Falling Back Into Your Old Ways

Exploring Stress as a Trigger for Old Habits

Old Habits

Ever been on a diet?

You’ve got things dialled in but then when some stress hits, you find yourself subconsciously heading to eat the very things you are trying to avoid. It’s like some hidden force just takes your hand and opens the snack cupboard without you knowing…

Stress seems to make us default back to old habits.

As traders this presents a bit of a problem. Because no matter how much we try to stay calm trading can become stressful quite quickly. So what does that mean?

It’s easy to slip back into old habits we are desperately trying to avoid. These bad habits often cause MORE stress and it’s a vicious circle.

Take overtrading for example.

A common bad habit many of us fall into during our early developing trader years that we must battle to break later down the line. (And one of our more popular topics with members).

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Now, a good trader will identify this and come up with a plan of attack to solve it.

Something like this:

  • No more than 3 trades a day
  • All trades must be planned with clear stops and targets
  • No trading in the first 15 minutes

Just simple clear rules to abide by that will keep them from slamming that open ticket button multiple times a day.

And all goes well, for a while.

A nice calm market, with a few uneventful trades. Easy to stick to the rules. Then something unexpected happens, the market does something odd, maybe you break a rule, and all of a sudden your stress level spikes. Your brain somehow gets hijacked and before you realise it you’ve done ten trades, are down 8R, and you have no idea what happened!

Stress caused you to go back to your old habits.

Today, think about the stressful situations that could cause you to slip back into old bad habits.

Pre-empt the possibilities so you aren’t blindsided. Realise that you are human and brute force isn’t enough to stop us from slipping back into old habits. Spot the stress before it happens and get yourself out of the situation. Better to miss a trade than fall back into a bad habit you know is stopping you from moving forward.

The Stressed Brain

To read a more detailed look at this check out this article: “Why the stressed brain falls back on old habits

“Habits demand less cognitive effort, and thus become our default mode of behavior when stressed.”

Aha! I knew it!

Until tomorrow…