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Nick Goold

The trading business may seem easy, but in fact, it is very difficult. When you are using your own money to trade, it's natural you are most happy when you are making a profit, and your mood is at its worst if you are making a loss. Although simple, clicking the entry and close buttons is difficult to control, as the mental ups and downs are very intense.

The essential elements for success in trading are the method used, money management and mental control. To maintain mental control, it is important to stay motivated. That is particularly important when losses continue and you feel that you are not getting the results you need.

Trading is a solitary business. You make all trading decisions yourself because most private traders trade from home. Whereas in an office, you have a manager and colleagues to help you focus on achieving your goals. However, individual traders need to remain self-motivated. It's a vital skill to learn how to maintain your motivation.

If your motivation is low, you will find it difficult to follow your trading plan. If this happens, you could fall into a negative cycle of postponing decisions when you should have acted quickly to lock in a profit or cut a loss.

Staying motivated will help you follow your trading plan consistently, which, in turn, will help you achieve better results.

Step 1: Imagine yourself being successful in a tangible way

Imagining yourself being successful in a tangible way helps to keep you motivated. For example, imagine yourself calm and trading according to your trading plan. You could also think about the confidence you get from maintaining your trading records, reviewing them regularly, and how this will help you to make steady profits over time. That will help to keep you motivated.

Success here does not necessarily mean where you are profitable, but rather where you can strictly follow your trading plan. The most important element in trading is to make profits steadily over time. So always follow your trading plan, and when you consider taking a new position, be patient and wait for the right opportunity. Always picture yourself in a calm state, and concentrate on the trading process, not relying on hope, luck, chance or gambling.

Step 2: Focus on small goals

It takes time to gain the status of 'professional' in any business. In the same way, becoming a 'professional trader' takes time and experience. It takes time to generate regular profits, so only focus on achieving small goals and developing a trading process that you can progressively improve.

The second step necessary to maintain motivation is to focus on small goals. Setting small goals and achieving them step by step will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you stay motivated.

For example:

- Trade only 3 hours a day this week

- Save charts for each trade this week

- Limit the number of trades per day

Achieving small goals will gradually improve your trading process and eventually help you achieve your larger goals.

Step 3: Reward yourself if you follow your trading plan

The most important part of the trading business is to follow the trade plan. Even if you get a stop loss, you "traded well" if you followed the trading plan you created before you held the position.

Rather than measuring success by the amount of profit you made, try to determine how successful you were by how well you followed the trading plan. That way, you will have better self-control and the confidence to start trading larger positions. Once you have good self-control, you will be free from anxiety, and trading will become an enjoyable challenge.

If you are depressed because "it's hard to make a profit," you will lose motivation and find it even more difficult. You will feel less disappointed if you compare your trades to previous ones and gradually improve your skills.

Trading is a highly-skilled business, and when you perform well, it can be very satisfying.

If you can maintain a high level of motivation, it will help you to trade well. Motivated traders always look for ways to improve and react quickly to the market. Keep yourself motivated and focused on your trading goals.