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50 Signs That You’re on the Path to Forex Trading Success

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forex success

Becoming a successful Forex trader is a process, and a long one at that. It seems that around every corner there is a new method, technique or even a new element to our mental game that needs to be considered.

This process produces an endless number of “signs” along the way that can help you determine whether you’re on the right path or not. However, many of these signs come along when least expected, causing them to be forgotten or even overlooked completely.

The extensive list below serves as a compilation of 50 of the signs that I noticed along my own journey in the Forex market that began in 2007.

So grab a hot cup of coffee or tea, find a comfortable spot (this might take a while) and enjoy!

1. Indicators become an unnecessary burden

It seems that indicators are to Forex what candy is to a candy shop. Every trader wants one, wants to combine two or more of them or wants to create and sell them; they are everywhere.

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Unfortunately, the vast majority of these indicators are complete garbage. But even for the few that could potentially give you the upper hand, they simply aren’t necessary. After all, indicators only show you what price action did in the past.

By trading based on raw price action only, you relieve yourself of complicated indicators and you get the benefit of being able to trade what is happening right this instant. You also get another benefit in the form of greater real estate on your charts, allowing you to actually see what is happening – imagine that!

This isn’t to say that all indicators are “bad”, but trying to use them without first learning to trade raw price action is like trying to build a house without a foundation.

2. You no longer think in terms of right versus wrong

Right and wrong as a traderWe live in a world of right versus wrong, where everyone loves to be right and those who are wrong typically love to convince themselves otherwise.

This way of thinking is disastrous for the Forex trader. Perhaps it’s why trading is arguably the toughest career in existence.

The best thing you can do for your trading is to forget about being right or wrong. Instead, think in terms of probabilities, always knowing that technical analysis only serves as an idea of what is likely; it will never be able to tell the future.

3. Patience becomes another word for profits

Staying patient as a Forex trader is the number one key to success. It allows you to trade only the best setups, but more importantly it enables you to be able to preserve your trading capital for when it really matters.

The most important aspects of anything in life are often the most difficult to master, and staying patient as a trader is no exception. However knowing that the market will be here tomorrow and accepting the fact that it only takes one good trade per month to make it in this business will certainly help you with your patience.

4. You remain flexible no matter what

When you first began trading, you probably assumed that making money was tied to knowing what will happen next. If you know a market is going to go up, you buy. If you know a market is going to go down, you sell.

But knowing has nothing to do with it.

It’s always important to have a directional bias, but it’s just as important to remain flexible in that bias. If the market invalidates your original idea, listen and take notes. Never assume that you know more than the markets!

5. Profits are no longer your top priority

Survive as a Forex traderIt doesn’t matter whether you’re a Forex trader or an owner of a restaurant chain, profits are always welcome. Unfortunately for the aspiring trader, this desire for profits tends to blind them to the more important aspect of trading – sustainability.

Your ability to survive should be your top priority. Because if you run out of capital, you won’t be around to take advantage of profitable setups when they do come along.

6. The daily time frame takes on a whole new meaning

The daily time frame is boring, right?

That’s what most individuals think when they are just starting out in the Forex market.

And you know what? They’re right!

But what these individuals don’t realize is that boring is a good thing. The daily time frame may not be the most exciting time frame to trade, but it is certainly one of the more profitable time frames to trade.

By eliminating a lot of the “noise” you get on the lower time frames, the daily chart makes it much easier to discern what is favorable and what is not. It is also much more user-friendly when it comes to identifying key support and resistance levels.

7. You know that quality trumps quantity, always!

This is a great topic to discuss after mentioning the daily time frame. One benefit of trading from a slower time frame is that it becomes easier to identify quality setups. You are also less likely to get sucked in to the trap of overtrading, a common and devastating pitfall for many Forex traders.

As time progresses, you realize that it only takes one or two favorable trade setups per month to make good money. There is no need to trade twenty times in a month because quality will always trump quantity when it comes to trading.

8. A favorable risk to reward ratio is no longer optional

Have you seen those trading strategies that promote a 150 pip stop loss to gain 10 pips?

Perhaps you know of someone who has tried a similar method or maybe you even went down that path. Regardless of the situation, you know that this type of risk to reward ratio is terribly skewed in the market’s favor.

The path to consistent profits is paved with errors. One of the most common is using a massive stop loss to feel “safe”. However the truth is that using such an unfavorable ratio leaves you vulnerable.

The key to success is to always use a risk to reward ratio where your potential profit is at least twice your risk.

9. News events are viewed as a catalyst rather than an opportunity

Market news

Everyone wants to “trade the news”. After all, the largest price swings happen immediately following a high-impact event. Therefore this must be the best time to take advantage of the volatility and make some money, right?

Wrong.

Trading the news is an extremely risky way to manage your trading capital. Some would even call it reckless, and I can’t say I disagree.

The news should never be thought of as an opportunity to make money in and of itself. Instead, it’s far more prudent (not to mention lucrative) to view news events as catalysts that can confirm or negate already-established trade ideas.

By doing this, you are able to respond to the movement strategically rather than chasing or hoping that the resulting price movement bodes well for your position.

10. Disloyalty becomes a good thing

In all areas of life, we strive to be loyal. We also desire the same in return from friends and family as well as our pets.

But to the Forex trader, loyalty can be a disastrous trait to have. It’s loyalty to a directional bias that causes you to maintain that bias even when the market has disproved it. It’s also loyalty that causes you to hold on to an unfavorable position longer than you should.

By showing a consistent disloyalty to the market, you allow yourself to be open-minded and flexible to any price action that goes against your convictions. It’s this flexibility that allows the successful traders to pull an unfavorable position in an instant or even reverse their position if the situation calls for it.

11. The process becomes more important than the profits

process of becoming a successful traderEveryone wants to make money, and who can blame them? After all that is what attracts everyone to this business in one way or another.

But profits are easy. Anyone can put on a trade and essentially have a 50/50 chance of making money. There is nothing difficult about that.

What is not so easy is the process that must be endured in order to achieve consistent profits.

The successful Forex traders know this, which is why they continue to beat on their craft every single day. They know that the journey is never over and that only consistent profits can keep them in the game – a feat that can only be achieved through a process of learning.

12. Boring becomes your new best friend

Who likes boring? Nobody likes boring, right?

I love boring. It’s boring that puts money in my trading account every month. It’s boring that allows me to do the things I love to do besides trading (like writing this very post).

You see, good trading is boring. A combination of the higher time frames and extreme levels of patience make this so.

But that’s okay. At some point you have to ask yourself – did I get into trading for the excitement factor or did I do it to make consistent gains?

If you’re like me and your answer is the latter, then boring is the way to go.

13. You enjoy being flat

Say what?

In case you don’t know, the term “flat” in the world of trading refers to having no open positions. It’s another way of saying that your trading capital is all in cash.

This is a difficult concept for many traders to accept. That could be because it goes against the conventional wisdom that “more of something is better”.

With trading it’s completely the opposite. You need to practice patience in order to hold out for the very best setups. Also, by staying flat you maintain your emotional stability, a key factor when it comes to identifying favorable setups.

Only once you’ve learned to love being out of the market will you be able to make money in the market.

14. Win rate? What win rate?

True or false, you need to have more winners than losers in order to make money in the Forex market?

Answer: false.

Was that a trick question? Maybe, but that depends on which school of thought you come from.

Most advertisements for signal services or trading robots (also called Expert Advisors) claim a ridiculously high win rate, usually north of 90%. But the idea that you need to maintain that kind of ratio is nonsense. Whether or not those services are even telling the truth, well, that’s another matter altogether.

By always maintain a favorable risk to reward ratio and staying patient, you can have a win rate as low as 50% or even 40% during some months and still make money. That is the key to trading success, not attempting to achieve a flawless win rate, which only serves as a way to appease your ego.

15. Maximizing gains becomes more important than finding trades

Briefcase overflowingSay you own a single-location restaurant in an up-and-coming part of town. That restaurant is only producing about 50% of its potential gross revenue on an annual basis as there is a ton of additional floor space that isn’t being utilized.

As the owner of that restaurant, which would be easier, making use of the existing space to immediately increase revenue by 50% or take on an entirely new location in a different city?

Of course the clear answer is to expand on what you already have. The same idea applies to trading, whereby the potential gains of a single trade idea can be maximized while maintaining the initial risk.

Who wouldn’t want that?

This is achieved through a technique called pyramiding. The idea is to strategically add to a position as it begins moving in your favor. This way of maximizing gains is much easier than trying to find an entirely new, and favorable, trade idea.

16. You find out the hard way that percentages are only half the battle

How do you calculate your position size?

If you’re like most traders, you use a Forex position size calculator whereby you determine the lot size based on an acceptable percentage risked (of your account).

The problem with this is that it’s one-dimensional. While your method for determining a position size doesn’t have to look like something out of The Matrix, it does need to include a money element to it.

Why, you ask?

Because only money will trigger the emotional side of your brain. Using a flat 2% risk means nothing, but once you assign a monetary value to the equation, such as $500, it takes on a whole new meaning.

This is essential if you want to reduce the emotional fatigue that is all too common with a one-dimensional approach. It’s why I’ve included a “swap with money” button on my position size calculator that is available on this site.

17. The word 'hope' becomes a four-letter word

Hope is a bad word for a traderHope is a great thing to have in life. You can hope for good weather on your vacation or you can hope that your favorite sports team wins the game. But hope in trading is a “four-letter word”. Said another way, it’s a bad word to use.

Hoping for a trade to play out in your favor can be disastrous. There’s really no other way to say it.

You see, hoping for something to happen builds up an emotional anticipation for a favorable result. You can’t hope for your sports team to win and not be disappointed when they lose. The same idea applies to the positions you put on as a trader.

Becoming consistently profitable is a game of probabilities, plain and simple. If you put the odds in your favor enough times, you will make money. However this game never involves crossing your fingers and hoping for a favorable outcome.

18. Absolutes become a distant memory

There are in fact a few absolutes that exist in the Forex market, but knowing which direction the market will move is certainly not one of them.

The markets are unpredictable. That may surprise those of you who have been told that trading is about the ability to predict future price movement.

In fact, it isn’t about predicting at all. It’s about being able to stack the odds in your favor so as to make money over an extended period of time. It isn’t about guessing and it certainly isn’t about knowing which way the market will move.

This idea that absolutes exist is a common theme in many trading forums. You often see traders saying, “this is going to go up next week” or “this must go down from here”. But this type of thinking only serves to fuel your ego and does nothing to get you closer to your goal of building a sizable trading account.

19. You realize that unrealized gains are not yours

One of the most common errors I see among Forex traders is the practice of taking small profits and big losses. This is usually the result of moving a stop losses further away during drawdowns combined with taking profits prematurely.

But let’s talk about the latter for a moment…

If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this – the key to becoming a profitable trader is to maximize gains. It isn’t about taking more trades and it certainly isn’t about risking more. In order to make good money in the market you have to learn to let your winners run.

One way to do this is to convince yourself that unrealized gains are not yours. If you know that a position is “in the money”, don’t even bother looking at the unrealized profit. Know the distance in pips and manage the trade according to your plan, but forget about the potential profits that the trade may or may not produce.

20. You learn that being second is a good thing

Second as a traderI love to come in first! I have played sports my entire life, to include soccer at an Olympic development level. Needless to say, I’m extremely competitive.

But when it comes to my trading, I never want to be first.

The world of Forex is different. It isn’t about “he who comes in first, wins”. It’s about staying patient and waiting for the market to make the first move and then reacting accordingly. This allows you to be strategic in your approach.

With this in mind, a more appropriate comparison would be to compare trading to the game of chess. It’s all about patience and reading your opponent in order to stay one step ahead.

21. You accept that blindly following someone else’s lead is a dead end

Those who know me well will tell you that this is a big pet peeve of mine. I have written before about the ill-effects of blindly following someone else. Doing so can not only be damaging to your trading account, it can interfere with your learning process as a trader.

Following someone else without taking the time to make your own decisions is a recipe for disaster when it comes to trading. You can absolutely have a mentor and learn from someone who has found success, but blindly following someone won’t teach you a thing.

This is why I’m not a fan of Forex signal services as there is no knowledge transfer that takes place. Instead, you are paying someone else to simply serve up trades on a silver platter for you; and that certainly won’t allow you to become self-sufficient any time soon.

22. You learn that locating your exits before entering a position is non-negotiable

The last time you sat down in a movie theater, at least here in the U.S., you were probably told where the exits were located before the lights dimmed. They do this by law and also so that viewers are better prepared to make a quick exit if necessary.

You should view your trading in a similar manner. Entering a trade without having an exit strategy leaves you prone to emotional-decision making.

Instead, you should always identify your exits prior to entering the market. This way you know that any exit is strategic and calculated and never based on emotions. This is true regardless of whether the result of the trade is a profit or a loss.

23. You discover that timing is everything

Timing is everything for a trader

The right idea at the wrong time is a loss in the world of trading. With a market as volatile as the Forex market, timing is everything.

For this reason, I always advocate extreme patience while waiting for a trade to set up. Many traders feel that they may miss out on profits, causing them to “jump the gun” and enter the market prematurely.

However, even a profitable trade made for the wrong reasons is a loss. Remember that becoming a great trader is a process, and a long one at that. This makes the process of exercising patience and discipline far more important than missing out on potential profits.

The market will still be here tomorrow, so never rush to take a trade today.

24. You have accepted that a trade tomorrow is sometimes better than a trade today

Why are you trading today? Is there really a valid setup or are you simply trying to build your account?

Hopefully it’s both. But in my experience I’ve found that many traders are taking trades every day because they feel that that’s the best way to build a large trading account, fast.

Makes sense, right?

If only it were that easy. When it comes to trading, the opposite is true. The less frequently you trade, the greater chance you have of building a sizable trading account.

Always remember that between the market and your money, the market is the only thing with an unlimited lifespan. So if you’re tempted to trade today, be sure to ask yourself – am I trading because there’s a valid setup or because I’m feeling pressured to make money?

25. You know that having no position is a position

What exactly is a “position”, anyway?

To the common person, a position might mean a stance or opinion on a certain topic. However to the trader, this term is quickly translated as having money at risk in a particular asset or vehicle.

Both are correct, of course, but I say that the term can mean both to the trader.

You see, if market conditions are unfavorable and there is nothing worth my hard earned money, then my position is that nothing is worth my while. In this way, having no position is having a position, which is a perfectly valid and often overlooked stance to have as a trader.

26. You know that not knowing is part of the game

Not knowing is part of the gameAs human beings, we love to know what happens next. Whether it’s a birthday or a movie, we always want to know what’s about to happen.

To the aspiring Forex trader, this is a huge obstacle. In the trading world there are few certainties, and knowing the outcome of a trade isn’t one of them.

But you don’t have to know what’s going to happen next in order to profit consistently. You only have to stack the odds in your favor and then let the market do the heavy lifting.

27. You accept that an open position requires an open mindset

There is a big difference between the mindset of a trader who has no positions on versus the trader who has capital at risk. The most obvious difference is that the trader who has capital at risk is going to be prone to having an emotional bias.

No trader on earth wants to see a position lose money. Similarly, it is everyone’s dream to put on a position and then watch it magically take off in their favor.

But of course the market doesn’t operate this way. Therefore it’s important to always keep an open mind with regard to future price action. Never get to the point where you think you know what will happen next, because chances are you’ll be wrong.

28. Stop loss orders are no longer optional

When you first started trading, I bet you thought that stop loss orders were optional. In fact, if you were anything like me when I first started, you may have even viewed them as an unnecessary obstruction.

After all, if you know that a currency pair is going to move in a certain direction, why limit yourself with a stop loss order, right?

The problem is you don’t know; nobody does. And because there are no guarantees about which direction a market will move, it’s absolutely necessary to incorporate stop losses into your overall strategy.

29. You know that a stop loss order should only be moved in one direction

Another sign that you’re on the road to trading success is knowing that a stop loss order should not be modified except to move it closer to the current price.

Besides not using them at all, another common pitfall that beginning traders make is to move their stop further away from the current price. They often do this in hopes that the market will eventually reverse and move in their favor.

The problem with this is twofold:

On the one hand you are making an emotional decision based on the fear of taking a loss.

On the other hand you are increasing your exposure. A 2% risk can quickly turn into a 4% risk or greater as you begin moving the stop loss away from your entry.

30. Your gut feeling becomes more important than the desire for profits

Gut feel in tradingThere is one thing that trading experience will give you that cannot be learned by reading a book or visiting a website. That one thing is gut feel.

This “gut feel” is also referred to as intuition. It’s the voice of your subconscious mind, which is far better at recognizing familiar situations or patterns.

With experience you will find that it becomes easier to recognize trends, patterns and trade signals with little or almost no effort at all. This allows you to quickly identify favorable setups but also serves as an early warning that something isn’t quite right.

So even though a trade setup looks extremely profitable, your gut feel may be arguing against the idea. In those situations, you’re usually far better off listening to that inner voice of wisdom rather than chasing profits.

31. A sideways market becomes your best friend and your worst enemy

I love a sideways market. Not because I get to trade the range, but because I know that all ranges must eventually break.

I’ve made a habit of finding and trading lucrative consolidation patterns for profit, but only once the market clears the range. However many Forex traders make the mistake of trying to trade the choppy price action in between, which typically leads to a string of losses.

While ranges can be traded, there are certain elements that must be present such as favorable market conditions. For this reason, it’s generally far easier to trade a break from a range than it is to attempt trading the price action within the range itself.

32. You always ask yourself this one question before closing an open position

one question before closing a positionWhy am I closing this position?

I know, groundbreaking! But humor aside, this one simple question can help you discern the true reason for exiting a position.

If your answer is anything other than a technical reason, chances are you’re making an emotional decision. The only exception would be something based around a major news event, in which case you may want to exit the market in order to avoid any volatility that results.

33. You have accepted that time-outs are a good thing

If you were put in time-out growing up, it meant you did something bad. However when it comes to trading Forex, these time-outs can occur after a string of losses or even after a string of profitable trades.

Therefore they should no longer be considered a “bad” thing. These temporary breaks from the market will help you collect your thoughts and regroup so that you don’t make any emotional decisions.

So the next time you have a string of losses or gains, don’t feel bad about giving yourself a time-out. It will help you to stay on top of your game and also help keep you in the game longer, a necessity if you want to climb to the top.

34. You know that adding to a losing position only compounds a mistake

A common technique in the stock market is something called “averaging down”. This is a way of adding to a position as it moves against you so as to reduce your average cost basis. So if you bought at $50 and again at $40, your average cost basis is now $45, provided that the two positions are the same size.

While this may be a viable strategy for the stock market and longer-term investments, as a trading strategy in the Forex market it can be downright disastrous.

If you are going to add to a position, you always want to do it as the market moves in your favor; never when the market is moving against you. Adding to an unfavorable position only compounds a possible mistake while doing the opposite allows you to take advantage of a market that is supporting your original idea.

35. You learn that doing nothing as a Forex trader is powerful

Power of doing nothingDoing nothing as a Forex trader is in fact the only guaranteed, risk-free way to join the top 10% of traders within a week or two. This is because 90% of Forex traders lose money on a consistent basis.

Of course you can’t always just “do nothing” and expect to make it in this business. However that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a powerful way to think about patience and what it really takes to make money.

The truth is, doing more (e.g. taking more trades) will generally lead to more losses. The key to turning that trend around is to actually do less. This allows you to keep your emotions in check more often and also prevents you from taking subpar setups at times when you should probably stay on the sidelines.

36. Trading has become a lifelong journey

As mentioned previously, trading is a process, not a project. Those who have been around the game long enough know that it’s a lifelong journey. It’s no different than becoming a doctor or a lawyer in that the time and energy it takes to succeed is just as extensive.

Many new traders feel that they can master a new strategy in a matter of days or weeks. Or perhaps they simply want to buy an Expert Advisor for $200 and have it trade for them for the rest of their life as they sit back and make millions.

If only it were that easy. Becoming a great Forex trader takes time, often years of practice combined with a healthy dose of perseverance. But regardless of how long it takes you to become consistently profitable, the journey to become the best that you can be never truly ends.

37. Trading no longer consumes your thoughts

Trading consuming your thoughts

How many times a day do you think about your open positions?

For most, the answer is, well, a lot! I know when I first began trading I was constantly thinking about my positions, hoping that they would bring me profits. And more often than not, these thoughts quickly turned into a feeling of anxiousness.

As you progress in your trading career, you will find that something interesting and quite unexpected happens – you begin to think less about your trading, at least as far as any risk you might have on the table.

By the time you are well-seasoned in the market, you know that once you place a trade, there is nothing you can do to influence what the market does. For this reason, you know that stressing about any open position only detracts from the mental stability that is required to do your job.

38. A position size calculator is no longer optional

I’m always curious as to how many Forex traders actually use a position size calculator in order to control their risk. It would be nice to think that all traders use one, but I know that isn’t the case.

I also know that when I first started trading Forex in 2007 I would go through phases. Sometimes I would use one, sometimes I wouldn’t. But today I know that a calculator is never optional.

Everything we do as traders should be strategic and calculated. Your trading plan is strategic and well-defined. Your risk to reward ratio is always calculated beforehand. And in a similar way, your position size needs to be calculated before you even think about placing a trade.

39. You have started trading what you see instead of trading what you read

This goes hand in hand with blindly following someone else’s lead. An important transition when going from a beginning trader to an experienced trader is that you begin to rely on others less and start trusting your own analysis more.

Most new traders fall into the trap of spending hours analyzing something only to scrap their analysis and blindly trade someone else’s idea. The problem with this approach is that you’re ignoring the process required to become successful. You will also find it extremely hard to take full responsibility for the results if you aren’t following your own ideas.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Those mistakes will teach you far more than if you simply follow what other traders are doing on a daily basis.

40. Your weekend analysis is no longer just an exercise

Weekend trading analysisHow many times has the following happened to you?…

You spend hours on Sunday morning with your eggs and coffee in front of you, scanning the market for setups. You jot down the important items on your watch list and anxiously await the open.

By the end of that week you look back and notice that you didn’t take a single trade that was on your watch list. Your hard work was for nothing. Instead, you took 9 other trades, 7 of which lost you money.

The great traders know that you have to plan your trade and trade your plan. The weekend is the best time to do your analysis because you’re in a relaxed and (for the most part) neutral state of mind.

So the next time a new week starts, you just might want to follow your notes from the weekend.

41. You know the odds are against you

A common statistic is that 90% (or more) of Forex traders lose money on a consistent basis. While it’s a daunting figure to think about, it’s important that you accept it as the truth.

In order to beat those odds, you have to figure out a way to make decisions that have probable outcomes. You can do this through the use of price action strategies, a favorable risk to reward ratio as well as trading with the momentum.

Regardless of the combination you use, it’s something that must be done if you intend to have a place among the top 10% of traders.

42. Your barometer for success spans more than a week

Everybody has a bad week. It doesn’t matter if you’re a truck driver, a school teacher or a Forex trader – it happens to everyone.

But just because you have a bad week doesn’t mean that you’re bad at what you do and it certainly doesn’t mean you have failed. The traders who have been in the business long enough know that a barometer for success that spans more than a week is essential.

That said, the best way to ensure you’re still around after a bad week is to always practice proper risk management. If you do that and give yourself a time-out when things aren’t going your way, you’ll be just fine.

43. The idea of trading one or two currency pairs sounds silly

A common teaching method for new traders is to master one or two currency pairs before adding any others to your routine. The idea is that by focusing your energy in this manner, you will be more likely to learn how a pair behaves and you will therefore increase your chances of finding consistent profits.

The idea makes sense from a practical standpoint, however I believe this approach is flawed.

Put simply, the problem is that you’re restricting your options. That may sound like a good thing until you realize that favorable trade setups aren’t all that common even when trading dozens of currency pairs.

So what happens when you only have one or two markets to choose from?

The most likely outcome is overtrading. In other words, taking unfavorable setups simply because your options are limited.

A better approach is to maintain a basket of currency pairs and/or other assets you can trade. This gives you a greater selection to choose from, which will greatly increase your chances of finding quality setups to trade.

44. You know that a good trading journal will keep you honest

Trading journalNow this is a boring topic. I mean, who wants to track their trades, especially the ones that lost money?

But what if I told you that this simple tool could be the missing link? Is it still boring?

Something as simple as maintaining a watch list and documenting your trading performance will help you stay focused on what’s important. It will also help you to stay accountability for the decisions you make.

A good trading journal is an essential part of your toolbox. There’s a reason why every single fund manager in existence tracks his/her trades on a daily basis.

45. Creating and maintaining a watch list starts to mean something

Your watch list needs to become your best friend. It’s one of those “don’t leave home without it” type of items.

Without a watch list, you’re left making snap judgements as to which way a market is likely to move. These judgements can be influenced by any number of things throughout the day or week.

Your watch list is the roadmap that will prevent you from taking detours along the way. It will keep you disciplined and will also force you to really analyze the markets in a way that will expose every possible scenario.

46. Your trading plan looks nothing like it did when you first started trading

A good trading plan is a living, breathing document. It needs to be able to stand the test of time as well as adapt to your ever-changing style of trading.

A common misconception among traders is that once found, a profitable style of trading stays the same over time. I can tell you that since 2007, my trading plan has changed many times and continued to change even once I found consistent profits in 2010.

This is because everything about trading is dynamic. The markets are dynamic along with your own personal style and preferences. All of these things change as you gain experience in the market, which requires a trading plan that is flexible enough to accommodate these changes.

47. Pips no longer serve as bragging rights

Bragging rights as a traderThe term “pip” is probably the most common word when it comes to Forex trading. But it isn’t always used to simply measure the distance from point A to point B.

In fact, it’s commonly used as bragging rights. You hear it all the time from traders saying how they made a certain number of pips last week, month or year. It’s also a common tactic among signal providers to show how “profitable” they really are.

But the longer you’re around the market, the more you realize that pips by themselves are meaningless. For example, if a trader made 800 pips last week, how much did he/she have to risk to get those pips? Did that trader risk 2,000 pips to make 800? Or perhaps it was something much more drastic like 5,000 pips.

The point is that a measurement in pips made without a specific risk to reward ratio attached to it is essentially a meaningless figure.

48. You know that no trading plan is complete without a trigger

I use triggers all the time with my trading. In fact I won’t even consider a trade until my specific trigger for that idea has been met.

So what is a trigger, exactly?

It’s a combination of price action and a key level that helps to confirm a trade idea. An example would be the neckline of a head and shoulders pattern. The combination of a daily close below the neckline would “trigger” the trade idea to go short on a retest.

This method is ideal because it keeps you disciplined. There’s never a need to chase a market or second guess yourself because you know exactly what needs to happen in order for a trade idea to become a tradable opportunity.

49. You understand that it isn’t about finding a strategy that works, it’s about finding a strategy that works for you

It’s a little-known fact that there are a million ways to make money in the markets. It doesn’t matter if you are trading the stock market, commodities or Forex; they all produce an infinite number of ways for traders to make consistent gains.

Jack Schwager, author of Market Wizards said it best with the following quote.

“There are a million ways to make money in the markets. The irony is that they are all very difficult to find.”

But why are they so difficult to find?

Part of it has to do with the fact that there are so many ways. It’s a lot easier to decide on what you want to eat at a restaurant with 10 items on the menu than it is at a restaurant with 100 items on the menu.

The other reason is that it isn’t just about finding a trading style that works. In order to become truly successful, you have to find a style that works for you. That involves finding one that fits your personal style as well as your lifestyle. The experienced trader know this, which is why he/she embraces the process rather than getting caught up in the profits.

50. You realize that mobile trading may not be so advantageous

Mobile tradingThis is perhaps one of the most dangerous new trends in trading – making decisions while on the go.

Trading from a mobile device is available at just about every major Forex broker in existence. And it makes perfect sense why these brokers would travel down that path. After all, everyone and their brother has a smartphone these days.

But like I’ve said in the past, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

The problem with trading from your phone is that you are not making decisions while in a distraction-free zone. You are likely walking in the mall or sitting on a bus. Regardless of where you are, distractions are all around you.

Another issue I have with this is that your mobile screen won’t give you a clear picture of market conditions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure your phone’s resolution looks great, but how much can you really see from a screen that fits in your palm?

…not enough to make decisions about your hard-earned money, that’s for sure.

Your Turn

What does your list look like? Is there anything I missed?

Leave your feedback or ask a question below.

About the Author Justin Bennett

Justin Bennett is an internationally recognized Forex trader with 10+ years of experience. He's been interviewed by Stocks & Commodities Magazine as a featured trader for the month and is mentioned weekly by Forex Factory next to publications from CNN and Bloomberg. Justin created Daily Price Action in 2014 and has since grown the monthly readership to over 100,000 Forex traders and has personally mentored more than 3,000 students.Read more...

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  • Abdul Rahman Brooks says:

    Way to go Justin. As someone who also trades professionally and teaches Forex trading as well. I have to tell you that there are a lot of really GREAT golden nuggets in this article. Thank you for taking the time and effort to put them together in one place. I really enjoyed reading it. Have a magnificent day on PURPOSE!

    • Tareeq, many thanks. Glad to hear you enjoyed it my friend.

      • Jacqui says:

        This is an excellent article Justin! Thank you for writing it. I feel I will revisit it many times 🙂
        (DPA member, not a guest)

  • Whoaaa… you can find more in this article than on some other websites… Great stuff!

    • Lol pleased to hear that. I appreciate the kind words.

      Let me know if you want me to write about anything else.

  • GREAT article Justin.. your this article covers all aspect required to achieve success in trading…trading is process and it will continue!!!!!!!
    thanks.. for sharing this… i read ur all trading articles and lessons on raw price action and they all are truly appreciative and u too…..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Namaste!!!!!!!!!

    • Sahil, long time my friend. Pleased to hear that you enjoyed the article.

      Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to see me write about.

  • Can’t help but agree .. would really recommend this article to newbie FX traders. 🙂

    • Azmir, and I could not agree with you more. 🙂

      There are a lot of things in here that most Forex traders don’t really think about, especially those just starting out.

      • Nkosi Derrick says:

        This article has been very helpful to me. I am new in this field and I have been following you for some time, but I do think that this article in particular has somehow changed some ways that I have been doing especially when doing my own analysis. Thanks Justin.

  • Shaon says:

    Huge Tips Justin! And agreed with every point! Have seen many traders with Kung-fu indicators where you might not see the candle at all 😀

    • Shaon, absolutely! I recently had a member join who felt relief as soon as he removed all of the indicators from his chart. Funny how something so simple and unsuspecting can be so beneficial.

  • Muthu, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • Sjakie, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    My pleasure!

  • Sjakie, thank you. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂

  • Fakhar says:

    Good article Mr JUSTTEN, I am really your fine and I read your all articles regularly. But here is something problems are these “There are a million ways to make money in the markets. The irony is that they are all very difficult to find.” you said trade only one or two pair it is right, you also said it is very boring game. It is true, you said annual income or gain less then 50% 40%. these things are 500% true. But problem with newbie is that For example. I am trading from one year and my account is only 100usd ( majority of trader in the world have 100 to 500 usd) my account is 100 usd if I follow all these steps. may be I can not get internet bill from the market. you took 2 trade per month and your trade size is 1 stranded lot. you get 200 pips a month your profit is about 2000 usd it is good for you. I take 2 trade a month and get 200 pips my profit is about 20 usd and my internet bill is 25 to 35 usd. we all are said that human is greedy it is wrong I said human needs are greedy. Needs force us we work right and wrong and we try to get our goal in this situations. In this fluctuation we lose all the money in the Bala Bala market.So please write an article that solve these our problem. Once again thanks. It is my pray that you and all your family live long.
    Best Wishes For You And For Your Business.
    Fakhar From PK

    • Fakhar, I never said to limit trading to one or two currency pairs. In fact, I think that’s a recipe for disaster.

      As for building a trading account, it takes time. The smaller the account, the longer it will take to turn it into a sizable stake.

  • Sushant says:

    Superb article…..I really appreciate the efforts involved in making up these key 50 points.

  • Sharon says:

    Hi Justin,
    I have just reread this article of yours and can proudly say that I have managed to tick most of these boxes even though I am not as successful as I want to be, I am more successful than I was a few months ago and will continue to learn and grow more confident and successful with the knowledge I am gaining from your course. I started to learn about trading 3 years ago (through another party but that was just confusion plus so a friend recommended you to me). I have been through the smorgasbord of emotions and trading strategies etc but something inside me just wouldn’t let me quit – I absolutely love it – the good and the not so good – it stirs such a fire in my belly.
    Thank you for all your help along the way – it is greatly appreciated.
    kind regards
    Sharon

    • That’s wonderful to hear, Sharon. And that fire in your belly is a sign that you have the passion necessary to make it in this business. Cheers.

  • Dan Budden says:

    Fantastic read, Justin. Some really useful advice here, espeically for a new trader like myself. As somebody just srtaing out in the world of Forex trading this kind of article is invaluable.

  • Rob1979 says:

    Hello blogger, do you monetize your dailypriceaction.com ? There is easy way to earn extra money every month, just
    search on youtube – How to earn $25/hour selling articles

  • Elolo says:

    awesome article ! A+

  • Elolo says:

    Awesome articles ! A+
    i used to do a weekly forecast but never tought about a watchlist, cause there are forcasts where im more confident about the outcome than others and they should be on a watchlist…Thanks Justin 😉

  • Laurie says:

    A great checklist, Justin! I found three things I need to focus on that slipped below the radar!

  • Robin says:

    In seven years of on off study I have never made a trade. Present strategy uses the daily time frame, most useful indicators volume weighted moving averages, heiken ashi candles. I also use the Williams awesome oscillator. I trade (on paper) only when the expected daily timeframe direction is the same as the weekly, and I use a stoploss which is worked out on the sum of the two largest recent daily candles
    I only look at the market for decisions just before my providers daily candle finishes, which is two hours ahead of gmt, and is around the quietest time in the market. I dont have any assumptions except that the trend will likely continue, I use all the pairs available to me, and might have three or four or no trades running at once. I terminate a trade at the first opposite colour heiken ashi candle, or else when my feeling is that the trend has moved too far too fast and that additional profit over the next few days is unlikely

  • Shiraz says:

    Hi
    I know you always advocate using longer time frames but the problem with them is larger stop loss orders. So why shouldn’t we use shorter time frames with small stop-loss orders. I mean what are your views about scalping.

  • MM says:

    Justin, a well written article, thx for the 50 nuggets. Another concept that I learned that has helped me overcome the obsessive drive to be “right” is to remove the “winner/loser” from my self talk. Since the markets are truly driven by Mr. Market, we as participants can never truly know WHAT is going to happen, so I’ve learned that I have to be “adaptive” and simply say or agree that if a trade is NOT reacting according to my plan then I simply “REALIGN”. That way I don’t use the negative connotations of the word “loser”. Plus when hone the skill to realign you quickly realize that your stance has changed which helps you pay a small “fee” to the market to get out of your own way…cut losers quickly, preserve capital for the next trade.

  • Leaname says:

    Thank you so much for this….i believe it will help me with my trading discipline

  • Karanja wa gathoni says:

    Nice article sir.

  • Sammy says:

    1.If you can not walk away from a trade or sleep well, then your risk is too high.
    2. Puting into consideration the power of positive and negative correlation on pairs.
    3.Knowing that losses are part of trading and taking loss as cost of doing business.
    4.Knowing that your best and most reliable strategy is not immune from failing.
    5. Acting like a hunter in waiting for the right time to strike the market.

  • Isaac Teti says:

    A very comprehensive work.. very insightful

  • >
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