I'm still on my self-imposed time out from trading, but I'm been fortunate that focusing less on trading has given me a fresh perspective on what I need to do to become both a better trader and person.
Therefore, my current goal is to NOT focus as much on my trading, but on other aspects of life, such as health and mental well being. By working on strengthening those areas, I believe it will cross over and improve my trading performance.
Here are the current areas of focus:
1) Reduction in trading time: As mentioned, family commitments have increased, so time for trading has decreased. The likely scenario is that I will focus on short term trading for only certain hours. I am also looking into more swing trading. I will also factor in a good 1-2 hours for research and journal updates during the day vs. the evening hours as I have done in the past.It looks like this period of transition will soon settle down so that I'll be able to focus more on trading. But in the meantime, I'm realizing that this is likely a well needed break after an intense year of learning. Based on how everything is progressing, I believe I will emerge from this period mentally stronger better able to deal with my challenges.
2) Trading strategy reevaluation: Therefore, the reduction in my trading hours will require that I reevaluate my overall day trading strategies. For example, determine the impact of trading only certain hours of the day on my P&L.
I will also need to begin evaluating swing trading strategies that require only end of day trade evaluation and order management, which may mean that stocks might make their way back into the picture. There are also other trading strategies I'm reviewing that may help transition to a reduced trading schedule. Lots of homework ahead.
3) More exercise: I am currently working out 5 times a week, ranging from kickboxing, cardio, and yoga. This is a pretty large increase from 1 to 2 days of exercise I was averaging before. I have to admit, exercising and yoga has generally increased my energy levels, but more importantly, my ability to focus and remain centered.
In a great book I recently read called "The Willpower Instinct", the author referenced studies which demonstrated that exercise and meditation both have a similar positive impact on the prefrontal cortex part of the brain -- that's an area that controls impulsive actions, like revenge trading. Which leads to...
4) Hypnosis: Along the lines exercise and yoga, I have begun listening to hypnosis CDs a few weeks ago that are focused specifically for traders. In addition to listening to trading affirmations and approaches for improvement, the process of going under a trance has had the added benefit similar to meditation where you leave the session feeling energized and rested. I believe it may take a couple months or more of regular use before the effects become evident, but I believe some positive effects are being to emerge.
The journey continues...