10 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Recently I posted an article recommending a set of New Year’s resolutions for binary options traders. Here were my ideas:

• Upgrade your trading plan.
• Stop going on tilt.
• Learn to relax.
• Go beyond auto-trading.
• Stop wagering arbitrary amounts of money on your trades.
• Go back to demo testing if you need to.
• Find a new broker if yours is not working out.
• Get healthier all around.
• Start taking your binary options trading seriously.
• Get to know yourself better.

Chances are that some of those apply to you and some of them do not. A few, like “get to know yourself better,” are evergreen, and should be applicable to anyone at any point along the curve. No matter what your New Year’s resolutions are though, there is a huge difference between making them and keeping them. Making changes in your life is always easier said than done, which is why most people notoriously break their New Year’s resolutions. So now I would like to talk about some strategies for keeping your trading resolutions and following through on the changes you would like to make to become a more profitable binary options investor.

1. Start with just one thing.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are trying to enact change is trying to tackle too many objectives at once. If you do this, you will spread your time and energy too thin, and you will end up accomplishing very little. Make it your goal instead to choose even a single item from your list of resolutions, and make that your top priority. You will have much more progress achieving a single New Year’s resolution and improving your trading in just one way, than you would if you tried to tackle half a dozen resolutions and ended up sticking with none of them.

How do you choose what to focus on? You could try to figure out your very worst habit as a trader and fix it. If that seems too intimidating, you could instead try and change the thing you think will be easiest to fix. This approach may be more successful in that it will give you a platform of success to build upon, and then future resolutions will be easier.

2. Share your New Year’s resolutions.

Whether or not this is good advice really depends on your personality. For some traders, it is actually the worst thing they can do. You may feel gratified just from talking, and then feel you have done enough. If you tend to substitute talking for doing, avoid this one. But it is a good idea if you are someone who tends to achieve more by making yourself accountable for your goals. If telling others you want to achieve a change in your trading increases the pressure you feel in a positive way, it may help motivate you toward your goals. Maybe you can even find another trader who will make the same resolution with you, and then you can work toward your goals together. Make sure the people you do choose to tell will be supportive! You do not need any negativity in your life.

3. Forgive yourself for your previous failings.

If you have tried in the past to improve your trading performance and failed, or if you have abandoned previous New Year’s resolutions, try not to beat up on yourself too much. Everyone has failures in their past. It does not mean you have to carry them forward with you into the future. If you do, you may simply convince yourself that you are incapable of making any progress now. You might get down on yourself, and the drop in your self-esteem will cause a corresponding drop even further in your performance. Instead, forgive yourself for your shortcomings, and resolve to be different this year. None of us are stuck a certain way, and it is never too late to change.

4. A lapse does not have to be a relapse.

Likewise, try and go easy on yourself (but not too easy) for your shortcomings over the coming year. Remember, change is never easy, and you will almost certainly make some mistakes as you go along. A mistake or a lapse does not have to turn into a relapse though if you resolve to let it go and move on. Allow yourself to acknowledge the lapse and go back to doing the right thing. For example, let’s say that one of your New Year’s resolutions is to take only the very best trade setups and steer clear of the rest. Maybe one day you took a trade that was not quite up to par. You could freak out at this point and start taking so-so trade after so-so trade because you are “back to square one,” or you could acknowledge the mistake, forgive yourself, and move on to just taking the very best setups again. Lapses happen. They are not the end of the world, and you never have to go all the way back to square one.

5. Set a schedule.

This is not applicable to everything, but may be applicable to your resolutions. Say for instance you decided your resolution this year is to find a better broker. Come up with a timeline for checking out new brokers and opening a new account and closing your account with your old broker. Do not leave it open-ended or you might just put it off. Or maybe you decided this year you will learn how to relax. Do not just say it; do it! Make a schedule for time off throughout the week and stick with it. If you do not live alone, share your schedule with another person in your household, and ask them to be your accountability partner and help keep you on track. If you do not remember to relax, it is their job to remind you! You can also set up reminders using Google Calendar and other web-based programs and apps.

6. Break large tasks down into smaller ones.

If you have a big resolution which is kind of vague like, “replace my trading method,” you are going to need to break it down into smaller, more manageable (and clearly defined) steps. You may want to schedule these steps as well. For example:

  1. January: Research new trading methods.
  2. February: Select 5-10 new trading methods to experiment with and test, and start doing so.
  3. March: Continue testing and researching.
  4. April: Select a new trading method and start comprehensive back-testing.
  5. May: Continue testing and improving.
  6. June: Start demo testing if possible.
  7. July: Continue demo testing.
  8. August: Go live if possible. Otherwise, continue testing until ready through the rest of the year.

See how each of these steps is more specific and approachable? Obviously you cannot force progress on an exact timeline, because you cannot progress to trading live until you have something worth trading live with, but you can at least give yourself a basic timeline. That way you will stay on target.

7. Keep your goals focused on performance, not money.

It may be tempting as a binary options trader to come up with goals which are based on income and not on performance, but that never helps to create good practices, only bad habits. “I want to make $20,000 trading this year,” is a good example of a bad New Year’s resolution. In your attempts to meet this resolution, you may compromise on the quality of your trades and engage in negative behaviors which will not pay off at all in the end. Your goals should always reflect improvements in your actual trading methods. If you are able to boost your performance, the money will follow. In fact, you may want to challenge yourself in 2015 not to think about money, and simply to think about trading decisions and positive returns. A lot of traders have much more success if they focus on a positive, reliable return and less on the actual amount. Dollar amounts can be very distracting.

8. Write your resolutions down as part of your trading plan.

Your trading plan is something you should be looking at every day. It is a great way for you to stay focused on everything you need to be doing, short term and long term. Whether you are trying to remember all the steps you need to take before you place “call” or “put” on a trade, or you are trying to remember your New Year’s resolutions, your plan is there to help.

9. Track your progress.

Just as your trading plan is a great tool to use to help you keep your trading resolutions, so is your trading journal. In your journal, write down your progress toward your goals as well as your lapses. Be honest with yourself at all times, and go back over your entries now and again to see how far you have come. You may be surprised!

10. Reward yourself for sticking with your resolutions.

There is no reason for binary options to be all work and no play. If you actually are successful sticking with your New Year’s resolutions this year, reward yourself for a job well done. After you write down your resolutions and your plans for keeping them, write down a list of rewards you will give yourself if you meet your goals, both large and small. You might for example set aside $50 to buy yourself something special if you manage to go six months without breaking your money management rules. Odds are you will save so much money by trading properly that you will more than earn it. And who knows—you may feel so encouraged that you decide to put that $50 right into your trading account.

Sticking with New Year’s resolutions is challenging. It is hard to just stop bad habits, but you may be able to replace your bad habits with good ones. 2015 could be the year you finally turn your binary options trading around and start achieving the success you have long dreamed about. And don’t forget that you can make resolutions to improve your trading at any time of year; if you come up with a great idea to boost your returns later this year, go for it!