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how to become a successful traderToday I want to talk to you guys about how to transform yourself from a struggling, losing trader into a successful one. I’m going to get specific in today’s lesson and discuss how you can begin making consistent money in the markets, once and for all…

Trading seems really hard and frustrating when you are losing money and you have a little account that you can’t seem to get anywhere with. I know how you feel because I’ve personally been there before and so have many other successful traders who have walked a similar road until they eventually ‘transformed’ into profitable traders. You might be surprised to know that the primary ‘sticking points holding you back’ are not as difficult to overcome as you might think.

The purpose of this post is simple: to teach you how to conquer the obstacles that get in the way of profitable trading, and slowly but surely transform yourself into a successful trader.

Step 1: Determine why you are failing to make money

There is basically a small handful of very common issues that hold most people back from making money in the market, and if you can learn to work through them you will start to make money.

For some reason, people like to look outward rather than inward when trying to figure out why they are losing money in the market. Actually, I know the reason why…because most people are afraid to admit that the problem is almost entirely inside of them.

The first step to figuring out why you are not making money in the market is accepting that you might have to change something about yourself; you are not perfect. I was in the same boat before (but now I’m perfect. Joking!)…trying to solve my trading failure by looking outward before I finally swallowed the cold hard fact that the reason I was not a profitable trader yet was entirely my fault.

Thus, the first thing you need to do to fix your trading woes is to have an honest conversation with yourself about why you are not making money in the market. Lucky for you, I’ve prepared a list of questions for you to ask yourself to help determine why you are not yet a successful trader. Be sure to answer honestly or you will miss the point of this entire post, you can do this exercise aloud if you want (just make sure you’re alone or people might think your crazy)…Seriously though, write down your honest answers to the questions below and any others you can think of…

Questions to ask yourself to help determine why you are not yet a successful trader (You might think of more):

1. Do I have an effective trading strategy that I feel confident with? Do I know what I am looking for when I analyze the charts or am I just sort of ‘shooting in the dark’?

2. I do have a trading strategy that I’ve mastered and feel confident with, but am I actually following it and waiting for the setups to appear? Or am I disregarding my strategy and sort of entering randomly because I want to be in the market all the time?

3. Do I honestly have a structured daily trading routine that I could easily explain to other people and sound like I am know what I’m doing? Or would I just sound like a bumbling moron who is obviously gambling my money away?

4. What type of money am I trading with? Is it ‘scared’ money…AKA money that I know I shouldn’t be risking in the market but I am anyways?

5. What is my pre-determined dollar risk-per-trade threshold that I am emotionally OK with potentially losing? Do I even have one or am I just ratcheting up and down my dollar-per-trade risk as I see fit?

6. Am I constantly glued to my charts and obsessed with analyzing the 5 minute and other low time frames charts?

OK, as you can see, there are six serious questions above that you need to get busy with answering before you do anything else. Do what you need to do; lock yourself in a room with a box of tissues to wipe away the tears or maybe have a couple of beers…just answer the above questions HONESTLY (and any others you can think of) if you really want to figure out why you are losing money…and begin to put an end to it.

Step 2: Devise a plan to fix what’s causing you to fail

how to fix trading problemsAfter you’ve figured out why you’ve been losing money in the market from answering the questions above, you can start devising a plan to begin transforming yourself into a successful trader.

Of course, the particular reason(s) a trader is failing in the market will vary between traders. The important thing is to really focus in on the main thing(s) that are holding you back and work on changing them. Again…if you completed the exercise in step 1 above, you should now have a good idea of what the “main things” are that are holding you back from becoming a successful trader.

Here are some examples of how you might plan to fix trading problems:

Examples:

Problem: Let’s say you answered “No” to question number 2 from above because even though you have a trading strategy that you’re confident and happy with, you can’t seem to muster the discipline or ballz to stick to it.

Solution: Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you like to lose money? Because that’s what’s going to happen if you can’t muster the discipline to stick to an effective trading strategy. More practically speaking…you might limit yourself to a 3 trade per week maximum, see if you can stick to that rule for 1 month…DARE yourself to be disciplined for one month and see how it affects your trading. Remind yourself that if you continue to give into your emotional impulses to over-trade and constantly be in the market, you will NEVER become a consistently successful trader. The point is that you are FOCUSING on this problem until you have destroyed it and showed it who the boss is.

Problem: Let’s say that you answered “No” to question 3 above because you do not have a structured daily trading routine that you follow and you suspect this is a big reason you are losing money.

Solution: Start writing your own “daily commentary” for your favorite markets once a day after the New York close. I wrote an article last week on how to develop a daily trading routine, read that to get some more info on this and start focusing on fixing your lack of a trading routine.

Problem: Let’s say you answered “Yes” to question number 6 and you are constantly glued to you charts because you’re addicted to the lower time frames or you’re just addicted to being in the market.

Solution: The best way to cut your addiction to lower time frames is to first obtain some knowledge on the best time frames to trade. Once you do this, you’ll clearly see that higher time frames like the 4 hour and daily chart are the way to go. I have many articles on trading higher time frames, like the one I just linked you to and more. So study my site more and you’ll learn more about why trading low time frames is so dangerous. Next, you need to simply STOP looking at any time frame under the 1 hour, again, this is an exercise in discipline; you need to force yourself to stop looking at those 5 minute charts…if you cannot manage that level of discipline for even 1 month then you probably shouldn’t be trading anyways.

If it’s not clear to you yet, what I’m doing here is identifying the problem and then developing a way to fix it. You obviously cannot do this if you didn’t answer the questions honestly in step 1 or otherwise figured out why you are not yet successful.

I actually want you to write it out like I did above; list the problem in specific terms and then below it list the solution. Build this into your trading plan if you need to; just be sure that fixing the specific problems you’ve identified becomes the main focus in your trading for now.

 Step 3: Don’t deviate from your plan

disciplined tradingHow many times have you started exercising again after a long absence and you’ve had 1 or 2 months of consistency going to the gym and eating healthy when you get hit with the flu or another nasty virus that knocks you out of your routine? How soon you get back into your routine is what separates the “men from the boys”.

We all have things happen that get in the way of our best efforts, whether it’s in business, school, health or trading. They key is to not let one unfortunate event derail your entire effort and all the progress you’ve made up to that point. The famous American football coach Vince Lombardi once put it best when he said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

The key point here is that the “glue” that will actually allow you to transform into a successful trader is not whether you figure out why you are losing money and devise a plan to fix it as we discussed above, but whether or not you STICK TO THAT PLAN(S) after you hit a couple of losing trades. It is exactly because of this lack of “glue” that many traders’ best efforts go right off the track and fly into the black hole of trading aspirations.

Transforming yourself into a success at anything is really just a matter of habits. Trading is no different; do you have the necessary discipline and drive to overcome whatever it is that’s causing you to fail in the market? Honestly, the reason you’re failing is probably one of the issues that I listed in Step 1, as I said earlier…most traders tend to fail for the same small handful of reasons. Does this not make it clear to you that the MAIN thing that separates successful traders from the masses of losers is simply that the successful traders dug a little bit deeper, made the extra effort and simply had more drive to fix their trading problems?

I have news for you, no one is born a Warren Buffet or a George Soros, despite what you may have read, professional traders and investors do not come out of the womb that way. Yes, some people have a slightly better brain chemistry for patience, discipline and interest in financial markets, but by no means is being born with a different brain chemistry something you can’t overcome if you want to bad enough. The point I’m trying to make is this: do you really want to remain an unsuccessful trader because you simply didn’t TRY to be disciplined enough to follow a plan to eradicate your trading problems? I’m pretty sure your answer is a resounding “NO!”

The Final Step…

The “final step” is really just commitment. Will you commit to changing the way you trade? I’ve given you a very effective blueprint to fixing your trading problems in this article, so really, the only excuse you are left with is a lack of motivation, which is something that I am trying to help you with via this article and others that I’ve written. But I can’t come to your house and pour a bucket of cold water on your head, so it’s up to you to really listen to what I am saying in this and other articles and start to piece it together. If you want to get more help in transforming yourself into a successful trader, checkout my trading courses and members community for additional resources. You can also contact me here.

nialfuller

About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. He has a monthly readership of 250,000+ traders and has taught 15,000+ students since 2008.
Checkout Nial’s Professional Forex Course here.

Now I want to hear from you! - Click Here to Leave a Comment

53 Comments

  1. gadimoh oluwole says:

    wonderfull education regards

  2. James Mboho says:

    Thanks. This is real great.

  3. Ashraf says:

    Great article Nial. I’ve identified my problems after reading this article and now I’m going to fix them. Thanks!

  4. Carla says:

    Excellent article, thanks Nial.

  5. sajol ahmed says:

    Boss, you are great.

  6. mike says:

    Thanks again Nial. I certainly had a few of these problems. Now, I’m working on trading like a sniper.

  7. chynado says:

    Master, you are the KEY to trading. Thanks a lot.

  8. daniel says:

    Nial,
    i had planned to do such an ‘audit’ since months and never done; thanks to you, I’m finally doing it.
    You’re a great coach and trader!

  9. fue says:

    Perfect worlds Nial, you are writing as perfectly reading my head : )
    I absolutely admit that my problem is entirely inside of me but its difficult to be disciplined on small account when you want account bigger and you want it faster.
    And this creates in my trading biggest problem why i’m losing time on breakeven, little more or less.

    Thanks for helping.

  10. anard says:

    Well said, Nial..!

  11. Leon says:

    If i can be successful trader because of i follow your footprint Nail Fuller.
    Thank you so much.

  12. maya singh says:

    Hi Nial

    This is an excellent article. These questions will help clear a lot of my issues.
    Thanks
    Maya

  13. George Botoman says:

    This is an amazing article. I don’t know how did I came to know Nial, thanks to Google search engine.

    I will continue changing even though I got hit by 4 trades in a row last week, i will continue to work hard.

    Thanks nial

  14. Lucy says:

    Nial, you´re great!!!

  15. walbaines says:

    comprehensive article, anybody aspiring to be a forex trader should put it on top of his/her essential reading list.

  16. Rahwa says:

    Great article as usual.Iwas a stock market trade for many years,and Ihave not a clue which way I would follow.I have blown my trading account many time. But this time I am becoming a pacient and a disciplined trader.Thank you NIAL. May God bless you and your whole family.

  17. gabstar says:

    Great article more grease to ur elbow

  18. obiora Paul says:

    A great article on trading discipline. I think I’ve got all i need to know here for successful trading ahead.
    Thanks Nial.

  19. Henry says:

    Useful advice, thank you!

  20. Teri says:

    Australians are the best traders of the world. Unfortunately I took a long time to discover this fact as Australia is far from Europe and Switzerland. They do not prserve the secrets for themselves. Nial, many thanks for your fantastic insights to trading in your website.

  21. harydz says:

    Hello Nial,
    Your work published here changed radically my trading.
    Thanks a lot
    Hary

  22. John says:

    That is amazing truth and your are really really excellent writer of the forex market. i am alwayes inpired to read your article thanks nial

  23. Mithun says:

    You always deeply imprint many points to be followed in trading … I am grateful to you Master :)

  24. Toko says:

    Good article Nial once i had gotten rid of the BS excuses as to why i was failing….like not enough chart time…long hours at work etc and asked myself what the real reasons were i was failing…….i was able to make a decision as to whether i was going to address the real reasons i was going wrong. turned the corner now :D
    well done Nial

  25. Dave says:

    Hello Nial

    All the greatest sports people like Michael Jordon didn’t get to play pro by shooting 1 ball in the hoop it take many shots its no different from trading practice make perfect

    Thanks Nial

  26. Venkat says:

    Excellent Article!!!! If I become (I’m confident that I will) a successful trader one day…credit goes to none other than our great PROFESSOR NIAL……

  27. michael garzon says:

    i know that there’s something. this article helped me figure out where to get started on fixing it.

    thanks

  28. lyte says:

    Thanks Nial. Today’s article has been truly helpful with asking myself those 6 questions. Just this week through having a predefined plan turned my trades into winners. It wasn’t because I was expecting them to be winners, it’s because I believe in my strategy. Your education and articles are parts of a puzzle enabling me to read and understand price action and picture a story in the markets. I strive to be successful through routine, discipline and patience…trading continues to redefine me.

  29. Ang Jia Sheng says:

    thx a lot about your forex-articles, it help me many in my trading

  30. Andy says:

    Superb article. I will say that I trade the 15 min chart successfully (after years and thousands of hours of work). Not glued to the charts or anything–intraday position trading

  31. Fino says:

    Another great article. I always get something that I can use to refine and sharpen my trading.

  32. Yalcin says:

    The truth will set your free. Think big think long term. Trading the longer time frames is the way. Only an trained eye can handle the shorter time frames. Finding the chaos patterns in the shorter time frames is only for the best intuition traders. Keep on the good work Nail.

  33. Frankie says:

    Hi Nial,

    After studying forex trading at a snail’s pace for the last 12 months and reading your articles, in particular the ones on Position sizing, journaling, 17 trading affirmation and this latest one, I feel ready to start. You have a very practical way of discussing issues. Thanks for being my mentor.

  34. Oleg says:

    Thank you Nial! You have listed all my mistakes!

    Best regards.
    Oleg, Belarus.

  35. zipho says:

    all along I was shooting in the dark ,thanks Nial this article will help me a lot

  36. Gloria says:

    thanks for this lesson. its an eye opener. although I lost all my capital. if I start up again I would better with what I have learned so far.
    a million thanks

  37. Hega says:

    Big thanks Nial for your wunderbar articles!

  38. david laracuente says:

    Thanks Nial,

    This is great advice. I am really happy that I signed up with your trading system.

    Dave

  39. Adam3381 says:

    Great article Nial. I trade your method already six weeks and it really works. Really appreciate it. You were so right when you wrote all that stuff about so called experts and their ”methods”. Thanks again for your support.

  40. KRISTOFA OKENTA says:

    The ‘Professor’ has again said it all.
    DISCIPLINE and FOCUS is the main KEY.
    With these two words I WILL BECOME the
    most successful trader of all time.
    Thank you so much for this great gems you have always given us free of charge.

  41. RAJIB says:

    i like this part nial : “But I can’t come to your house and pour a bucket of cold water on your head” WELL SAID mate

  42. Qasim says:

    Wonderfull Nial thank you for helping

  43. Tomson says:

    Thanks Nial,

    Really good as usual, always looking forward to the Friday article to see what visdom you are sharing this week :-)

    Thanks for your time that you put in to this.

    Cheers
    Tomson

  44. bonginkosi says:

    great article,thank Nial

  45. Felix says:

    Nial,
    Great article, and to the point.
    I will certainly will find time to write the answers to these questions.
    Having a trading strategy and then not using it when the trade is on, seems a bad idea but it happens too often.
    Thank you

  46. dev says:

    Thanks Nial……

    i am was really in need of your support through articles like these one’s …….it is really a good article which contains the sure and true question’s that i or any other trader should ask to themselves………

    thanks for your support …….

  47. Javier says:

    Thank you Nial for yet another refreshing article to encourage all of us to press on in our trading journey!!

    Javier
    Singapore.

  48. The Big A says:

    Is definately a good idea to analize what your doing if the account balance is waning!Excellent article Nial…..

  49. Geetha says:

    ‘Thank u’ this would be a small word to appreciate ur support through this article, Sir.

  50. Muthu says:

    Superb Article.

  51. kamal says:

    thanks Nial, this article is better for us,
    thanks again nial

  52. giowck says:

    Good article. Another advice, don’t trade the 1H chart directly. Try the 4H and D1 charts first to develop confidence.

  53. Nabs says:

    You got the truth !

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