3 Mind Hacks for Self-Control
With binary options trading, we talk a lot about developing self-discipline. Discipline in many ways is the key to success—but what is the key to self-discipline? If you have tried to develop it, odds are you have discovered it is quite challenging. Not only that, but you may have noticed that the harder you try to build discipline, the more it tends to elude you. This catch-22 can start to feel pretty aggravating at times. Why is developing self-discipline so hard, and how can you steer around the pitfalls and achieve greater self-control?
Recently I ran into an article published by the American Psychological Association (APA) interviewing a psychologist named Roy F. Baumeister on his studies on willpower. Willpower is a pretty tough thing to define. It is one part decision, and one part follow-through. Paradoxically, you may find that you can easily make decisions—but have a hard time sticking to them. You may also find that you have an easy time following through on commitments—but only if someone else made the decision!
If you have noticed this, you are not imagining it. One of Baumeister’s findings was that making decisions can actually deplete willpower. Willpower may or may not be a bottomless resource, but we do live in the real world and all of us need recharging from time to time. Here is a summary of what Baumeister discovered while running his studies. We can use the information he uncovered to hack self control and develop better discipline in our trading lives.
- Willpower is depleted without breaks. If you engage in one task which entails a large degree of self-control, and then you attempt to immediately engage in another (related or not), your performance will suffer in the second task and you will be prone to giving up sooner.
- Making decisions also depletes willpower. Ironically, if you have to make a lot of tough decisions throughout your day, you will deplete willpower in the same manner as described above. This is why it is hard to follow through on your decisions once you have made them, even though you may have an easier time following through on decisions that other people make for you (like your boss at work). You may be surprised to realize there is a scientific basis for why this happens, especially since it seems so counter-intuitive!
- Glucose has a role in willpower and self-control. When your glucose levels are high, you are more likely to perform well on tasks which require discipline. When your glucose is depleted, your willpower tends to lag as well. This is one of the reasons that a healthy breakfast helps you get off to a good start with your day, and on days that you skip breakfast, your performance tends to not be up to par.
These three findings can give us three ideas for developing more self control when you are trading binary options. Right away, you may be able to recognize some of the reasons you may be struggling with discipline in your trading. Here are some steps to take to achieve more success.
- Take breaks.
When you are trying to build a new business from the ground up, it is difficult to pull yourself away from your work. And you should be dedicated, but this is why we also talk a lot about burnout. Burnout is what happens when you push and you push and you push without giving yourself an opportunity for rest. The studies carried out by Baumeister prove that you need to take time to relax and do something undisciplined between tasks which require self-control. That means for example that when you get home from your day job, you need to take a little time to relax and enjoy yourself before you study binary options and practice trading.
It also means that during your study and practice time, you should take regular breaks to do other things. Even just five minutes every half hour or so can make a difference in your self-discipline and productivity levels. So ironically, one key to developing discipline is to take some time to be undisciplined.
- Externalize some decision making.
You will be making a lot of decisions while you are trading, but maybe you do not need to take on the full burden yourself. If you have an accountability partner, consider letting that person make some decisions for you. Talk about your goals and your needs, and try an experiment. Let your accountability partner come up with a study schedule for you. Try following it and see if you have an easier time staying dedicated when you are following a prescribed schedule than when you are trying to come up with one yourself. You may very well find it is easier to work this way than forcing yourself to be entirely self-directed.
Trading with a team may also help you out if you have difficulties balancing decision making with follow through. Every team has a different way of organizing tasks, but you may well find you perform well on a team where someone else takes a leadership role. There is a reason that leaders are so important in society. It isn’t just that they help us to stay organized. It is that they help us to stay motivated by taking on part of the burden of our work by making the tough calls.
- Drink some lemonade.
Baumeister discovered that participants in his studies performed with greater willpower after they had eaten and restored their glucose levels. He suggests that eating a snack or even just having a glass of lemonade can give you a willpower boost. Whatever willpower may be on the mysterious level of consciousness, it does have a direct relationship to glucose in the brain. That means that making the simple choice to feed your body the nutrition it needs can boost your willpower!
Applying these lifestyle habits will boost your binary options success as well.
Trying to develop self-discipline so that you can follow through on your tasks and stick with your decisions is challenging. It is probably one of the single greatest challenges that the majority of binary options traders face. Learning to trade is only partly a matter of understanding technical and fundamental analysis and how to apply them. The harder part of the equation is actually applying what you learn. But you do not need to flounder in self-doubt. There are real, concrete steps you can take right now to improve your willpower, which in turn will empower you to succeed at trading!