🚀How to level-up your discipline… by [ThinkOrSwim (TOS) Rangers]

ThinkOrSwim Rangers Europe
5 min readApr 8, 2021

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Discipline in trading.

❌⭕️Squares and zeros technique

In previous articles I already wrote about, how to “hatch” a profit in a trade, using markers of inclusion (triggers) of motivation “TO” by replacing thinking patterns. He also wrote about a technique aimed at developing a habit and developing motivation “TO”. Today I want to continue and expand on this topic, drawing your attention to discipline.

What does discipline mean? — No matter what, do a certain set of actions. That is, regardless of whether you want it or not.

Some may say that for this you need to constantly force yourself, but in fact, it does not always work out. There is also an opinion that discipline and willpower do not exist, and I completely agree with this opinion. Why?

Take the habit of exercising in the morning, or the habit of drinking in the evening, for example. That is, both are habit. One of them is positive, the other is negative, but how do they appear? Through repetition! Therefore, our task is to make sure that, on the one hand:

  1. you started to repeat some actions, but on the other hand
  2. do not force yourself.

Habits come from repetition.

As part of our prop with one trader, we are currently working on discipline.

How is this problem solved? Simple enough. We draw such a plate (see photo below). Near it, we write in words the action that we will do. Be sure to use the verb (important).

How to level-up your discipline. Squares and zeros technique.

In this case, the trader and I work together to work through his habit of filling out the journal and the trade profile. Conventionally, he understands what needs to be done — keeps a log of transactions, fills out a transaction profile, analyzes his mistakes, etc. BUT, the problem is that he knows all this, but does not really do it.

How to solve this problem? We draw this plate with a pen and write the verb: “I filled out the journal and the transaction profile.”. Filled out the action log — put a cross (X). Didn’t fill — a zero (O).

We hang the sign in a prominent place and after the trading session, be sure to put either a cross or a zero. Forgot to do it? So the next morning put a zero. The main thing is that there are no empty cells.

Habits come from repetition. Do it formally.

This is how any habit is built. This is how I developed the habit of doing exercises every day, after which I constantly use this technique. Did the exercises — place a cross on the paper, did not do the exercises — put a zero. Did 5 push-ups instead of exercises? I put cross anyway because in fact, even the slightest action on the way to the goal will subsequently influence the result.

In the first weeks, you work on willpower, then you start to “forget”, but putting zeros in the brain still leaves a hook, and gradually the cells begin to fill with crosses.

Words are followed by thoughts, and thoughts are followed by deeds, and thus you begin to hatch a deal.

✅Do it formally

If you find it difficult to do something, do it formally! It is difficult to fill out the trades log — it is enough to set the date and the final profit on all trades: positive and negative.

Do you want to do exercises in the morning, but quit every time? All the same — do it formally. 5 push-ups can already be considered exercises. Because now your task is not exactly to do exercises. Your task is to put a cross. I don’t have the strength to do exercises today, squeeze out once and put a cross.

It hurts you to write in the journal those transactions that you did not according to the system. Shame is real. Thoughts are spinning in my head, for example: well, today I traded on a demo account, why should I write them down, etc.

These are all resistances. Now the main thing is to simply put either a cross (X) or a zero (O). “X” you have the right to put if you entered all transactions in the journal. You don’t even have to fill them out completely, this will be the magic.

That is, you will put cross one day without completing it completely. The second day you will put a zero because you forgot, scored, was ashamed or something else. Thus, from day to day, your brain will automatically focus on this due to the action itself (put a cross or zero).

Over time, a little more crosses will appear, and at the end of the table, about week 6, a habit will develop. It is not true that discipline and habits are developed within 20 days. It really took me 40 and 60 days. You can keep ticking if this is a particularly important and difficult skill. In the end, you will be surprised to find that only crosses remain in your paper.

❓Why does it work

Our goal is not to make a complex and painful action (write the transaction out of the system in the journal). Our goal is to do a simple action — develop a habit.

So, now we are focusing on the task of developing a habit, and after 15–20 days, this repetitive action is partially included in the lifestyle. Our brains make new neural connections and form habits. Thus, over time, we move from partially filling the magazine to completely filling the magazine, etc.

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If you want to build discipline and change your trading, start with a simple habit that doesn’t require willpower. And remember, you are not required to be perfect. You just need to follow the technology and I’m sure you will succeed!

The key is not to try to build many habits at once. You should focus on one habit at a time (a month or two).

What are your difficulties with trading discipline? Write in the comments, and I will help you break down your problem into the right actions, focus on one thing, and make sure that this particular action becomes a habit. And forget about discipline.

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ThinkOrSwim Rangers Europe

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