It was the summer of 2017…

I opened my eyes… And for a moment, I didn’t know where I was.

As I slowly gathered my senses, I looked down and realized I was lying in a hospital bed.

My last clear memory was of the U.S. dollar being in free-fall…

I was sizing up a position to short the dollar against the Japanese yen. It was going to be a big trade, with the upside being hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential profits.

All I had to do was push a few buttons, wait a few days, and collect my money.

And I was 100% right on how the trade would have played out. Unfortunately, I never did end up placing my orders…

Instead, paramedics found me barely conscious at my trading desk. As it turns out, I had suffered from a series of poor decisions that almost led to a heart attack.

Over the span of the last 90 hours, I hadn’t slept at all. And the only things fueling my body were Red Bull, coffee, and a potent prescription stimulant to stay awake.

The sheer exhaustion coupled with an overload of my central nervous system was enough for my brain to say… no more.

Like a computer that was dangerously overheating, I needed a reset. But first, I had to admit I was a workaholic…

I was addicted to trading.

How “Radical Simplification” Changed My Trading Approach

I was living my life around trading instead of trading around my life. It was a much-needed wake-up call to make some serious changes.

I decided to undergo what I call “radical simplification.” This is a philosophy that continues to underpin my approach to the markets today.

Simplifying my trading meant getting rid of anything that wasn’t directly helping me make money.

Instead of having six monitors, I kept two.

I used to be in about a dozen different chat rooms. I left all of them.

I was paying hundreds of dollars a month for various research services and data feeds. I unsubscribed.

In the end, I was left with a couple of monitors, a free economic calendar that let me know when the most important reports were released, my brokerage platforms, and my price charts.

And instead of day trading, I decided to focus on swing trading instead. I went from averaging several trades a day to just one or two trades a week.

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Soon after, my trading improved dramatically.

I was winning more of my trades – and because I was focusing on quality over quantity, the size of my average profits went up considerably.

I was worried that my clients would be upset that I was working less hours. But they didn’t notice at all.

All they cared about were their returns. How I generated them was completely up to me.

The most important outcome, however, was the positive change on my mental and physical health…

I had my life back again.

Successful Trading Starts With Healthy Habits

My experience taught me that we shouldn’t let trading rule over our lives.

Here are a few takeaways…

  1. Good health equals good trading. If you aren’t sleeping, eating, and moving well, your trading performance will suffer. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting exercise throughout the week.

  2. The simpler you can make your trading, the better. For me, that meant reducing the number of trades I was taking, as well as eliminating technology and subscription services that weren’t truly helping me make money.

  3. There’s always another trade. I was frustrated about missing the dollar trade I mentioned earlier. But after I got home from the hospital, it wasn’t long before another great opportunity appeared.

    That’s the beauty of being a trader… The markets are always moving. There’s always going to be another excellent trade. Patience pays.

If you’re guilty of the same trading sins I’ve committed, now’s the time to start developing healthier habits.

Evaluate what’s working for you – and against you. The key is to have control over your trading… and not let it control you.

Happy (and healthy) trading,

Imre Gams
Analyst, Market Minute

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