We all know that how we spend the first hour of our mornings sets us up for the day and can make a big difference to how we approach our trading and ultimately our P/L.
We all want to be calm, alert traders, confident in our abilities (and confident in our trading method, but that’s for another post) and clear on what we are going to do when the markets present us with an opportunity.
Our morning routine either supports us in that goal or undermines our wish for calm clarity.
Even before we start interacting with the markets, we might already be stressed, tired and angry. Did we wake up with a hangover, spill our coffee, argue with our partner about putting the rubbish out, even develop a low-level of anxiety because of the depressing news report we heard on the radio?
All those negative feelings are due to a choice we have made somewhere along the line. We chose to stay up late and finish the bottle of wine, we chose to hit the snooze button and be rushed for time, we chose to start an argument (or engage in one). Putting on the radio or TV was a choice.
So what sort of choices would support our calm and focussed trader’s mind?
Anything that makes us feel calm and focussed. A quiet environment, getting up 5 minutes earlier, putting the rubbish out the night before, 5 minutes meditation, a leisurely cup of coffee while watching the sun come up. Whatever helps you start the day in a fantastic frame of mind, do it.
Some of you might be thinking “You’re kidding, there’s no way I’ve got time to meditate or make a decent breakfast, not in my crazy house!”
It’s true, it can feel overwhelming to completely overhaul your morning routine, especially if you share your home with partners, kids or animals (I mean the 4-legged kind, not your brother!), but changes can be made incrementally. In fact, there are many schools of thought that teach incremental changes as being the best sort.
So, here’s the challenge:
Choose one thing you currently do every morning that doesn’t support a calm and focussed trading mindset. Over the next week stop doing it.
Then, choose one thing that you would like to add to your morning routine that would support a calm and focussed trading mindset. Do it every morning for a week.
If you feel pressed for time, choose something that doesn’t take very long, say 5 minutes, and replace it with something that takes about the same amount of time.
For example, keep the TV off and spend 5 minutes drinking your morning brew in complete silence. Or maybe avoid checking in with Facebook until later in the day and make a healthy breakfast instead.
Just make a choice to replace one action with another and make a commitment to do it for just one week. Just one.
Then, this time next week check in to see how your week’s been. Have you started each trading day in a better state of mind? Has this been reflected in your trading results?