Check In With Yourself

Merritt BlackFutures, General Comments

One thing I consistently see with most traders I mentor is a lack of a holistic premarket preparation routine. Yes, most already check the news, find things they’re interested in trading, and begin to pour over charts for levels and patterns. Pretty standard. All good things ,but…

What I teach my mentees is to add checking in with themselves! Sure, we want to check charts and analyze them, but guess what, if you’re not very self-aware as you check the charts and especially as you begin trading, you’re likely to do a poor job.

We can start with some very basic, and seemingly obvious checks. Are you sick? Did you get enough sleep? Do you have a concussion? (Happened to me recently!) Are you emotionally upset about something? Those are some obvious check-ins, but there are more subtle ones too.

One of those more subtle, but most impactful checks I recommend revolves around confidence. What’s your trading confidence level at the moment? Have you been beaten up the past few days and are feeling under-confident? Have you crushed the past two sessions, and feel cocky or overconfident? Both ends of the confidence spectrum lead to errors in trading. Simply checking in with yourself in this way – bringing your current state to your conscious awareness – can have a huge impact on centering your mind, and getting you into the best state possible for elite performance.

To do this, I recommend sitting down and literally drawing out a gauge like a gas gauge for your car. On the far left is under-confidence, which can lead to under-sizing trades, or even passing on great setups due to fear of more losses. On the far right is over-confidence which can lead to ignoring risk rules, large losses, and over-trading. Simply mark where you are, acknowledge it, and you have already prepared your conscious mind to do the right thing according to your trading process, rather than letting emotion run the show.

I hope that is helpful to your own trading.

Merritt Black

*No relevant positions

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