The concept of trading is simple, but why is it so hard? Are we all geniuses battling each other or are we really fighting ourselves by making trades not ideally suited to our temperament? Trades that are placed outside your ideal time horizon and risk appetite are unsuspecting profit killers in trading.
Regardless of your skill in trading based on charts, news, or momentum, one edge you should acquire sooner than later is to learn your natural trading "disposition". By this, I mean how does time, size, % gain, and % loss impact your decision making? Taking time to do this today, will save you a lot of grief and future losses.
Know what numbers make a difference to your internal "fear/greed barometer". Whether $100, $1000, or $100,000 you need to have profits and losses that are material to you. Identifying these numbers, whether in dollars or percentages, is critical to understanding your trading temperament. Making trading rules is a way to enforce your behavior so you don't get numb or irrational to the reality on trading day and protect those profits. Utilizing stops are also mechanical ways manage gains and losses. Plan enforcement is the best way to prevent watching a profitable trade turn into a 50% loss.
Here are a few ideas:
For those who can't stop...
Are you an over-caffienated, high-testosterone, million-mile-an-hour, OCD thinker? Perhaps leveraged ETFs would work for you. Why? The rate of change is such that you won't be lulled into complacency and lose dollar after dollar.
Alternatively, play short. As the saying goes. Escalator up, elevator down.. Playing short can give well positioned trades the quick gratification you crave, vs. trying to deal with large swings and nominal gains over time.
For those who like it complicated.
Suffer from an inflated ego - don't we all. Be disciplined. Perhaps try deep OTM spreads. A 1% gain per week is huge over time. These are highly rewarding, but require epic amounts of discipline and maintenance. Laddering into trades, even getting premium can be frustrating and require an entirely different mentality than that of day trading common stock.
Keep in mind, being disciplined is a 7 day a week effort. You can lose 4 months worth of gains, by going rogue, tilt, or all-in. There is no leeway here, being an imbecile costs money and your 10,000 fellow genius traders watching the same trade as you will make you pay.
Once you find your edge, don't deviate. Even having long term and short term accounts in same platform makes it very hard to not execute your trading style. I've tried, I would run out of available capital and then merge accounts and ultimately rationalize why one I should hold onto a trade even because it was a short term trade in my long term account.
Personally, I'm the over-caffinated, OCD trader. I do well on my long accounts which are nearly verboten. Swing positions have been painful and I've cut back on those as I have recently been winning 80% of my short term day trades. And while these trades don't provide the gains I get with swings, there is little drawdown and I can sleep not having to worry about unexpected macro economic or political news.
I built Mometic to serve my own needs figuring there were others with similar desires. Even after 3 years, MOMO provides me with a daily envelope of real-time breakouts while ignoring the other relative market "noise". I tied it in with news to help me see which others found the breakout interesting to help assess the magnitude of the change. I find this serves my needs to keep in touch and prevents FOMO.