In order to build a winning process for trading the markets, try using these three goals. These may not seem like goals at all, but in fact are very hard to do, and even professional traders battle with these issues throughout their careers. Focus on mastering these areas from the very beginning, and positive results are more likely to ensue.
1. Always Have a Plan
Every time you trade you must be trading according to a well thought out and calculated plan.
Your plan should include how trades will be entered, exited (profits and losses) and how money will be managed. The plan should be very detailed, outlining the markets that will be traded, risk parameters, if filters will be used on trade signals, what constitutes a trade and exit signal, position size and what market environments will be traded (and how that will be determined) such as ranges or trends.
2. Learn When NOT to Trade
Especially when a specific dollar amount is the goal, traders will push to achieve that goal even when opportunities are not present. The market does not present statistically probable trading opportunities at all times; there are often times when you will be far better off sitting on your hands or watching TV than trading. This does not sit well with most people; they want to continually be doing something. In the markets this can slowly (or quickly) erode profits that came during good trading times.
When -- and when not -- to trade should be covered in detail in the trading plan. Yet, trading during slow times or making impulsive trades outside the scope of the plan is such a common issue that it deserves special attention. Make one of your goals to be as disciplined as possible, only making trades that are outlined in the plan.
3. Keep it Simple - Avoid the Mysterious
A complex strategy can be very alluring. Many people believe that because something is complex it is more likely to work than something that is simple. Avoid getting too fancy with your analysis and trading strategies. As you progress, avoid the desire to make a winning trading plan more complex, usually this only results in destroying the profitability of it.
The goal here is to avoid constant tinkering in order to improve performance, or continually switching markets, strategies or analysis methods. Stick to the plan.