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6 Routines of Highly Successful Traders

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 6/13/2023 6 min read

My most successful Trading Challenge students and I have a daily routine and that makes this game not just profitable, but also efficient and fun. So, you made be asking what are successful traders doing that you’re not? The short answer is this: nothing that you can’t be doing, you just need some guidance!

Successful traders frequently follow similar routines day in day out and we adapt it to our own schedule/preferences. While these routines aren’t the total sum of our success, they certainly offer a good start toward becoming a millionaire. So take the time to review these six routines that successful traders like my top Millionaire Trading Challenge students and I follow, and see how adding them to your own life can help you out big time!

1. Planning out your day. How many successful traders do you know who roll out of bed at 11, enjoy a leisurely brunch, make a few trades, and earn millions? That sure would be nice, but there’s a reason why successful traders don’t have laziness as part of their lives.

Time is money, and traders know this. The best traders I know make a habit of waking up early, and the gears in our minds are already warmed up well before the market bell rings at 9:30am EST.

Waking up early is only the tip of the iceberg, though. Simply being awake isn’t what makes a trader successful, it’s what he or she does with that time. When getting an early start, you have the opportunity to plan out your day. This means that you can spend a little time researching what’s going on the market and even carve out time for some of the other routines listed in this post. It also allows you to get certain routines out of the way. I’m talking about the ones that have nothing to do with trading: your morning workout, running errands, grocery shopping, whatever it is that you need to do. Making a habit and routine of planning out your day so that you have uninterrupted time for trading is a hallmark of successful traders.

2. Gathering knowledge. Knowledge is power, haven’t you heard? For traders, this is especially true. It should go without being said that educating yourself on the stock market is a vital part of your success. Signing up for the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge and immersing yourself in the world of penny stocks is important. But in the scheme of things, it’s not enough.

To be a well-rounded trader, you need to become educated beyond just the stock market. You need to learn about economics, about world events and about how business works. The more you learn about the world and business, the stronger your trading will be. You’ll be better able to understand what goes on in the companies you’re trading, and this can inform better how you choose stocks, and when you choose to trade.

So beyond just signing up to be part of the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge Team, make a routine of learning. Read the news, listen to podcasts, educate yourself.

3. Taking time for research. Research is a regular part of every trader’s routine. The fact is, you probably wouldn’t even buy socks from Amazon without reading the customer reviews. With that in mind, why on earth would you purchase stocks without doing a little undercover work before pulling the trigger?

Don’t simply trust the word of self-serving stock promoters. Have enough of a brain to think for yourself, and develop the awareness to research stocks on your own. Often, a small amount of research can be very revealing. Making this a routine can easily bring your potential trades from the reckless arena to calculated risk territory.

Good traders know that it takes time to do research, but that it is an invaluable routine if they want to be successful in the long term.

4. Studying other successful traders. If you want to become successful, it’s a common enough thing to follow the trajectory of other successful people. Great traders know this, so they make studying successful traders part of their routine…that’s part of the beauty of my Millionaire Trading Challenge, where all my top students and I share our trades/strategies openly for everyone to learn from!

It’s a great habit to get into to set aside time to look at what other traders are doing right so that you can consider how to bring that type of success into your own career. Far from a tip solely for new traders, this is something that well-established traders continue to do well into their career.

If someone else is doing something well, let it inspire you! Don’t copy, but let it inform and give you ideas for how to improve your own trading and career.

5. Checking in with ourselves. Good bosses have regular check-ins with their employees. As a trader, you are largely your own boss. Follow the trend of positive leaders by having frequent (and honest) check-ins with your key employee…yourself. Evaluate how things are going with your trading career, including taking a look at recent successes and failures. Ask yourself frankly: what are you doing right? And (this is harder) what are you doing wrong, or could you be doing better?

This isn’t necessarily a fun or easy exercise, but there is a lot of value in it. Being honest with yourself about your strengths and shortcomings is an opportunity to improve your overall success rate. You will be able to play to your strengths, and either avoid or work on improving your weak points.

6. Signing off for the day. I’m not going to lie: in this day and age, with so much information and technology at our fingertips, this routine is hard. There’s always more research to do, more to learn, more to discover. But if you work too hard, you’ll just be spinning your wheels after a while. As such, the best traders make a routine of taking breaks…all of my top millionaire trading challenge students and I LOVE taking time off every now and then to travel and our profits allow for some luxury travel too 🙂

But have a ritual or routine centered around signing off for the day. You can’t work all the time, otherwise, you’ll start to resent and hate it. By recognizing the importance of rest time, you aren’t being lazy, but rather, you are investing in your own future success.

Will these six routines make you a millionaire? No, not by themselves. But if you dedicate yourself to your work as a trader and add these routines to your repertoire in addition, you will see amazing results. Just try it for a few months and see for yourself.

Leave a comment with a routine that you think will work best for you, remember we’re all different so everyone’s answer should be different too!


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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”