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These 17 Habits Made Me a Millionaire

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/9/2023 11 min read

I love writing these blogs, and I love using social media to reach out to all my students. But you know what I hate to see? Just about every time I put something new up, I get a comment like this, “Tim, I want to be a millionaire like you, but there’s no way I could do what you do.”

Listen. There’s nothing special about me or my several millionaire trading challenge students. We’re not super smart, or great at math and we didn’t grow up rich. You want to know what the big difference is?

Our habits.

What you get out of and achieve in life is the direct result of how you spend your days. Eat crappy food and spend all day on the couch? You’re probably going to wind up fat. Blow all your money gambling or buying shit you don’t need? Don’t be surprised when you end up broke. You are the cumulative effect of your habits.

If that sounds depressing, it shouldn’t be. Because the real secret is that, if you don’t like where your life is right now, it’s not because you’re somehow worth less than the people who have what you want. They just have different habits, and habits can be changed. If you want to be rich, all you have to do is shift your daily habits to the actions and behaviors that can help make you more successful.

Here’s how to get started:

Habit #1 – Wake up early

I know. You’re not a morning person. The last thing you want to do is set your alarm clock even earlier than you already do. But if you’re serious about success, you have to be willing to do what millionaires do – and that’s get up early.

Right now, I don’t have a choice. I’m working 16-hour days getting my new DVD out and launching my trading platform – and you can’t work 16-hour days if you start at noon. You might not have a choice either if you’re trying to work your trading around a day job.

All I’m asking is that you give it a try. Get up early for a week, and use that extra time to improve yourself in some way, whether that’s reading, studying, networking or something else. If, after a week, you really haven’t seen a difference, you have my permission to go back to your status quo.

Habit #2 – Read

The rich know that you should never stop learning. If you want to become better at trading penny stocks, read trader biographies. Read the financial news. Read books on technical analysis and any other aspects of trading you can find.

Supplement your reading with my DVDs and with studying stock charts, but if you really want to get ahead, set aside at least 15-20 minutes a day for actual eyeballs-on-paper reading.

Habit #3 – Set a budget

This one is so unsexy, I almost have to apologize for it. You probably opened this blog post thinking I was going to tell you about how one can become rich by taking big, daring risks – going big, and then going home rich. Sure, there’s some of that, and we’ll get to that later. But for now, what I want you to know is that having a budget (and actually sticking to it) is one of the most common habits shared by the millionaires authors Thomas Stanley and William Danko studied for their popular book, The Millionaire Next Door

Want to be like a rich person? Then do what the rich people do – and what they do is budget.

Habit #4 – Track your spending

So now, how do you think you’re going to set and stick with a budget if you don’t know where your money is going?

I’m at a point in my life where I don’t have to do this. Honestly, it would be pretty tough for me to spend more in a day than I’m earning through my different companies (and if you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you know that that’s not for a lack of trying).

When you get rich like me, you can give up this habit too. But for now? Track every dollar that leaves your wallet and where it goes. Spend time with your money. Get to know your spending habits and patterns. If you can’t manage your money while you’re poor, getting rich won’t solve your problems.

Habit #5 – Watch the small costs

As a special note for traders, pay special attention to little costs. Things like a $19.95 per month subscription to a chatroom or a $39.95 per month research tool seem small, but they add up. Pick one option and stick with it.

Habit #6 – Pay yourself first

While you’re setting your budget? Make sure some of your income (most experts recommend 5-20%) is going to savings. Again, this isn’t sexy stuff, but remember that trades go bad. You might lose your job. Having savings in place is what’ll let you bounce back.

Habit #7 – Prioritize your schedule

This one really kills me. I hear from so many people who want to be rich, but tell me that they don’t have the time to learn. And do you know where you’d find them every night? Sitting on the couch, watching TV, gaming or wasting time on the internet.

Down time is important, but be real with yourself. I bet you can free up a few hours to study if you really tried.

Habit #8 – Find a mentor

If I’d had a teacher when I first started trading penny stocks, I bet I could have become a millionaire in half the time (and saved myself a ton of unnecessary losses at the same time).

Don’t be that guy.

If you’re serious about becoming a millionaire, find somebody who’s done what you want to do and then learn from them. If you want to trade penny stocks, join my millionaire challenge program. If you want to learn how to be successful with Instagram, go learn from Anthony Carbone.

Whatever you want to do, there’s someone out there who can give you a leg up.ear

Habit #9 – Get comfortable with risk

It’s kind of a no-brainer to say that there’s risk involved in trading and buying penny stocks. But there’s risk involved in improving yourself in pretty much any kind of way.

Want to start a company? There’s a (big) risk it’ll fail.

Planning to get rich by climbing the corporate ladder? There’s always a risk it’ll close or you’ll be laid off.

Life is risky – you can’t avoid it. But you can make sure you’re taking calculated risks and that you’re smart about doing so. Just remember, the rewards you get in life are generally proportional to the risks you take.

Habit #10 – Define your success

This is a big one. The rich don’t just want to be “rich.” They have specific goals they’re working towards, whether that’s a certain net worth, an exact annual income or having enough money to take a luxury vacation, buy a sports car or do something else.

You need to know what success means to you if you’re going to achieve it.

Habit #11 – Set clear goals

Once you have your own definition of success, you need clear goals to back it up.

Want to have a net worth of $1 million? Make a plan to get there. If you’re starting with a portfolio of $1,000, how many trades do you need to make if you’re averaging 20-40% growth on each trade and winning 75% of your trades? When do you plan to hit specific milestones, like $25,000, $100,000 or $500,000?

Be detailed. Make it real. The clearer your plan is, the easier it’ll be to follow.

Habit #12 – Visualize results

Have some fun with this one. Once you’ve set your financial goals, invest some serious time visualizing what it’ll be like to achieve them. Imagine where you’ll travel, what you’ll buy, or how you’ll give back.

Trust me. You’re going to have bad days. Having this vision at the front of your mind is what’ll help you get through.

Habit #13 – Stop fearing failure

Guess what? I’ve been trading for nearly two decades, and I still fail all the time. I make dumb mistakes. I do things I know I shouldn’t.

You’re going to do the same.

Quit getting your ego wrapped up in your failures. Accept them, and then move on. The more you do, the less you’ll have to fear from failure – and the less it’ll hold you back.

Habit #14 – Spend time with millionaires

I heard somewhere that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. So let me ask you, do the people in your life help you or hold you back?

If you want to become a millionaire, go find one to spend time with. Hell, find five of them. Watch what they do and emulate their habits. If you’re perceptive, you’ll learn more this way than you ever would in a few years at business school. That’s why I’m SO proud that my first few millionaire trading challenge now help me mentoring other trading challenge students too, we have a VERY powerful community!

Habit #15 – Stay healthy

This is another quote I have to share, from this great writer: “You can’t get rich from a hospital bed. Or a grave.”

Believe me, I get how hard it can be not to compromise your health for your other goals. Sitting in front of four computer monitors watching charts and trading platforms for hours on end isn’t exactly healthy, especially if you pair it with bad food and too much beer.

penny stock checklist

You only get one body, and one shot at keeping it healthy. Make the decisions you need to to stay healthy, or that one show will be taken away from you.

Habit #16 – Love the process

Let’s say you set your net worth goal for $1 million. What happens when you hit that number? Some of my students have achieved that in just a few years – so are you just going to give up when it happens to you?

The thing is, money itself shouldn’t be your goal. You have to love the process. You have to love stock trading, business building or whatever path you’re taking enough that it alone is enough for you. If all you’re working towards is an end result, your motivation is going to dry up as soon as you hit a rough patch.

Habit #17 – Stop making excuses

Finally, millionaires don’t make excuses. When they encounter a problem, they find ways around it – they don’t just give up because they hit a roadblock.

I could make a thousand excuses every day. I could complain about being too tired, or that my long hours sometimes keep me away from my fiancee and my family. I’m sure you’ve got your own list of woes. Giving in to them is comfortable, but comfortable won’t turn you into a millionaire. Getting over yourself, identifying excuses when you want to make them, and then kicking them to the curb instead will.

So now, I want to hear from you. Which of these habits will you commit to changing today as you become a millionaire? Leave me a comment below…

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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

* 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”