Friday, October 04, 2019

Changing Negative Trading Behaviors

I'm looking forward to the upcoming Traders4ACause conference, where I'll be doing something new.  Instead of talking to the group as traders, I will speak with them exactly the same way I talk to the psychology and psychiatry trainees I work with at Upstate Medical University.  In other words, I will teach the group literally how to act as their own therapists, using research-based techniques for dealing with problem emotions and behaviors.

A key idea is that before we can change any pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior, three things have to happen:

1)  We have to become better at recognizing the pattern occurring in real time;
2)  We have to switch our mindset so that we can approach the situation in a different way;
3)  We have to make a conscious effort to not follow our old pattern and try something new.

A vital element in this change process is that switch of mindset in the second step.  The various approaches to change involve different techniques for making that switch and seeing the problem in a whole new light.  For example, if you get worked up about missing a trade and then step back and rehearse a different internal dialogue, telling yourself that getting worked up--not the missed trade--is the *real* problem, that helps you distance from bad habits and exercise more control over your next actions and decisions.

The general rule is that we cannot change our problem patterns unless we become aware of them as they are happening and then emotionally connect with the costs of those patterns.  We don't change by writing in a journal.  We change by turning our problem patterns into enemies and finding the motivation to smack them down.

All change begins as an internal battle.  

I look forward to pursuing this area at the T4AC event and in future blog posts.

Further Reading: