Trading Goals—Making and Achieving Them

01/07/2016 6:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

John Forman, of The Essentials of Trading, shares a recent post from Paul J. Singh that outlines nine different ways for traders to achieve their “trading goals in 2016.” John offers his take on them and even adds another of his own to the mix.

Over at The Market Speculator, Paul J. Singh has a post offering up eight ways to achieve your trading goals in 2016.

They are as follows:

  1. Call them goals, not resolutions.
  2. Say “I will” or “I am”
  3. Create specific actions.
  4. Focus on mastery
  5. Focus on the Few
  6. Act on your Goals
  7. Change Your Habits
  8. Persevere
  9. Review and Analyze Weekly

A little typo there in your post Paul. You had #9 also listed as #8.

I particularly like #4, especially for developing traders. A lot of folks will tend to want to make return-oriented trading goals like, “I will make a 25% return in 2016.” No doubt, that is a somewhat conservative annual return compared to what many traders have in mind for this year. I’ve been there. I know.

The reason for focusing on mastery, though, is that it’s something you can control. You can do specific things to improve yourself as a trader. You cannot control the markets, therefore, you cannot control the returns you make. Granted, those who trade for a living and tend to operate on very short-term time scales have a higher degree of predictability in their performance because of the sheer number of trades they make (assuming they have a trading strategy/system with a clear statistical edge). For those who don’t trade as much, though, are more subject to the trading opportunities they do find.

Along a similar line, #9 might be a bit of overkill. Weekly check-ins are fine if you’re a high frequency trader. If you’re a swing or position trader, though, you can probably get away with something like a monthly review.

The other thing I would throw in the mix is that you might not want to share your trading goals with others. This may sound counter-intuitive, as many feel like this helps keep them accountable. The problem is, though, that I read something during my PhD research which suggests that goal sharing can actually be counter-productive.

By John Forman, Author, The Essentials of Trading

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