3 Daily Activities to Help You Hit Your Goals

 

KAIZEN… a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc.

Many people believe that to do great things they need to take BIG steps.  This has proven NOT to be true.  The idea that small changes lead to big changes has been practiced in the East for centuries.  

 

Our brain is divided into 3 parts:

  1. the reptilian (fight or flight)
  2. the midbrain (regulates our temperature and emotions)
  3. and the cortex (civilized brain: science, art …).

What most of us do is try and take on large projects which then signals “fear” to our brain.  This ends up shutting down the cortex region, and lighting up our reptilian nature to take flight… This often results in us abandoning our goals because they become overwhelming.

What I’m about to propose is that we take our goals and break them down into small steps that will eventually lead to big things!  Yes, I know, we traders tend to like instant gratification, but the more time I spend with CYT, the more I am learning that patience (and consistency) is key!

Let’s get started!  There are only 3 things you need to do and they are as follows:

 

3 Daily Activities to Help You Hit Your Goals

1. DAILY JOURNALING

If you haven’t read Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” I will break it down for you —-

Put simply, she advises writing “the morning pages.”  Basically, these are 3 pages of longhand writing, a stream of consciousness.  A “brain drain,” if you will ~

This will enable you to get all of your thoughts out on to the page so your mind won’t be cluttered as you go about completing the next step.  I also find this practice to be very much enlightening.  You never know what is going to present itself.

2. DAILY PLANNING

On the planning page, list everything you need to get done that day.

Prioritize each task and set the time-space and allotment for each one.

Then, as you’re going about your day, you can alter your plan as necessary (but ONLY if it’s necessary —- try and stick with your plan as best as you can).

3. DAILY DOCUMENTATION 

At the end of the day, you can look back and make notes as to what you did and did not accomplish and WHY.  This “WHY” seems to show up a lot in my work and well, life in general.

Whatever did not get done that day, be sure to either re-schedule or remove the item from your plan if you have either delegated it or determined it was not important.

This prioritizing will help keep your stress level to a minimum.  Also, take time as you review to reinforce that each of the items completed has contributed to your greater goal and how so.

 

Kaizen in Action…

This may seem like a lot, but you have the time.  Let me restate that: IF you want to see results (achieve your big goal), you will make the time.  …It’s really that simple!

In writing this post I am hoping that your take away is all-encompassing — how you manage your “life.”  But to dial down on how to apply Kaizen directly to trading, there have been 3 areas in my experience that qualify:

*position size

*number of holdings

*education

The last one I believe has helped me most.  I have learned to consume far less information and focus only on that which I have (over the years) singled out as my “go to” sources.  This has significantly cut down on my “information-overload.”  CYT is tops on my list!

 

Let me know if you’re going to try this and if so, how it’s working for you!  Now, GO!

 
 

How our Lifestyle, Environment, and Vision for Why We’re Trading Effects our PERFORMANCE

So… You Wanna Be A Trader???

I’m guessing your answer is, YES!  Or why would you be here?

But I’m sure you didn’t grow up (or maybe you did) telling your 3rd-grade teacher that one day you wanted to be the world’s best stock trader.  My aspiration at that age was to be in a rock and roll band (the drummer).  My poor mom! 

So how did I get “here?” and what can I impart on you regarding my experience?  That is the question…

I never set out to be a trader.  Actually, I was loving life as a corporate consultant, helping management teams optimize their performance.  THEN, the financial crisis hit and well, consulting was one of the first investments to get cut. 

Right about that time I was fortunate enough to sell some real estate right before the downturn and thankfully invested my profits in a very conservative CD earning 6% a year.  Remember those days?  I felt most brilliant and jumped into the market in January 2009.

 

Over-Confidence Lead to Mistakes

My brilliance translated into over-confidence and I made EVERY mistake one trader can make.  Some of the big ones included…

  • Position size (due to over-confidence)
  • Not honoring my plan (if I wasn’t honoring my overall “life” plan, why would I honor my trading plan — think about that)  
  • Letting fear rule my trading decision (FOMO (fear of missing out = buying too high and selling too soon = not letting my winners run).

Maybe I was missing out in other areas of my life and trying to make up for it with my trade.  Basically, it all came down to not letting my EGO get in my way.  But thankfully I reigned it in and somehow managed to trade decent enough to preserve the capital I employed all while taking some hefty losses.  I don’t advocate this way of learning the markets, but for me, this experience was priceless.  It taught me that trading is not something that one can do successfully based solely on their level of confidence or the balance of their account, but with the discipline to study, execute and review.

 

An important lesson…

The most important lesson I learned, however, and want to share with you, is this:

I began to notice patterns where the level of my well-being was in direct correlation with the level of my trading.  We are only as strong as our physical, mental and emotional health.  If you can get these 3 areas aligned, then you will have the facilities to ultimately trade your best.  And that is why I set out to consult with traders about these 3 synergistic areas that encompass the body, the mind, and our spirit.

Below is the basic outline of the program I designed and implemented while I worked with Michael back in 2016. 

Lifestyle —- Environment —- Vision

Lifestyle:

I explore one’s physical needs such as diet, exercise and sleep to ensure you have the foundation to begin trading your best, based on your personal needs.

I discuss how an engaged mind plays a vital role in determining one’s potential.  While much of the world news translates into “noise” for us as traders, there is no denying that what is happening around us has implications on our performance and it is our job to be cognizant of these factors in order to identify how they may enter into our practice of trading.

We all know that in today’s world it is easy to lose touch with one’s self.

Internal stress, work stress, and stress at home can all build up quickly.

When this happens, all of the above (physical and mental health) suffer.

Having an outlet outside of trading (such as meditation) is sometimes all you need to bring you back into balance.

Environment:

Taking an inventory of our physical surroundings in which we live, work, and even play will allow us to dial in on the qualities that make for our ideal space, one where we can thrive as traders.  The quality of our relationships highly contributes to our overall sense of well being and one that will either contribute or distract from our performance.  Preparing ourselves and our environments for the lifestyle we aspire to sets us up not only to achieve but to adjust effortlessly to the demands of the markets that we set out to meet and beat.

Vision:

In order to envision our desired outcome, in terms of our trading goals, we must first understand what drives this vision.  In effect, why it is we want to devote our time to perfecting our method of trading.  This is key to attaining our goals.   We all need a “WHY!”  As you create your vision (your WHY), you will begin to uncover and implement these areas of support  This will give you the confidence required to manage your risk and therefore allow you to grow, not only in your trading but in all areas of life that ultimately support your vision.

 

This is just a brief snapshot of what it is I put together, to empower traders to do what we love: TRADE!

 

Let us know what, if any of this, interests you.  Leave it down in the comments below and let’s start a dialogue that will be of benefit for all of us CYT members.

 
 
 

YOUR SELF WORTH AS A TRADER

NO ONE ELSE IS YOU…

AND THAT IS YOUR POWER, YOUR SELF WORTH AS A TRADER

As traders, I’m not going to pretend that the money we trade with isn’t equal to power.  But it is just that … one of many factors that go into the mix of what it takes to trade.  There is also the time (experience) and effort (education) that will determine how effectively you can capitalize on your trading.

Deep down, however, and I have shared this with Michael when I did some one on one coaching with him a couple years back, and that is it all comes down to believing in ourselves.

It’s not enough to have an ego that makes you think you are some super star trader.  This will surly back-fire!  Belief in ourselves happens only when we’ve put in the time and the effort to become skilled.  This is when you can leave your ego behind and focus on your true core talent.

As you may already know, some of the most successful traders have lost millions throughout their career only to get up and have the courage to do it all over again.  I have to believe that while they may or most likely had mentors, their key driving force was their belief in themselves.

I also believe they didn’t focus solely on the money making.  If they had they would have been destroyed mentally and physically.  Yes, the market can take your money but it can’t take your power … only YOU can do that.  Take a moment and contemplate that.

YOU are your true unique power.

So, here are some ideas I feel are most replenishing when dealing with a setback, because we ALL have them … that is not unique!

 

How to Recover Faster After a Setback…

Concentrate on what you believe in. 

Hmmm… Like, maybe … YOURSELF!  Security doesn’t come from money.  Of course, it helps —- no denying that, but all the money in the world cannot compensate for not believing in yourself.  When you’re secure in who you are, you will manage your money wisely and therefore will likely have the resources to trade with.  When money defines you, I would guess you won’t have much of it around for long as you will feel the need to prove yourself materially and feel only as good as your last trade.

Get creative. 

When we nurture our souls by investing in what brings us joy such as hiking, playing an instrument, painting … the list is endless, we find we need less “stuff.”  The markets can’t take away what nurtures the soul unless your soul is nurtured by money.  But IMHO, that would make you soulless ;  )  This coming from someone (me) who loves money, has no bad feelings about money —- but no, it doesn’t nurture my soul.

Get Intimate. 

And yes, that includes sex!  Talk about a stress reliever ; )

But here I am thinking of a power that comes from another form of authentic connection.  Being fearless in opening up to your loved ones and being supportive in allowing them to do the same.  If I’m having a bad day on the market, I always feel better when I can vent to someone I trust.  Sometimes all you need at the moment are some genuine words of encouragement.  Just don’t be an energy vampire … meaning, don’t take more than you give.

Gratitude. 

I’ve written quite a bit about gratitude so I will just say that there is sooo much in life to be grateful for besides a winning trade.  To me, that is just icing on the cake.  Before I get out of bed each morning, I do my 10-minute meditation on what I’m grateful for and it never involves the markets.  I express gratitude for being able to be in a position to trade for a living, but that then leads to all of the many aspects of my life that make this possible.

Being of service. 

This is something I tend to think pays us back ten-fold.  Whenever I am feeling down and out, while it may take a lot of effort, I find that if I do something for someone else, it always makes me feel better about the situation I am in.  I think this is what a lot of people struggle with, myself included because when things aren’t going so hot for yourself, it is easy to focus on that, which only makes things worse.  See if there is something that you could do or offer to make another person’s situation brighter —- you’ll find your outlook will lift as well.

Forgiveness. 

It frees us all. This is something that took me years to learn but has paid dividends.  Let go of all of your anger, the grudges you may hold … your past doesn’t define you.  YOU do!  This will allow you to be in a position to learn from past mistakes (as you make peace with them) and hopefully not repeat them.

Protect your time. 

Time is another currency that the market cannot take from you unless you let it.  I recall telling Michael that I didn’t have the time to learn all of the technical analysis that I felt it would require mastering his trading program.  Basically, he confirmed that it takes very little time (you can contact him directly to learn how)!  What takes our time as traders is sitting in front of our laptops monitoring each trade.  So spend your time wisely and educate yourself!  How you spend your time defines you.  Another recommendation would be to do some time management in terms of tracking your daily activities to see where you can firm things up and prioritize.  This is something I enjoy helping people with as it is so empowering to see someone go from where they are to where they want to be simply by managing their time better.

 

Speaking of schedule, I’ve got to run … be sure to leave any comments or questions you may have about any of these topics or share ones I may not have mentioned!  It’s not about me, it’s about YOU!

Space and Clarity for Trading Success

If you recall, in the last post, I wrote about “doing your own thing!”

Well, this past week, I’ve had just the opportunity to do so.  You see, my husband and I are considering a move from Manhattan Beach to Carmel.  And while going up north to look at properties together would have been ideal, we refuse the idea of putting our pup in a boarding place.  I know, I know, there are very modern versions of a kennel these days but our pup is our baby, so the thought of doing so just doesn’t compute.

My husband and I have enjoyed traveling the world together, so when we made the decision to add a new member to our family, we knew going in that this would be something that would have to be put on the back burner.  However, this doesn’t mean we don’t get to travel.  We just do it on our own.  We each have had many wonderful solo trips and here’s the bonus: the coming home part can be just as much fun!  I know a lot of people go on vacation only to dread coming home.  I haven’t felt this way since I was a kid living in Ohio when my mom would take us to Florida for spring break and the last day of the trip was always filled with dread.  Nope, not now —- I love coming home!  But there are many reasons and years of living that have contributed to this, which you will find, I am happy to share.  But for now, back to my week of solitude (with the pup in tow).

Ok, so it’s not total solitude when you have a lil pup like mine.  He is one little lover, who craves attention, but even he enjoys his space.  As I sit and write this now, he is in his “cave,” a carved out area of my husband’s closet, where he goes to get away from it all.  I swear he has our DNA!

Where was I?  Oh yes, so what is a girl to do with 3 nights and 4 days to herself?

Well, I’ll admit, I did tell myself I wouldn’t do any trading, but come on, I’m a trader and that is what I like to do, so it stays on my list!  I’ve actually been using Michael’s approach he speaks of often and that is to “set it and forget it!”  You know what?  I’ve actually made more money this week with this approach than I do most weeks tied to my computer, watching every tick of the tape and trying to time my move.  I may have to do this more often.  Thanks, Mike!

space and clarity for trading successSpeaking of lists … I am also a “list” person.  I’ve been told that planning is only a form of procrastination, and while there is some truth to this, I find that the better prepared I am the “luckier” I get.  This definitely applies to trading!

I also told Mike I would not be writing posts for the time being, as I was just going to focus on writing my book.  But my book is all about creating a life you love, so here I am, writing this post, because like trading, writing about what inspires me in hopes of inspiring others is what I love to do.

I’m a bit envious that my husband gets to stay in a luxe hotel but there is a remedy to this as well.  This may not sound like much fun but I have also made the time to get some things done around the house that for some reason seem to get put off when we’re both home together.  This has made my solo time all the more relaxing.  Relaxing!?!  How can doing “chores” be relaxing?  Have you ever tried to relax when your office is cluttered?  I find cleaning not only cleansing for the mind but empowering.  Hmmm … maybe that’s another reason why my trades have worked out so smoothly as I have fewer distractions.  I do this the minute he leaves so I too can luxuriate in my luxed out abode.  This may be total fem stuff but I also put on fresh bed linens, and stock the fridge with all of MY favorite things to eat … a girl’s gotta eat, ya know!  The reason I get all of this out of the way early on is so I won’t be bothered later … you know, more time for the fun stuff!

I’ll share something “fun” that my husband and I do while one of us is away and that is, we only email (no calls) one another, unless it is an emergency, obviously.  Now you’re probably thinking, “what???”  Try it … when two people live their lives together day in and day out it is a given (hopefully) that you’ll do a lot of communicating.  And our relationship is no exception.  We love to sit and chat about all sorts of things, which I believe is a big contributing factor to our marriages’ success.  So, while one of us is away, we communicate sans phone.  Neither one of us like talking on the phone that much anyway so I suppose this makes it somewhat easier.  But here is the benefit:  our email exchanges sometimes read like two people who have just met and are falling in love.  I actually do fall in love with him all over again each time we’re apart for any length of time.  Emphasis on “length of time.”  I’m not that much of a hopeless romantic.  I wish I could share some of these back and forths with you but I don’t think Mason would appreciate it … guys are like that!  I sometimes go a whole day without speaking a word to anyone other than Jack (my pup), the barista at Starbucks or the cashier at Whole Foods.  Does screaming at the TV when I have it tuned in to CNBC count?  For as much as I am prone to do so, I guess the answer would be a resounding YES.

Another thing I do and that is, I don’t tell any of my friends that I’m going to be “solo.”  Every time I have in the past they want to get together.  I can do that when my husband is home.  I use this time to regroup.  But I’m not a total monk, so I do make a point to head out to a local watering hole where I will sit and maybe strike up a conversation with a total stranger —- those can be some of the most interesting convos.

Where is this all going?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just wanting to give you a little glimpse into this life of mine in the hopes that you too will feel free to share part of yours.  After all, the reason I am writing “Chart Your Life,” is primarily for the benefit of you.  I want to engage with you, the reader, the person who has come to ChartYourTrade for ideas and support regarding your trading.  Regarding me —- I want to be the person you may know and then come to for ideas and support in Charting Your Life.  Make no mistake —- what you share with me and this community will be a benefit not only for me but for all.  We all are so very different on so many levels, but I do believe there is a universal bond that we all share and that is we all want to make this life of ours the best experience possible.  I feel we do this not only by empowering ourselves but with the hope of by doing so, we empower others.

This just in:  my sister just emailed me to tell me her husband is going out of town for a week-long golf trip.  I was thrilled to think she was going to get to have some time to herself.  She is a big people pleaser which I know can be utterly draining.  Well, then as I read on, she said that she had invited a friend of hers to come stay with her.  Oh well, just goes to show that just because two people are born into the same family, it does not mean they have the same vision of what it is that lights that spark … I need solitude, she needs people, but we both need one another ~

Ok … let me know —- do you prefer solitude or company and WHY?

 
 
 
 

Meditation might be the SECRET SAUCE of Successful Trading

 
You’ve probably heard me mention this a few times, but something that has helped both my trading as well as my everyday is is meditation.
 
I was very skeptical of meditation at first and thought it was a waste of time. Sitting there…just focusing on breathing… doing this for 15 minutes or so at a time… I’m struggling to find time as it is, why spend 15 minutes I don’t have on something like this???
 

I couldn’t have been more wrong!

 
So far that 15 minutes in the morning has actually added up to an hour back in my day! I’ve actually measured the time tasks would take me and estimate the amount of time needed and I’m often finding that what would take me 90 minutes would now take me 50 minutes. Then in another portion of my day, tasks that would take 60 minutes are done in about 40…
 
It’s not that I’ve gotten better at the tasks. Its that through meditation and carrying that practice with me throughout the day, I’ve been able to focus better than I ever have previously and not be distracted in an increasingly distraction filled world.
 
 

Have you tried meditation?

What has been your experience with it if you have?  Leave a comment down below.  If you haven’t tried meditation yet, there’s a really great app that provides guided meditation.  
 
If you haven’t tried meditation yet, there’s a really great app that provides guided meditation.  It’s called Headspace.  This is the app that I personally use to help me meditate and I use it daily.  They offer different themes including a “basics” one which I tried initially and it really helped ease me into the idea of meditation.  It started off with 3-minute sessions and it allows you to select the amount of time you’d like to spend meditating.  At the time, 3 minutes seemed like an eternity to me.  Now I’m barely warmed up with 3 minutes… it’s kind of like physical exercise in that regard.
 
Anyway, give it a shot and let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment down below.
 
If you’d like to check out my progress thus far, check out the 5 minute video up at the top of the page.
 
You may also want to check out Beth Marconi’s post on meditation for some additional info.
 
 
 
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