How are your mornings? When you get up from bed, how do you feel? Are you like the millions of people around the planet that dread the morning and drag themselves out of bed quite reluctantly, usually after only 4 or 5 hours of sleep? Or, do you bound from the bed full of gratitude and chomping at the bit to get your day started? Well, I hope it’s the later. The way you start your day can set the tone and the tenor for the challenges that meet you and how – or not – that you address them. But let’s begin at the beginning. In order to wake up fresh you must first get a good night’s sleep. A while back I wrote an article on the ravages of sleep deprivation and how so many people are suffering and endangering their health by not getting enough sleep. It’s difficult, if not impossible to start your day feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed if your bottom is dragging and your head is bobbing because you didn’t get enough sleep. You might want to check that Lesson’s From the Pros piece out if you haven’t already.
Something else that will help you wake up productive is to have a daily routine on your trading; an effective daily routine. What do I mean by an effective daily routine? Well, it is a list of “to do” items to begin your day or your trading session. Many of you have a “to do” routine in your head and that would be fine; that is, if you were a robot. Humans forget, and they forget early and often, so it is important that you write your routine items down and keep them handy. In addition to writing them down, it is also important to prioritize them to ensure that you are handling first things first on your list. Finally, make these points a check-list to proceed through item by item, thereby gaining momentum along with expanding self-esteem with each check-off. Just doing those three things, i.e., writing them down, prioritizing and making them a checklist, will take you a long way towards having an effective routine. Routines are great habit formers. And, of course, you know how important and powerful “good” habits are to achieving your goals and maintaining follow-through in order to get the results that you want in your trading.
Now that we’ve established the critical nature of the effective daily routine, let’s look at an example of one-such routine:
- First thing in the morning drink 8 to 16 ounces of water. After sleeping for 7 to 8 hours your body is dehydrated and the lost water must be replenished. Humans are 70 to 75% water and we require water to survive. We are electrical beings and water is among the most efficient conductors of electricity in the Universe. Your trillions upon trillions of cells must have water to transmit all those communications, especially in the brain. You’ll want to ensure that your brain is firing on all cylinders by being hydrated fully when you open your trading platform.
- Get your body in gear by doing some calisthenics or exercise. It doesn’t have to be in a gym for hours. It can be a 30 – 40 minute session right in the privacy of your bedroom. You’ll supercharge your self-esteem and get your body warm and ready to support clear thinking at the platform.
- Eat a light, nutritious breakfast to ramp up your blood sugar levels and the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that your body needs for peak performance. This is especially important after a bit of vigorous exercise. If your blood sugar levels fall too low your thinking will become foggy and your ability to process information will be compromised. However, be careful about eating too much because you’ll cause a larger portion of your blood to be diverted from other parts of your body, like your brain, and deposited in your gut to digest all that food. This will backfire and induce that “foggy-headed” state you were trying to avoid.
- Take 20 – 30 minutes for a meditative session. This will begin to integrate and coordinate the various parts of your body: for instance, your circulatory system, autonomic system, limbic system, lungs and heart to name a few. When you are integrated your parts work more smoothly together; much like a symphony orchestra where just before the conductor taps her baton the orchestra is warming up and sounds cacophonous, and shortly after she taps her baton there is a slight pause and then the orchestra begins to play harmoniously creating a beautiful sound. This is just the type of sound that you want the key strokes of your computer making when beginning to trade.
After these items you may implement a number of additional ones to address the mechanical aspects of your trading. For the sake of discussion, we talked about a few “internal” data routine points that are designed to get your mind and heart ready to go into the trader trenches. These are the first steps to making your morning and trading day productive and to kick-start you into a mindset to take advantage of all the curve balls as well nerf balls that come your way so that you can set yourself up for the occasional home run. Stop grieving the trader you could have been and invest in the trader you choose Now to be! This is what we teach in “Mastering the Mental Game” online and on-location courses.
Written by Dr. Woody Johnson, Online Trading Academy Instructor
Dr. M. Woodruff Johnson has actively and successfully traded stock options, forex and futures since 2000. He is the former Executive Director of the Kaiser Permanente, Watts Counseling and Learning Center. He holds certifications in Accelerated Learning, Neurosensory Development and hypnotherapy, and he is a Certified NLP Master Practitioner.
Dr. Woody is also an Associate Professor and teaches graduate psychology courses at Pacific Oaks College and Ryokan College. He has provided clinical staff services in hospitals and community clinics as well. He has a passion for helping others to achieve their goals and get the results in trading and life that they desire.
Dr. Woody has been using mind/body healing techniques both professionally and personally with much success for many years. He is the author of “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.”