timothy sykes logo

Trading Psychology

5 Ways To Keep Your Cool & Stay Disciplined

Timothy SykesAvatar
Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 12/28/2023 9 min read

Sometimes you’re going to misjudge things…

You think you’re in an A+ setup but before you can blink you’re already hitting out for a loss…

You can let this get to you, and it has for me several times throughout my career…

Or you can learn how to contain your mistakes and stay disciplined. 

Because in this game, it’s not how much you make that matters, it’s how much you keep.

Discover the 5 ways I keep my cool and stay disciplined. 

Monday Was Shaky For Me

On Monday I traded the ticker symbol IINN a whopping four times. 

Not only did I over-trade it, I ended up losing money it. 

There’s no other way to say it but I lost my discipline. 

You can read about the trades from my journal right here:

Trade 1

Trade 2

Trade 3

Trade 4

Luckily I had a solid trade from my weekend trade in RKLB that kind of saved my day. 

But I know how frustrating that is as a trader. You take one or two good trades that make 100% sense…then you take one or two sub-optimal setups and give up your gains. 

Instead of sitting on profits, your discipline has you sitting flat or even at a loss. 

So how do we get a hold of this before it becomes account threatening?

#1: Study Hard

Post image

Get my weekly watchlist, free

Sign up to jump start your trading education!

Former NFL legend Tom Brady was notorious for his preparation. It was reported that he would watch 40 hours of film a week. 

As a trader you want to be aware of:

  • The latest market trends/catalysts
  • When the best opportunities lie
  • The type of stocks making moves
  • What setups are working best in this market
  • Where am I finding success and failure
  • The market sentiment

While the market can be unpredictable, you still want to know where your strengths and weaknesses are…

In addition, what setups provide you the best chance to win. 

When you’re trading…you’re playing the odds. 

That’s why it’s critical you avoid low probability setups. 

#2: Speak Up

Short sellers have been stinking the bed this year…

But you rarely hear about it. 


Because many of them hide their big losses. 

It’s easy to hide losses when no one sees them. 

That’s why you should never trust them. 

On the other hand, I believe in full transparency. 

I show all my wins and losses. Regardless of how big or small they are. 

I call out my trades to my students as well. 

This helps me stay honest. If I tell them I am getting in at X level, with a profit target of X% and a stop level at X%…it helps me follow through. 

Now, I’m not saying you need to be an open book like me. 

But if you’re a trader who struggles to keep their word then maybe sharing your trade ideas can be helpful. Even if you do it anonymously in a chat room. 

#3: Don’t Be A Slave To The Screen

Put me in front of the screen all day and I’ll likely over-trade. 

I can’t help myself. 

But that’s why I purposely get away from my screen during certain times of the trading day.

Day trading penny stocks can be stressful and emotional, especially when stocks are squeezing like they are now. 

Some techniques that can help while you are in front of the screen are deep breathing exercises. 

Also, make it a routine to get up, walk around, stretch, and eat. 

This can help prevent impulsive decisions driven by fear and greed.

#4: Keep a Trading Journal

+20 years in the game…

And I’m still penciling in all my trades. 

You’ll be shocked at how much better you trade when you start recording your trades, including the strategy used, the catalyst, and any emotional or psychological factors that influenced your decisions. 

If you’d like to see how I’ve been journaling throughout the years, you see my journal here.

#5: Stay Risk Averse

We’re in a super weird market right now. 

The worst stocks are offering the best plays. 

The worst news is creating the craziest squeezes. 

And the worst breakdowns are creating incredible dip buying opportunities. 

Not only are these stocks moving quickly…they’re often unpredictable. 

That’s why you must focus on your risk management. 

Most importantly cutting losses. 

Always be aware of how much you are willing to risk on each trade. And don’t let your ego interfere with you taking a loss. 

These short sellers are winning 5-6 trades in a row and then getting destroyed on the next trade, wiping out all their gains and more. 

Never trade a strategy you can’t manage risk on.

🌟Are You Ready to Master the Art of Cool & Disciplined Trading? 🌟

In the ever-twisting saga of the stock market, it’s not just about the gains – it’s about what you keep.

 Like my rocky Monday with IINN or the surprising save with RKLB, trading is a rollercoaster. 🎢

🚀 Join my team in our exclusive live training sessions.

🔥 Learn how to stay disciplined, even when the market throws curveballs.

🔥 Get insights into my personal journaling techniques and risk management strategies.

🔥 Discover why it’s crucial to take breaks, speak up, and avoid being a screen slave.

It’s a treacherous market out there – weird, wild, and full of unexpected turns. 📉📈

But fear not! With the right approach, you can navigate these choppy waters. 

Don’t let a bad day or a tough week derail your trading journey.

👁‍🗨 Witness firsthand how I tackle the market’s unpredictability.

Are you prepared to rise above the chaos? 

Ready to transform your trading strategy from reactive to proactive? 

Your guide to disciplined, profitable trading is just a click away.


How much has this post helped you?

Leave a reply

Author card Timothy Sykes picture

Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”