What’s your plan for 2014?
I’m often asked what it is that’s ‘different’ about my trading compared to most traders… For instance, how is it that I can trade full time for a living from so many different trading styles?
It all comes down to one thing: Having a plan with written goals.
I credit my trading & investing success in no small part to the discipline of having a written plan with specific goals, and holding myself accountable to taking action to achieve those goals.
What’s my formula for success? Simple:
Written Goals + Accountability + Action + Discipline = Success!
Before I started regularly writing down my goals, I had little success in trading. Since choosing to be accountable for my success, developing the habit of regular goal setting, and taking disciplined action through the Trading Consistently Journal I’ve abolished my bad trading habits and have been trading consistently since then.
If you’re struggling with the thought of creating a plan and setting goals, or think it’s just going to be a chore, then ask yourself this question:
Without setting written goals, have you managed to achieve everything that you want out of life?
If you answered “No” then perhaps it’s time you started doing things differently!
Living To A Plan!
Frankly, if you fail to have a plan, you might as well plan to fail!
Rather than drifting through 2014 without any real direction (like most people will) and waking up in another 12 months to the realisation that nothing has changed, take active control of your life today!
Here are 8 simple steps to get you started:
Step 1: Your ‘WHY’
Figure out why you are trading in the first place… What is it that your trading is meant to deliver for you? Write that down in your trading plan for you to see every single day.
Answering ‘make more money‘ is not enough, because it won’t sustain you as a source of motivation when things get challenging.
Yes, there’s no point trading unless you have a realistic expectation of making a profit, but you need to be able to answer the question:
What is the money going to allow me to do?
(Examples might include: Quit my job; Spend more time with my family; Buy that shiny new Lamborghini…)
This is your ‘WHY’.
Step 2: Your ‘WHAT’
Calculate how much cash or income you’ll need from your trading to achieve this. For example, if you want to be able to quit your job, then your investments might need to replace some or all of your current income.
Write down the dollar amount that you need. This is your ‘WHAT’.
Step 3: By ‘WHEN’
Set a target date BY WHEN you (realistically) want to have achieved this financial outcome. Write down the target date.
Step 4: Make It ‘REAL’
Congratulations – you’ve just created your overall investing goal! Now, sign and date your written goal and show it to someone that you trust and who can help you to stay accountable to it.
This is a very important step, as it will make the goal all the more REAL.
Step 5: TWELVE MONTH GOAL
Knowing your overall investing goal, ask yourself what you need to have achieved in 2014 in order to feel that you’ll be on track towards your overall goal by the end of the year.
Write this down as your 12-MONTH GOAL.
Step 6: THREE AND SIX MONTH GOALS
Break your 12-month goal down into smaller chunks. What do you need to have achieved in 6 months to be on track towards your 12-month goal? What about 3 months from now?
Write down your 6-MONTH GOAL and your 3-MONTH GOAL.
Step 7: ONE MONTH GOALS
Now let’s start to put the pressure on… What do you need to have done by next month in order to be on track?
Write down 3 SPECIFIC 1-MONTH GOALS that you want to have achieved by this time next month.
Step 8: SEVEN DAY ACTION PLAN!
Finally, what SPECIFIC ACTIONS will you take over the next week towards achieving these goals?
Create your personal 7-DAY ACTION PLAN to kick-off 2014! Again, show this to someone you trust who will help you stay accountable, and keep it somewhere visible (like on your Trading Consistently Journal) as a constant reminder to TAKE ACTION!
Give it a try and make your ‘New Year Trading Resolutions’ truly meaningful in 2014!
You must MAKE time!
We’re all busy people with full lives, so making time for trading usually means giving up something else. What do you currently spend time on that is less important to you than achieving financial independence?
What can you SACRIFICE to make room in your life for trading?
Even if you work long hours, you’ll probably have weekends, evenings, or even annual leave that you could use to spend time on trading/back testing.
I remember years ago working ridiculous hours in my old corporate job. I considered myself to be truly ‘time poor’, so to get started with my trading I would learn everything I could in the evenings or on weekends and even do some backtesting with software like Forex Tester II (NON affiliated link!).
This meant giving up a few leisure activities such as watching TV (no real loss there!) and spending many weekends looking at trading books and forums rather than going to the pub / beach / footy. But that still wasn’t enough for me to be consistently profitable because I wasn’t trading any strategy in a consistent and disciplined manner. Only when I took one strategy at a time and applied its rules consistently over 100 sample trades did I start to realise how many mistakes I was doing when trading. Once I learned to abolish these mistakes by using the same strategy used by the aviation industry did I realise that this is powerful and every other trader needs to get involved.
But achieving financial independence was far more important to me than these things. And the end result of those early sacrifices is that I now have far more time and more flexibility to do what I want when I want, than I ever would have dreamed of in my old life!
Consider This A Kick In The Pants!
Remember, no one else cares as much about your goals and dreams as you do, and no one else is going to do the work for you.
If your financial independence is truly important, then shake off any holiday lethargy and take action today.
This might be a simple action, but even a small step brings your goals that little bit closer. Sign up to your FREE Journal right now and reap the benefits.
Until next time…