At some point during your trading experience, you might have felt like the market is out to get you and that absolutely nothing is going your way.
In these situations, do you a.) take a step back to regain focus or b.) try harder and prove that you can catch pips no matter what?
If the latter applies to you more often than not, then you might be prone to forcing your trades.
Forcing trades usually means taking trades that don’t meet your trading rules, though it could also mean taking positions that are too large or trading too often for your comfort levels.
These trading no-no’s often take place when one is bent on making things happen instead of simply reacting to what is happening.
Remember that some characteristics of a successful trader, such as being competitive and aggressive, can also be potential pitfalls.
A highly competitive trader, for example, might have trouble staying calm and collected while in the middle of a nasty losing streak, and eventually resort to overtrading, revenge trading, or over-leveraging just to make his or her money back.
So, how do you avoid the temptation of forcing your trades? The answer, according to my favorite trading psychologist Dr. Brett Steenbarger, is to turn your rules into habits.
Like in any habit formation, the hardest part is at the beginning.
For forex traders, this is the part where you force yourself to follow your tried-and-tested rules on position sizing, leveraging, stop loss placements, and risk management. Write down your rules and follow a check list if it helps.
The process gets easier as you develop a rhythm and see the (hopefully positive) results of strictly sticking to your plans.
When you trust your own system and you don’t want to fix something that ain’t broke, then you’ll be less tempted to force your trades the next time you feel the urge to do it.
If you haven’t found a set of trading rules that would keep you away from forced trades, then all you need to do is remember that profitable traders stay ahead of the rest of the pack because they make decisions based on probabilities and not on emotions.
Consistently profitable traders recognize that trading is a dance where the market ALWAYS takes the lead.
If you attempt to lead the market by anticipating future price action, or find beats (read: opportunities) where there aren’t any, then you could fall flat on your face and miss out on the more profitable moves.
Remember that trading is a marathon and not a sprint. The goal is to trade for another day until you learn how to be consistently profitable with your strategies. Don’t sabotage your progress by forcing your trades.