Stock trading is a tough game. Discipline, commitment and patience are what is required at the beginning of your journey. When you can control your actions and emotions, you will be on the right track to trading success.

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A professional trader once told me “the way you act when you enter a trade will determine if you are profitable or not”.

Here are my top 10 tips to fast track your trading success.

1. Keep a journal – Keeping a journal of your thoughts and actions after each trade is a great way to hone in on any recurring issues you may be facing. A simple word document is fine for this and can literally take 10 minutes per day. This is great for keeping an eye on what you’re doing well (and what you’re not).

2. Avoid trading with a smartphone or smartwatch – Both of these gives you access to trade anywhere, any time you have your phone or watch. This seems like a great idea but it’s dangerous to do. It’s better to take time to research whatever you’re thinking about investing in before making your selections instead of making quick decisions based on a whim. Professional traders don’t trade high stakes on smartphones and watches; why should you?

3. Get help – There are many great traders out there. Find a mentor and follow their advice. This might end up costing something, but think of it as investing in you! There are many great training courses in trading that will improve your knowledge and make you a more skilled trader.

4. Backtest your trades – Backtesting simply means knowing the results on past trades you’ve made. It gives you an idea of your success and failure rate and tracks your trading progression over time. It will answer the question of what your potential future profit might be. This is a must if you want to improve your long term results as an investor.

5. Keep records – All businesses keep track of how their business is doing. This could include profit and loss records and day to day expenses. Recording your investment trading patterns is no different if you’re doing it for business purposes. Depending on how much you trade, this could take you as little as 20 minutes per day and will keep you from looking up in a month’s time and wondering where all your profits have gone.

6. Take a Break – This sounds like a really easy thing to do right? But when there is money to be made nearly every day of the year, people don’t want to stop. Like everything in life, sports, work, being a full-time parent, the mind needs a rest from time to time. Trading is no different than any other career. Turn the computer off periodically, even for a week, to relax the mind and come back feeling refreshed.

7. Don’t think about the money – This is easier said than done. It’s hard to take our mind off the money which is our reward in the market. Instead try thinking about your trading process; are you following your plan? Do you abide by your rules? Are you following the risk profile in your trading plan? Focus on how you trade. If all you can do is think about the money, you are probably risking too much and need to decrease your trade sizes.

8. Being Fit for Work – How can you improve yourself for trading? A lot of mental energy is required for trading. Late nights and a bad diet or lifestyle don’t bode well for the trading game. Fitness, good sleeping patterns, a good diet and some mind exercises are some of the disciplines needed to keep yourself alert and fit. Try implementing some into your lifestyle.

9. Network with other traders – Trading can be an isolated profession to take on. Try finding someone you can bounce ideas off. You might find they may be experiencing the same trading issues as yourself. They may also have some great ideas that you may not have thought of.

10. Review, cleanse and repeat – The best traders and investors don’t rest on their laurels. Trading is a continually learning process, and most of the time you’re learning about your own processes to figure out what works and doesn’t work. Take time to review the records we talked about in point #5. Understand your edge in the market and spend more time following these types of deals. Conversely, look at your losers and stop investing your time doing trades that don’t work. Make sure to address any issues you are having so you can maximize your time and income.

Some of these improvements have a lot to do with common sense but most new traders only have one thing on their mind; “money”. You have to realize there are other aspects of trading and that doing it right involves a lifelong learning process. If it was easy, every man and his dog would be involved.

Every day you should be asking yourself “What can I do today to improve my trading”. Review the ideas above; you will be pleasantly surprised at your advancement and your growing portfolio.

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