One of the most common mistakes I often see people making is forcing trades. No matter how tempting it may be, how bored you are, or how much fear you have that you are missing out by not trading, it is essential that you never try to force any type of trade in any type of market.
One of the main keys to trading is patience. While it may not seem exciting or glamorous, patience is one of the most important tools you can have as a trader. You need to have the control and the discipline to wait for a quality set up according to your individual strategy. It may take a while but it is always worth taking the time to be patient. After all, you develop a trading strategy so you have guidelines to stick to, abandoning that strategy can only put you at risk.
I always like to use a football analogy here to explain the dangers of forcing trades. When a quarterback has the ball and sees a receiver with double or triple coverage, he shouldn't throw to them. Is the receiver technically available? Yes. He is on the field and capable of catching a pass. However, throwing to this receiver would be forcing a play and it will likely lead to an interception. Instead a good quarterback will simply throw the ball away or give it to someone else and wait until he knows that his receiver is wide open. Just like a quarterback under pressure, you need to be able to see the difference between forcing something that really isn't a smart option and playing it safe.
Any successful trader will tell you that one of the most important things to remember with trading is that you should never let your emotions control you. You need to be able to leave your emotions at the door before you make any trading decisions. Forcing trades is a way of acting emotionally and impatiently and it can lead you down a slippery slope of continuing to act this way in the following trades.
Many find that if they force one trade that doesn't work that they need to keep forcing other trades as a way to miraculously make up for their losses. On the other hand, there are also many traders who force trades, get a lucky outcome and who think they can continue to force trades with no consequences. Unfortunately, in the end, you will end up losing if you start making trade forcing a habit.
I have a motto "Quality Over Quantity". I would rather have fewer trades that are quality and fit my strategy instead of many trades of lower quality because I am bored. If the market is slow or there are not quality set-ups, I will research and make lists of stocks to watch, but I will not force trades out of boredom.
This is why discipline is such an important part of successful trading. You don't go into work every day and try a new approach to doing your job. This is a surefire way of getting fired. You come in, do what you are supposed to and follow the rules the same way every day. Consistency is key.
If you remember to keep this consistency, practice discipline, stick to your own game plan and of course, keep emotions out of the equation, you are only setting yourself up for success with your trades.