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How to Deal with a Trading Slump

Jeff BishopJeff Bishop ·

I’m in a grumpy mood lately.

August was one of the worst trading months for me in a long, long time.  While the trading with my core stock alert service, TopStockPicks.com was decent, my personal accounts I have lost about $100,000 in just August alone!

I’m not telling you this to get your sympathy. In fact, I know most people are secretly happy when a high-profile guy loses that kind of money.

The reason I’m sharing this to let you know that it happens all the time with trading.  No matter how long you’ve been in the game, you are going to hit a slump.  The bigger your account, the bigger your losses will be when that slump comes.

I’ve found less-experienced traders will stress out and try to OVER TRADE in hope that they can magically reverse course if they just trade more.

Let me tell you — that is a terrible idea.  That is how you blow up your trading account.

What you need to do (myself included) is to sit back and be patient. Go over your trades from the last few months to see what worked (if anything worked at all!) and especially what DIDN’T work.  Spend some time on each trade and try to figure out where you went wrong.

It’s always easy to say “The market is irrational, I am right, the market is wrong!”

Well, the market never lies.  It is never wrong.  It is the truth.

If your trading is in the dumps, then take responsibility. It is YOU (in this case, ME) who needs figure out why you’re missing the mark.  

There’s nothing wrong with taking some time off to clear your head, in fact you need to do this.

Go back to trading smaller position sizes. You don’t (and won’t) make back all your trading losses in a week.  Gains are made slowly, but losses come much faster than you ever expect.  

The first thing to do is stop the bleeding. Control the things you can control, and that starts with losses.

You CAN control is how much you lose. Start by keeping that to a minimum.  Discipline yourself with tight stops and guard what’s left of your account like it is the last money you’ll ever have. Don’t let anyone take it from you.

Here’s the other side of the coin.  On the rare occasion you get a profit… take it!

I’ve seen too many traders who want to “hit the homerun” on the next few trades.  They feel that if they can just pull a few huge wins, then they will be back where they wanted to be in a week.  

That is just wrong thinking. You are not going to reverse a lot of bad decisions with a few “lucky” ones.

When you’re in a slump, you feel like you forgot how to hunt. You are a lion, and you gotta eat.  Go out there and take some quick profits when you can just to get your confidence up.

When you are feeling better about your decisions, you are going to make better trades.  Take smaller shots and take some quick profits.  Get back on the board with some wins and you’ll begin to reclaim that swagger you need to make the bigger trades again.

Maybe this doesn’t apply to you today… but it will one day.  

File this post away.  Bring it out the next time you find yourself in a slump.  Remind yourself that YOU CAN DO THIS!   

Because you know what?  YOU CAN, and you WILL!

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