Try to set certain times of the day or week that are appropriate for a few minutes of browsing the web. Want to get caught up on the news every morning? Try listening to a podcast on the way to work instead of browsing the web. Your chances of getting distracted a much less.

4. Complaining

Science has found that complaining to other makes us feel bad AND it’s also catching, making those listening feel worse. Even more troublesome, constantly complaining can harm your physical and mental health by making you more stressed out. In fact, complaining can literally kill you.

Griping comes naturally for us. During an average conversation, we lob complaints at each other about once a minute, according to research. There’s a social reason for that. “Nothing unites people more strongly than a common dislike,” says Trevor Blake, author of Three Simple Steps. “The easiest way to build friendship and communicate is through something negative.”

Learning how to not complain doesn’t come easy. But it is possible. Start by tracking how often you complain and what you’re complaining about over the course of a morning. You’ll be shocked that after two or three hours it’s normally in the hundreds. Separate yourself from chronic complainers and try the “but-positive” and “get-to” techniques. For example, “I don’t like driving to work, but I’m thankful at least I can drive and I even have a job.” and “I have to pick up the kids” becomes “I get to pick up the kids.”

5. Making excuses

Building self discipline is all about putting an end to excuses and taking responsibility for your behavior and your life. Don’t get me wrong. There are times in our lives that prevent us from reaching deadlines or completing goals. Instead of explaining why we failed, you have to own up to it. Remember, excuses aren’t going to help us become more productive or successful. They’re just a crutch that we use to explain our shortcomings.

Begin by setting realistic and attainable goals so that you’re not setting yourself up for failure. Then, establish your priorities and remember that life is a training ground.

When you start to regard life as a training ground, setbacks are painted in a new light. Rather than berate yourself for mistakes you realize that failure to achieve your goal provides an amazing opportunity to learn from your mistakes.

Most important, when you mess up, hold yourself accountable and take responsibility for your actions. You’ll be surprised at how liberating it feels.

6. Checking your phone during a conversation.

Nothing turns people off like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all your energy on the conversation. You will find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.

7. Being unorganized

You may think having a cluttered desk isn’t that big of a deal. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Disorganization can stunt your professional growth and decrease your productivity. It wastes your valuable time, and can make you feel more anxious and stressed.

To become more organized, start by writing down important reminders and making schedules. Also give everything a home so that you can place things in their rightful location. Make sure you declutter regularly, such as every Friday before you go home for the weekend.

8. Using multiple notifications.

Multiple notifications are a productivity nightmare. Studies have shown that hopping on your phone and e-mail every time they ping for your attention causes your productivity to plummet. Getting notified every time a message drops onto your phone or an e-mail arrives in your inbox might feel productive, but it isn’t. Instead of working at the whim of your notifications, pool all your e-mails/texts and check them at designated times (e.g., respond to your e-mails every hour). This is a proven, productive way to work.

9. Saying “yes” when you should say “no.”

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout and even depression, all of which erode self-control. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield.

When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.”

Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. Just remind yourself that saying no is an act of self-control now that will increase your future self-control by preventing the negative effects of over commitment.

10. Thinking about toxic people.

There are always going to be toxic people who have a way of getting under your skin and staying there. Each time you find yourself thinking about a coworker or person who makes your blood boil, practice being grateful for someone else in your life instead. There are plenty of people out there who deserve your attention, and the last thing you want to do is think about the people who don’t matter when there are people who do.

11. Multitasking during meetings.

You should never give anything half of your attention, especially meetings. If a meeting isn’t worth your full attention, then you shouldn’t be attending it in the first place; and if the meeting is worth your full attention, then you need to get everything you can out of it. Multitasking during meetings hurts you by creating the impression that you believe you are more important than everyone else.

12. Not having a savings goal or plan

Whether you are saving for retirement or creating an emergency fund, having money set aside and collecting interest can reduce stress since you don’t have to worry about the future or any “what-if” scenarios. Knowing that you have money to fall back on just in case is a real lifesaver.

Automate your savings. For example, take a certain percentage of your paycheck and automatically deposit it into a savings account. This ensures that you’re constantly saving money.

13. Smoking cigarettes

Smoking can result in cancer, long-term respiratory diseases, and heart disease. It’s also expensive and just plain nasty. I honestly don’t know anyone who enjoys the stench of stale cigarette smoke.

Quitting smoking is hard. Because it’s so addictive, you may have to seek counseling or a behavioral therapist. However, there are nicotine replacements and medicine that can also help you.

14. Gossiping.

Gossipers derive pleasure from other people’s misfortunes. It might be fun to peer into somebody else’s personal or professional faux pas at first, but over time, it gets tiring, makes you feel gross and hurts other people. There are too many positives out there and too much to learn from interesting people to waste your time talking about the misfortune of others.

15. Waiting to act until you know you’ll succeed.

Most writers spend countless hours brainstorming their characters and plots, and they even write page after page that they know they’ll never include in the books. They do this because they know that ideas need time to develop. We tend to freeze up when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and that what we produce might not be any good. But how can you ever produce something great if you don’t get started and give your ideas time to evolve? Author Jodi Picoult summarized the importance of avoiding perfectionism perfectly: “You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.”

16. Comparing yourself to other people.

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don’t allow anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from you. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain — you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

17. Putting yourself into debt

Stressing out over your finances can do some serious damage to your health. Money concerns can cause high blood pressure, ulcers, digestive problems, headaches, depression, and muscle tension or lower-back pain.

Take control of your finances by creating and sticking to a budget. This will help you understand how you’re spending your money each month so you can plan accordingly. For example, if you’re spending more than you earn, it’s time to start trimming the fat.

Bringing It All Together

By practicing self-control to break these bad habits, you can simultaneously strengthen your self-control muscle and abolish nasty habits that have the power to bring your career to a grinding halt.

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