Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Blog Post 6 - Beginner Series - Craig Sanders

 Hello Traders.

I'm being incredibly lazy today and not working since it's my birthday. Instead I am spending time with family... mainly walking around like a lost puppy, being reprimanded every time I mention 'charts' or 'I'll just check how the Ftse is doing.' 

One thing I didn't want to skip however was the latest beginner blog post. I enjoy reading them and I know some of you do also. So here we have it, Craig's latest post.

Now I can stop hiding, climb out of the cupboard and pretend like I simply fell asleep for ten minutes. Back to all things cake for me!

I hope you've all had a great trading week.


Blog Post 6 - Craig Sanders
Motivation Method.

Hi all and welcome to the start of the year ahead of 2017. I hope you have all had a superb Christmas and New Year break and are now re-energized and re-focussed for each of your trading journeys into the unknown year ahead. Be warned as you read on as I’m suffering from jet lag and I hope you get where I’m aiming at with this post and not completely confused like I’m currently experiencing.

I spent my xmas break back home in England with my family, it was a well needed escape back into the cooler climate England has to offer and I’ve just recently arrived back into 30-degrees sunshine in Australia and looking forward to setting up the charts for the first time this year.

I’m going to explain a method, that I put together myself mid last year. It’s something very basic I came up with that I found to self-motivate and keep me on the straight and narrow through the good and bad trading days and if it helps others also then it’s a job well done. However, for those of you that don’t choose to give it a try that’s fair enough as it’s not always a 1 fit all approach and I’m sure many people out there can motivate themselves in many other ways away from physical exercise.

It was around the middle of last year when I transitioned from what I thought at the time to be a ‘demo pro trader’ into a ‘scrotum newbie live trader’ or (trainee) for better terms. There was a point that I had decided enough was enough on my demo account and I was over the moon with what I was consistently achieving month by month and that was the time to transfer real funds into my brokerage account and have a crack at real time trading the FTSE 100 on the 5-minute timeframe.

After a few days of trading with real money and beginning to get a feel of trading with my own money, out of the blue I seemed to hit a downward spiral with a string of 5 losing trades. Trying my hardest to stay positive and re-confirming to myself that this is perfectly normal and I had stuck to my plan. This was beginning to prove more difficult than I had ever imagined.

Day by day a few more days past by and I seemed to be in a sort of ‘lock down’ mode, attracting losing trades only, so frustrating it gives me shivers reminiscing. Eventually leading to excessive over trading, trying to win back all the losses and eventually onto the occasional emotional trade here and there which as we all know can result in huge damage to one’s account!  
The nightmare had finally become real, all the previous moments in the past where I had told myself

‘I’ve got this mindset stuff down pat’ … ‘I’m cool with my own phycology and understand that I can’t win every trade’ … ‘when I come across losing trades, I’ll continue with my plan no matter what’ … ‘I’m different to the 90% so it’s all good’

they didn’t seem to matter or be working anymore alongside my belief system. My Head space had shattered; the emotions were flooding me from the inside out and they had taken on a path of their
own, resulting in more wreck less trading with no clear solution of how I could override it. The frustration was so immense and I felt I had no one to turn to for advice.

The above situation eventually made me stop in my tracks and begin educating myself on ‘self-development’. I read so much material and watched countless YouTube videos and slowly but surely began understanding that the problems I were experiencing were quite common traits and they were being created within myself and if I wanted to turn my trading around then I also had to turn my mindset around but firstly by admitting it, acknowledging it and then actioning it.

Before the above mindset gap is noticed and confirmed it is highly common that we as individuals tend to go through a system blaming process and start to point the finger towards either the brokerage or the course we learned to trade from. This of course is a skewed outlook but in that particular moment you are convinced otherwise. As an example, like myself did once or twice, ‘you get stopped out again right before the market turns and goes in your original desired direction’. This creating frustration and anger and making you question whether the broker is potentially ripping you off?!! (you know the thoughts I’m talking about).

Over a period of weeks, I had soon found a new routine that I learned to tweak and work in with my trading, it involved several personal development strategies and had started to be a proven turning point for myself and in fact today is fine tuned to suit my daily approach.

Without diving into the fine detail as it’s not always necessary to do so, however I will explain the main motivational aspect that I feel works in well for me before the market opens at 8am UK time. It’s what I call my 10km flog out! I’ve always been a keen runner and love staying as active as possible and at the best of times I like to keep in as best shape as I physically can be depending upon
my lifestyle at the given time.

So, alongside my new found daily meditation practices, motivational audios, hot yoga and a few other activities I like to participate in, I have this strong desire to be sure to run my 10km consistently before the market opens and trading commences each and every day Monday through to Friday. Remember, this is only something I’m explaining that I choose to do and I personally have tested and proved it to work for myself. It must be the endorphins from high intense physical exercise that puts me in a particular positive state of mind.  You could be a keen swimmer or a keen meat head in the gym, either way if you set yourself a goal mentally and make it beyond your physical capability then this is where I have found running to work for myself with the ‘mind over matter’ approach, meaning set the goal and don’t stop until you reach it or exceed it!

I basically set off for my run 2 hours before market opening, the run itself is a distance of 10km, 5km 1 way and 5km back. This routine basically ‘flogs’ my body and mind which is another saying for pushing my body and mind past what it thinks it can achieve physically and mentally (MIND OVER MATTER).

Hopefully I haven’t gone to far off subject as this isn’t a post about how to run 10km but merely a daily ritual I set myself before trading the markets each day. The reason I felt the urge to discuss it is due to the ‘high’ that it gives me after completing the full 10km and the fartlek training without quitting half way through or cutting short either the run, press-ups or slacking on the speed I choose to run. I choose to use it as a practice of motivation, a sense of fulfilment as well as the primary motive being a sense of achievement. If I complete my run to the best of my ability each day and then go onto trade, it somehow has proven to help my mental state whilst trading and experiencing either winners or losers. I also mix in swimming when needing to take a rest from the running and again, set pre-determined goals before I begin and always make sure I succeed in meeting my end aim!

Underneath the gruelling exhaustion I sometimes find myself in whilst in mid-run with the Australian sun beating my ass whilst I choose to run at some ridiculous times most days just to make it even harder. I tend to have a set of self-esteem affirmations I read out to myself whilst running. I personally find that being under such intense exhaustion and then focussing on repeating my affirmations, whether they be goals or motivational quotes to do with trading, they help me tremendously with feeling positive and on top of my game mentally and physically for the remainder of my day. This of course I find highly beneficial for when the time to trade comes around after a hot shower and freshly dressed to commence studying the markets. All a while I’m constantly self-analysing myself and my thoughts and mindful of any euphoric states I could potential slip into and become over confident whilst trading.

I guess the message I’m trying to convey is anyone can exercise in any particular way to suit themselves, whether that be running, swimming, walking, cycling or whatever you wish… Try it! Find your sense of satisfaction, choose something you enjoy, it doesn’t even need to be exercise it could be an interest in something else, being artistic for instance and attempting each day to draw something if that’s your thing…. Basically, find your thing, your interest and then consistently attempt to exceed at it each day before or after the markets, whichever time suits your lifestyle.

Win or lose in any particular trade, what I have found from sticking with my daily exercise routine is that I manage to push through the negative trading days and run another day…. which leads to trading another day, keeping risk management strict and sticking to the plan! It seems to keep me balanced and intact, yet before the running the losing spirals were overcoming my logic and setting off emotions which eventually if occurred repetitively could cause self-doubt to creep in and blur my vision. So naturally I have continued my running routine alongside other routines which clustered together have created a daily ritual I guess you could call it, it works for me so I shall continue to do it over and over again!

I believe it’s called ‘BALANCE’ I’ve began experiencing, or I’m just more experienced today, or a mixture of the 2. The trick is to find your ‘THING’ and that it gives you the clarity for the right frame of mind.

So, going into 2017 what could you apply if anything to your daily trading routine that could potentially set your mind at ease? or could add extra confluence for calmness?

Is there a particular hobby you could be involved in that would give you more of a daily balance/peace of mind? Overall, giving you the extra mental edge to add to your trading success.

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