Today in the Master the Trade follow-up webinar we discussed starting new habits regarding eating and exercise.  This brought to the forefront the war that has been raging in my head, but let me give you some background information.  We just came out of “the most wonderful time of the year”.  A wonderful season of giving to others and receiving gifts, of too much really good food of which we generally overindulge — counting on the new year of new beginnings, as a time to draw a line in the sand and become a rock of will power.

I recall years ago when I was a regular at the gym, how much I hated the new year because, for the first few weeks to month of the new year, people would flock to the gym to work out and transform their gut paunch into rock hard abs.  However, having experienced many new years at the gym, I knew that soon the crowd would fade and us regulars could get back to normal and that a small handful of the newbies would successfully make the transition to regulars.  How does this relate to trading you might ask and the war raging in my head?

Well, before the holidays I was in a place where I was moving forward taking trade, good trades, following my trading plan and making money.  Then I noticed the last 2 weeks while still engaged in watching and trading the markets old habits and beliefs started to show up.  I found myself wanting to take poor trades or, for me, no trades.  I was finding reasons that every trade was a bad trade, or maybe you can relate  to this one, finding reasons to be busy with things other than trading when trades were drawing near.  After all, there are always more trades coming — this is neutral in the scheme of things but to take a trade and lose is a define negative.

So what in the world is going on!!!  Well, I’m no psychologist, shrink or even a counselor but what I can tell you is my take on this whole ordeal.

Prior to the holidays, I’m operating in self discipline and planning.  But, during the holidays, I allowed my self discipline to take a vacation.  Now, don’t take me wrong, vacations are wonderful, needed and valuable.   However, I let this little mental vacation come smack dab in the middle of my developing new habits of how to think and react in my trading world.  And all of the sudden I reverted right back to my old thinking ways or as I like to call it my “stinkin thinkin”.

I did a Google search on how long it takes to form a new habit and the answer was 21 days to 3 or 4 months.  Personally my experience is closer to the 3 months than the 21 days.  Especially when the habit change involves how we view, function and interact with life — important processes, such as making a living.

Maybe some of you out there are finding yourself in the same situation.  In a place of needing to re-establish self control and mindfulness after this break.  My question is:

Does this mean I must start over on the 2 to 3 months to effect change?

I don’t know.  But, this I do know.   I’m a professional trader.  I am committed to staying the course regardless of how long it takes to achieve these new habits and thought patterns.  And, I’m sure you are also!  I am looking forward to getting these new processes integrated into me.  I’m also thankful for the new revelation that this integration process can be interrupted and also restarted because by next Christmas I expect my current challenge to be integrated into a positive habit and to be working toward  another positive and profitable habit, and more likely than not that integration process will be interrupted.  Knowing is power so knowing the process can be interrupted is powerful BUT knowing it can be restarted is priceless!!