Updated: May 2, 2020
One of my greatest assets, and what has greatly accelerated my trading process, was implementing a clear routine and habits in my life! First of all we have to understand, what is a habit? A habit is something that you do often or regularly without thinking about it, your subconscious mind is totally in control of your habits, it is a routine, it is a flow! A habit is something very powerful, because your subconscious mind is completely in control of it! And as you know, or maybe don't know, your subconscious mind is 40 times stronger than your consciousness. Once you make "something" a habit, it is very difficult to get rid of it. Look at people who smoke, for example. It is very difficult for them to quit smoking because this habit is etched deep in their subconscious mind. Studies have proven that 70% of smokers are not addicted to the nicotine itself. They have become addicted to its effects, its habits: smoking gives your day some structure, a 15-minute break at work where you can let off steam, social contact, and so on. Once you are aware of how powerful habits are and how you can implement them positively or if necessary, change some of your "bad" habits, a whole new world will open up for you!
First of all, we need to understand how a habit works, what is the process in our brain? The habit formation within our brain is a three-step process. First of all, there is a trigger to tell your brain to go into automatic mode. The second step, there is a clear routine, which can be physical, mental or emotional. Finally, the third step, there is a reward, which helps your brain to figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
Again, we will take the example of a smoker. The first step is the trigger. It's a busy day at work, you feel pressured, you are feeling stressed and you have to let off some steam. The second step is the routine. You long more and more to let off steam, to get out there, to go outside (emotional routine). You walk outside (physical routine), you see a few colleagues, they are also smoking. You ask for a fire and start smoking (mental routine). The last step is our reward. You have had a nice social contact, a good laugh and chat and you feel ready to get back to work with fresh, new energy, you have a feeling of euphoria. Once we have clearly analyzed and dissected our habit, we can change it! You can't extinguish a "bad" habit entirely, but you can change it by using the same trigger, provide the same reward, but change the routine.
The smoker maintains the same trigger, he/she is stressed at work and wants to let off some steam. You long for blowing off steam (emotional routine), walking outside (physical routine), and instead of smoking along, take a 5-10 minute walk, and then have a coffee with your colleagues. Your reward remains the same. You had a nice chat with your colleagues, you could blow off some steam and you feel you can go to work again with fresh, new energy. You feel euphoric again.
Of course, you will not include this habit in 1,2,3. Because, as has been said, a habit is very deeply implemented in the subconscious mind. So it takes some time to adapt to this new routine. This usually takes 3 weeks before your subconscious mind has been able to make a clear shift, so you will have to persist, because once your subconscious mind has caught your new, positive habit, it will have a very hard time to leave again! Now that we understand the three-step process of habits, we can also create new, good habits. As you know, I am a huge fan of back testing in trading (if you don't know what backtesting is, you should urgently look at online education.) https://www.theforexdictionary.com/coaching I backtest for 2 hours daily, this costs me no energy, because my subconscious mind has taken control of my consciousness, it has become a habit. First of all I had to find a clear trigger. For me personally, the deep desire to become the best trader and truly understanding the market was enough. Some people will need a clearer trigger! My routine: computer on, headphones on, a nice tune, green tea, Google Spreadsheet and Tradingview open and lets backtest! I do all this while I have a deep desire for my reward, this reward will help you keep up your habit! My reward is clear. 20 minutes of watching a nature documentary, this reward gives me a lot of pleasure, joy and fulfillment! It is extremely important that your reward is the same every time, so that your subconscious mind can link this reward with your entire routine! The conclusion is very simple, habits are the difference between failure and winning! Analyze your habits thoroughly, analyze them (three-step process) and adjust them where necessary! In addition, make the best habits in your life and become a f*cking beast in everything you do! Let's win! Armani-Rochas Decock The TFD team.