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6 Tips For Replacing Bad Habits With Good Habits

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/12/2023 7 min read

Bad habits can be a tricky thing. Everyone has them, but few have the self awareness to identify them. Fewer still have what it takes to banish them…and once you banish them, you can really move forward faster as that’s what I want — more Millionaire Trading Challenge students moving forward with their account value and their own knowledge base too.

To be my next self-sufficient trading challenge student and to truly be successful, you really have to be meticulous with everything in your life, from your habits to your friends, to the websites you use…for example, in trading choosing the right broker matters A LOT as I explain in this new video lesson:

And when you begin analyzing yourself, I challenge my students in the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge to break free from their bad habits, because there is so much to gain by replacing them with good ones, just like going with the best brokers I outline here.

Below I detail six simple tips for not only busting bad habits, but replacing them with millionaire habits that will increase your odds of success and lasting wealth over time..

1. Identify the bad habits. As you might have guessed, the first step to eradicating bad habits is identifying them so you can weed them out. This can be easier said than done, as many of us tend to be in a state of denial about our bad habits, but as the saying goes, “once you see the mess, you can clean up the mess”.

So, go ahead and take an inventory of the habits you currently have…and I’m talking about ALL of them, good, bad, and in-between.

Can you easily see the ones that are holding you back? Take the time to dive deep and be honest with yourself about the bad habits that are holding you back, be it checking social media too much or being lazy and waking up late all the time.

2. Figure out the underlying cause. Once you’ve identified your bad habits, it’s important to dig a little deeper to figure out the underlying cause. Say, for instance, that you procrastinate. That’s undeniably a bad habit, but simply recognizing that isn’t going to stop it. It’s recognizing what causes you to procrastinate that will help you make progress.

With procrastination, for example, a common cause is fear of rejection or failure. You’re scared that when you complete something, it will be found lacking or not good enough. Therefore, you put off finishing it because that puts off the rejection or negative feedback that scares you. By learning how to develop coping mechanisms for rejection or dealing with failure, you’ll be able to banish that bad habit.

3. Know the triggers. In addition to figuring out the underlying cause, it’s helpful to know what triggers your bad behavior. For example, are you more likely to fall back into old habits when you haven’t had enough sleep, or haven’t eaten adequately? Or do you tend to make bad choices after you’ve had an argument with a loved one?

Knowing what can trigger bad habits can help you avoid them. For example, if you know that you never have successful trades if you haven’t eaten, for crying out loud, make it a point to wake up earlier and eat breakfast. Sometimes, little things like this can make an enormous difference.

4. Choose a habit to put in its place. When you banish a bad habit, you’ll be surprised how much space is left in its absence. To discourage another equally bad habit from forming in its place, make a conscious decision to replace it with a good habit.

For example, say you have a bad habit of wasting time on Facebook or scrolling through Instagram. You’ve identified that it’s a bad habit. You’re aware that you indulge when you’re bored and you’ve taken the proactive step of setting a timer and devoting a smaller amount of time as your social media binge time. This is great, but what are you going to do with the time you were wasting?

Establishing a new habit, like reading the financial pages, browsing the world news, or poring over my millionaire student success stories, can help you fill in that void in a constructive way so that you’re not just losing a bad habit but building a good one.

5. Get a mentor. I talk about the benefits of having a mentor a lot with the members of the Tim Sykes Million Challenge Team. This is with good reason: a mentor can offer so many positive rewards to not only your trading, but your life as well. Your mentor has been around the block a few more times than you, and they’ve experienced what you’re going through as a trader. Learning from their experiences can help you avoid many mistakes.

A mentor can also offer personal advice when it comes to bad habits. Many bad habits, like procrastination, lack of focus, not setting goals, etc, are common in the trading world. If you run your bad habits by a mentor, chances are they can give you advice from their own experience, including anecdotal advice about how they overcame their bad habits.

Utilize your mentor to learn about both practical and personal aspects of being a trader, and to stay committed to your goals.

6. See the benefits of your good habits. If there is one thing that can really seal the deal of ditching bad habits, it’s seeing the positive effects of good habits.

Here’s an easy one: the matter of when you wake up. Say one of your bad habits is waking up late. If you’re waking up minutes before (or even after) the market bell rings, you’re behind the game. Chances are, the entire day is a game of catch-up, and you’re not making your best and most well thought out decisions.

If you begin waking up early, you’ll begin to see a world of benefits. Obviously, you’ll have more time in the morning. Obviously, you’ll have more time to prepare for trading. But you’ll also enjoy personal benefits, too. You’ll be able to take time to eat breakfast, spend time with family or friends, check your email, etc. This added time has the cumulative effect of making you happier, more relaxed, and more prepared. Undoubtedly you’ll see an improvement in your trading as a result.

Your bad habits could be preventing you from attaining the success you deserve. By following these tips and taking the time and effort required to eradicate your bad habits and replace them with good ones, you will see a world of benefits. Not only can your trading improve, but possibly your entire outlook on life. See for yourself the doors that open when you banish bad habits.

Leave a comment below and tell me the bad habits do you want to remove from your life…and be honest with yourself, and with me, as honesty is key to your success in the long run!


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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

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* 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 (205) 851-0506 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”