The end of 2021 is rapidly approaching. For those like me and most people I speak to, each year seems to go by incredibly fast. A year ago, I remember writing in November about the uncertainty surrounding the post-election saga in the United States as well as the global COVID-19 pandemic. What a difference a year makes.
7 Things To Consider…
In this article, I will offer some guidance for approaching the end of this year. Several factors become relevant to us all, regardless of our trading expertise or level of success. These items will be more or less relevant depending on your situation, so take these and adapt them to suit your individual needs.
Set Realistic Goals
This piece of guidance is motivated by personal experience. In the final weeks of the year, I’ve seen traders attempt to turn a losing year into a winner, or a mediocre year into a BIG winner. This is a recipe for disaster. The final weeks often present a slower trade cycle with fewer opportunities.
Furthermore, in the few remaining weeks of the year, it’s hard to undo what was already set in motion in the previous weeks. Therefore, it’s good to set realistic goals for the end of the year. Believe me, nothing feels worse than turning a mediocre year into a loser because you take on unnecessary risk, or even worse, turning a losing year into bankruptcy because you thought you could work a short-term miracle.
Generate Momentum for 2022
Regardless of success or failure in 2021, one goal that any trader can potentially achieve is creating positive momentum for the upcoming year. Yes, as discussed above, it’s likely too late for most traders to think of a complete turnaround for 2021; but 2022 is wide open.
One of the most favorable things you can do for yourself in the last weeks of this year is to reach your maximum reasonable potential, using your realistic goals. This kind of momentum creates a feeling of confidence going into a new year. Psychology is such an integral part of trading, and there is a stark distinction between confidence and overconfidence.
While past performance does not guarantee future results, when traders develop a healthy amount of confidence rooted in previous success, a proven method, and consistent rules, they are more likely to succeed in the upcoming year than overconfident or scared traders.
Trades Won’t Always Be Available
Although the final weeks of the year still offer some opportunities, this time of year usually amounts to reduced opportunity compared with earlier in the year. It’s important to remember that these seven weeks are a less likely time for you to find your best trades. Markets of all asset classes tend to slow down. However, portfolio rebalancing at the end of the year will still generate a lot of activity.
Take Time and Relax
Taking time off to relax is one way to take advantage of fewer trading opportunities. If you plan to reach your maximum potential in 2022, it’s best not to wear yourself out in the final weeks of 2021.
For many of us worldwide, various religious and cultural holidays are observed during this time. Even if we are not religious, we can take advantage of the time off as many markets close and spend time with our loved ones who may also have a holiday from work. Mental and emotional health are vitally important to a trader’s longevity, and in some cases, that means knowing when to step away.
There is no better time to take inventory of yourself than at the end of the year. This principle translates into various facets of life, including personal finances, relationships, and physical, mental, and emotional health. However, in the trading context, this is an opportune time to examine 2021 and see where you stand in relation to your goals. Furthermore, assessing yourself with critical questions that include why you may not have met these goals is paramount on the path to self-improvement.
Keeping a journal with a record of your daily experiences will provide an excellent resource for synthesizing your experiences over the past year and detecting areas you need to enhance and cultivate. However, suppose you didn’t keep a journal. In that case, you can still go back through your trades and analyze your performance in your preferred markets according to times of day, duration of holds, and other criteria to determine what worked best and least for you in 2021.
Set Good Goals for 2022
We often refer to “New Year’s resolutions.” going into January, we prepare personal and professional goals for ourselves. However, studies show that most of these resolutions have already failed by the time the calendar rolls into February. Thus, for a trader to be one of the few that enjoys successful longevity, the discipline to stick toward goals is mandatory.
Once you have self-inventoried your performance in 2021, you will be in a better position to assess your goals for 2022. For some traders, the goal may come in the form of a profit statement. Others may determine to be more disciplined, while still others may decide to branch into new markets. Whatever your goals, make sure they are informed and reasonable.
Furthermore, be sure you have mapped out a course of action to progress toward your goals and make sure you have a plan to compensate when it’s more challenging to be motivated.
Embrace The New Opportunity
I’ve touched on various factors that can guide traders to make choices to create a better 2022. However, I’ve yet to mention; one key function is for traders to embrace the new year as a new opportunity. Yes, I get it; it’s cliche; and for some, you are content to maintain the status quo. If that’s you, then I celebrate your contentment.
For others, though, changes are necessary, and it’s important to get motivated about the prospects for new opportunities. This outlook ties into generating motivation for the new year. While a change in patterns and behavior can occur at any time, the new year is an ideal occasion to reinvent our behavior. For those looking for continued improvement, I say, embrace the possibilities of the new year.
These are seven areas to consider in the final weeks of trading this year. Each of these elements may have relevance to you. At this point, you can reflect on the context and choose to expound on what applies to you. Here’s to hoping for the best for the rest of 2021 and the most hopeful prospects for the upcoming year. Until next time, trade well!