Maintaining Trading Discipline; Easier Said Than Done

By | November 16, 2015 4:26 pm

The most important trait of winning trader is “DISCIPLINE”

Sounds simple. And everyone should find this sentence easy to agree with.

Basically, it just means following a specific trading strategy and not deviating from it. But people differ in terms of their ability to maintain self-control and discipline.

Discipline vs. Emotions

It is easy to maintain discipline with a trading strategy when that strategy is having a profitable run. But “all” strategies have times when they are not profitable. Whether for days, weeks or even months. This is a fact of trading the markets and accepted by profitable market timers as the price of “doing business.”

However, when a strategy is going through an unprofitable period, maintaining discipline is something else again. A trader, seeing losses , tries to find a reason why exiting the strategy is a good idea. Anything to take away the pain.

The problem is, exiting a proven strategy is almost always going to cause much “more” pain.

Exiting is an emotional decision and the stock market runs on emotions. But that just puts you in with the crowd. Making buy and sell decisions according to how you feel.

Following the emotional crowd may take away the “pain” for a short while, but it is NOT the way to profit.


Discipline Equals Profits

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be disciplined all the time. You only need to be disciplined when you are executing a buy or sell signal. It sometimes helps to remember this fact. It eases some of the pressure to think that you only need to be “disciplined” when you execute a timing signal, rather than during all waking hours.

Don’t minimize the importance of self-control and discipline. The more disciplined you can trade, the more profits you will realize over time.

Remember that traders often has small losing trades that occur when trends fail. This sometimes occurs several times in a row before a new and profitable long term trend begins. These small losses can sap at a timers confidence.

The urge to ignore a buy or sell signal, or even exit a trade because it is not currently profitable, can be very strong.

But when the big profit-making trend begins, if you do not take the trade, you will be left by the wayside. Because it is impossible to know “ahead” of time when that major trend is going to start, you MUST take all the trades.

Remember…there is “always” a next trend. The only question is “when” it will start.


If you maintain discipline and make ALL the trades, you will never miss the “next” profitable trend. And there is “always” a next trend.

8 thoughts on “Maintaining Trading Discipline; Easier Said Than Done

  1. Sachin

    the best way to keep emotions out is not to see the screen all the time during the trading session.. “plan the trade and trade the plan”.. thats it.. noises ( intra day movements)create a lot of pressure on trader.. ( i am a positional trader and over the years I have found this to be truer that anything else).

  2. Dr srivastava

    Many thanks for absolute clarity on discipline as we remain sidelines observing the market behaviour after recurrent losses or when any strategy fails to work,thinking that markets have changed and we have to adjust the strategy as per prevailing market conditions without realizing the fact that any strategy is bound to fail for sometime and we must stick to or follow the entries and exits as per the strategy for all times without much concern for temporary set backs/failures.Have I understood the theme properly.Please comment.


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