Why It's So Hard to Develop Good Trading Habits

Winsor Hoang |

While there is a great psychological aspect to becoming a profitable Forex trader, part of this psychology requires consistent efforts into putting into practice the good trading habits that you learn. However, if you’ve ever tried to turn any new skill into a habit that you can perform without constant reminders or self-control, you’ll know that it is often easier said than done. While there may not an exact number as to how long it takes before something becomes habitual, it is on average anywhere between 18-224 days depending on what it is.

The more psychological and physical investment the task requires, the longer it takes to form the habit. Forex trading takes a great amount of psychological effort and this is what most new traders do not consider when they become traders. They assume they can train their minds quickly to think like a trader and turn trading tasks into habits. But as mentioned above, it is easier said than done, here’s why:

Forex trading is not simply a numbers game where you try to understand the market and how to maneuver through it. Many people interested in finance could easily obtain the mindset to do this. What most people don’t realize is the market cannot be fully understood, nor is it meant to be, and there are a number of emotional blocks a trader experiences. It is in fact easier to develop bad trading habits that hinder your success than to form positive trading habits that will aide in making consistent trading profits.

One of the reasons for this is how people are naturally driven by greed and fear. These are two emotions that take more than one class in psychology to supress. It takes consistent effort to train your thoughts into not giving into these two very powerful emotions. What’s more the market itself is driven by these emotions and thus each time you enter it you are being forced to deal with these two emotions.

Greed and fear will always get in the way of forming a positive trading habit, unless you constantly stay on top of managing them. Majority of people, however, don’t try to consistently suppress certain emotions that get in the way of success. After all, telling yourself not to obey greed is not the same reminding yourself to drink water every morning.

Another issue with forming trading habits is people’s relationship and emotional attachment to money. No one wants to lose money. If you forget to drink water one day, you probably won’t feel like kicking yourself or become emotionally distraught over it. But when you are in the process of developing a trading habit, and you’re losing money, emotional and physical stress are usually experienced. There’s more at stake, and every fiber of your being feels it. You feel a desperation to get things right, never make a mistake and above all never lose money.

This desperation is a third reason Forex traders struggle to form habits that give them consistent profits. If you’ve ever been desperate to make something work, you know how quickly you can turn to short cuts and ad habits. Forex traders do this by spending more time looking for the Holy Grail than sticking to creating a trading edge. They fall for well-pitched sales pages and common lies that play to their emotions and they try to rush the entire Forex journey, becoming obsessed with being quick millionaires rather than creating an edge that will help build their profits over a long period of time.

224 days is too long for the average Forex trader who is desperate to keep their accounts from losing any more money. But in order to become successful, they need to constantly fight off greed and fear each time they trade, until they no longer rely on their “gut feeling” and focus more on their trading knowledge. They need to stop thinking they are failures because they had a series of losses.

Forex is not a means for a quick buck. If you are desperately seeking riches, this is not the field for you. Forex is a skill you grow over time. There is no Holy Grail, or fast road to wealth. Focus on building your skill and creating consistent profits with your trading edge. If you keep these things in mind, you will be able to develop good trading habits.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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