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Trading Psychology

4 Things to Watch in 2021 – Part 1: Mindset Matters

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 12/17/2020 14 min read

It’s that time again … Everyone wants predictions for 2021. They want to know what stocks I’m watching, what sector will be hot, or what patterns I think will be in play. That’s the wrong mindset, and mindset matters. 

This year is different…

The future is difficult to estimate or predict. We can always look forward to the vaccine and the pandemic ending. We can hope everything will get back to normal…

But the reality is, that’s all probably already priced in to the market. The U.S. stock market bounced a ton off its lows and the dollar is falling.

Plus, in many ways, what I’m watching in 2021 are the same things I watched in 2020. And it will most likely be the same in 2022, 2023, and 2024. I’ve been doing this for 20+ years, and it’s the same patterns again and again.

So for 2021, I’m doing this a different way…

I want to create more millionaire students. For that to happen, everyone reading this — and as many students as possible — needs a mindset shift.

The cold, harsh reality is that most traders lose money. So it’s time for a little tough love.

I refuse to just go along with the crowd for clicks or because it’s popular.

Right now, every financial website, so-called guru, and pundit will do it … They’ll publish their list of hot sectors, stocks, and patterns to watch.

You’re gonna see headlines like this…

5 Biotech Stocks to Watch in 2021


4 Hot OTC Stocks to Buy in 2021


10 Sizzlin’ Hot Penny Stocks for 2021


3 Stocks Under $2.50 To Buy on Robinhood in 2021

It all sounds fun, right?

Many newbies will get excited reading these headlines. Their greed glands will go into overdrive. They’ll froth at the mouth thinking they’re getting in on the ground floor of the next big thing.

Frankly, it’s all a bunch of BS.

People create lists like that to get clicks. The reality is, 99.9% of the guessing games will be wrong. Almost none of the predictions will come true. But watch out if someone guesses something right, because you’ll never hear the end of it.

All the more reason to stop paying attention to pundits. Not to mention the so-called teachers who refuse to share every trade.

So here’s #1 on my list of four things to change for 2021…

Stop Thinking Like Someone Who Usually Loses

How do you do that? Your mindset matters. So first, you have to recognize how losers think. What’s the loser mentality?


  • Think they don’t have to study hard.
  • Follow alerts into trades.
  • Think they don’t have to focus on the process.
  • Don’t believe it’s necessary to learn the patterns.
  • Focus on how much money they can make.
  • Think the rules don’t apply to them. (I trade using these rules.)
  • Listen to the promoters who say, “This one’s going to the moon.” And they…
  • Believe in the companies.

There’s a simple fix…

How to Get the Millionaire Mindset

To stop thinking like a loser, you have to start thinking like someone who usually wins. Or at least someone who knows how to win and lose as a trader.

If you win more than you lose, and your average loss is smaller than your average win…

It’s statistically impossible NOT to grow your account.

penny stock checklist

Want to know how Jack Kellogg became my latest student to pass $1 million in trading profits?* He studied, worked at it, practiced, and made mistakes.

(*Jack’s results are not typical. Individual results will vary. Most traders lose money. My top students and I have the benefit of many years of hard work and dedication. Trading is inherently risky. Always do your due diligence and never risk more than you can afford to lose.)

Jack put every ounce of energy he had into becoming a better trader.

Read that last sentence again. Read it out loud three times.

Stop the Naive, Newbie BS

You can look yourself in the mirror right now and say, “That’s it! I’ve had enough. I’m gonna do whatever it takes to learn how to trade and grow my account. I’m gonna put every ounce of energy into becoming a better trader.”

Notice there’s nothing in your little talk with yourself about money. STOP THINKING ABOUT THE MONEY. Every time you focus on money instead of the process, you do yourself a big disservice.

Do Yourself a Solid

I’m not saying it’s gonna be easy. It’s not. You’re going to have to work harder at this than you’ve ever worked before. You have to do what you can today, this week, this month…

To set yourself up for one, two, or three years from now.

Jack Kellogg didn’t make much in his first two years of trading. It wasn’t until his third year, after studying his butt off and gaining experience that he started to see big results. But I want to make one thing very clear…

2020 was a special year for traders. Volatility was through the roof. I’m not trying to downplay Jack’s incredible success. Actually, it’s a perfect example of how trading is counterintuitive. Jack is finally getting out of the market what he put into learning to trade.* 

By studying so hard and gaining valuable experience, Jack was ready for the crazy 2020 market. That’s how he went from roughly $160K in total profits at the end of 2019 to over $1.5 million*. And most of his trades are small wins or losses. But he sets himself up for potential big wins.

How does he do it?

Hear What Jack Kellogg Has to Say Before You Start Trading

Here’s the blog link I promised in the video: “How To Make $200,000 In One Day With Penny Stocks.” Read it. Bookmark it. Study it. It’s the pattern that keeps on giving.

Back to how Jack set himself up to capitalize on opportunities in 2020 … And more importantly, how can YOU do it?

3 Trading Tips for 2021

Again, you’re gonna see listicles everywhere in the coming days and weeks. My advice: be very wary of what you read. Anyone claiming to know the next hot stock or sector is full of BS. That’s why I’ll focus on tips you can actually use to change your life in any kind of market.

Just remember it’s up to you. I can give you ideas, share strategies, and show you how this game works. But I can’t do the work for you.

2021 Trading Tip #1: Grow Your Knowledge Account

Even if you’re not trading, you can at least grow your knowledge account. As I always say, you have two accounts: your profit account and your knowledge account. You have to grow your knowledge account first.

This is the time to study hard. Not a little. Not “I’m gonna take it easy today because the market is slow…”


This is the time to get off your butt and study. Forget about Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. Forget about video games. They’ll still be there when you have time to waste again. Right now, you don’t.

Study. Study hard.

You want to get rich from trading stocks? Earn it. There’s so much opportunity in the market right now. But you have to prepare. Most traders don’t. That’s why most traders lose money.

If you’re not trading yet, study harder. If you’re trading small, study harder and keep trading small. Just remember to follow rule #1 and cut losses quickly. If you’ve been trading for a while and you already know what works for you…

Study harder, track ALL your trades, and test new setups. Put every ounce of your available energy into becoming a better trader.

It’s not rocket science, and it won’t take forever. But you must put in the time and effort now to set yourself up for the future.

This is the time to learn and to trade. The market’s hot. Who knows how long it will last? This is the time to push it…

2021 Trading Tip #2: Push It in a Fast Market

This is a fast market, not a slow market. So now is the time to push it.

That doesn’t mean it’s time to throw risk management out the window. It also doesn’t mean you should trade big before you’re ready. Or take dumb trades because you can’t control your greed glands.

Right now there’s so much in play it’s crazy — weed stocks, electric vehicle stocks, and solar stocks…

The pandemic is still affecting the markets, too. We’re seeing vaccine stocks, mask stocks, hand sanitizer stocks…

There are just so many plays. Even when there’s a slow day, it’s like the market’s taking a collective breath to prepare for the next day of crazy.

From November 30 to December 2, I had three $20,000-plus daysin a row!* That’s never happened before. I’ve had big days and big trades in my career. But not day after day. I don’t bring up the numbers to brag. Frankly, it’s exhausting.

I bring up the numbers to drive home the point that this is a special time to be a trader. And if you’re not already trading or already profiting, that’s OK. Take advantage of this special market to STUDY. 

2021 Trading Tip #3: Adjust Your Mindset

All that matters is that you have the right mindset. And almost nobody has the right mindset. Everybody’s asking, “What’s gonna be popular in 2021?”

Screw that!

Adjust your mindset to focus on the process. Whether you’re trading or studying, focus on the process. I can’t help you if you think this is a get-rich-quick scheme. And I can’t help if you just want hot picks or to follow alerts. Or any of that other newbie BS.

I want to be the mentor to you that I never had. But you must be willing to show up every day and work at it. You must be willing to lose. (We all take losses.) But they don’t have to be big losses. In fact, they shouldn’t be big losses.

So shift your mindset. Mindset matters MORE than anything else.

Be willing to trade small. Another top student, Kyle Williams, figured it out when he was first starting. He traded so small that the losses wouldn’t matter. Sometimes he only traded 100 shares. His only focus was on learning to trade and to become a better trader.

My question for you in 2021 is…

How Bad Do You Want It?

© Millionaire Media, LLC

Get ready for the next three posts in this series. Again, this year I refuse to play the “Let’s get clicks!” game. I want YOU to be successful.

Your Trading Education Resources

I’ll keep this brief. Traders ask me all the time: “How do I do it? Where should I start?”

A lot depends on you. What’s your level of commitment, and how much time are you willing to invest?

FREE Penny Stock Guide

If you’re brand new and want to learn more about penny stocks start here.

30-Day Bootcamp

If you want all the basics in one place, start with the 30-Day Bootcamp. I recorded the Bootcamp with top student Matthew Monaco in 2020. (Matt’s now over $500,000 in total trading profits during his trading career .*)

Monthly Plans on Profit.ly

If you want monthly plans, including Pennystocking Silver and TimAlerts, go here.

Trading Challenge

And if you’re ready to take a deep dive like all the top students I named in this post did, apply for my Trading Challenge here.

Tools for Traders, By Traders

Do yourself a favor and use StocksToTrade. Add StocksToTrade Breaking News Chat to your subscription. The new Breaking News Chat add-on feature was a game-changer for me in 2020.

(Disclosure: I helped develop StocksToTrade and I’m a major investor.)

Next in This Series…

It’s one of the most dangerous things you could ever do as a trader. The good news is, your brain is hard-wired specifically to avoid it. 

Look out for “4 Things to Watch in 2021 — Part 2.” Coming soon.

What do you think of 4 Things to Watch in 2021 — Part 1: Mindset Matters? If you get it, comment below with ‘mindset matters in 2021.’ Comment either way, I love to hear from all my readers!

How much has this post helped you?

Leave a reply
Comments (13)
Henry MurrayMay. 31, 2021 at 4:44 am

Knowledge supports development.

Patrick ScottJan. 14, 2021 at 10:12 pm

So far a bit unfocused this year, going back to the basics….and just reviewing stuff you have been saying for years, that I forgot, thanks for the reminders.

Fabian Mora JrDec. 25, 2020 at 7:50 pm

Mindset matters everyday. I completely agree with this post. I wasn’t able to start being consistent until I said “forget the money aspect of trading, let me focus on the process, not the profits”. This mindset stopped me from chasing trades & alerts, and taking unnecessary risk. I’ve now dug myself out of red when I first started trading & am now green. Listen to everything Timothy Sykes has to say

Timothy SykesJan. 09, 2021 at 4:30 am


CodyDec. 22, 2020 at 2:29 pm

Mindset matters in 2021

Andy CodyDec. 20, 2020 at 4:52 am

Hearing your thoughts is great! Looking forward to the next in this series. Focus thought process without getting caught up in the hype is tuff for us new guys! My every day process is top gainers, price action, and strategy on entry/exit. In all my studying, sense February, I find that it don’t matter a lot what the overall market is doing. It’s mostly about the volume of what that ticker your looking at making a trade on is doing in that moment corresponding to the past. Thanks for your dedication to teach me how to trade and make life changing decisions 👍🏻👍🏻

James FairclothDec. 20, 2020 at 4:32 am

It has helped me refocus my direction. I started in August studying and THOUGHT I was done in October, made a few trades in October and November. Won a few small ones and lost some medium ones. This came at the right time. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. I PROMISE YOU I WILL STUDY EVEN HARDER AND NO MOR TRADES UNTIL AFTER THE NEW YEAR. NOT BECAUSE OF MONEY BUT THE LACK OF BEING PREPARED…..

AnonymousDec. 19, 2020 at 7:03 pm

god bless you Tim, I’ve been investing my time and $ into studying hard through Jason bond course & am definitely taking your challenge. seeking for your education. see you soon

Timothy SykesDec. 22, 2020 at 3:39 am

aiyaiyai. No comment on Jason Bond course even though I have a lot of thoughts. good luck.

SimonDec. 19, 2020 at 6:51 pm

Mindset matters in 2021, this first part is a great read as a reminder to always review the basics. I think my current issue is actually overthinking and over analyzing the rules. I want to make sure I’m not missing anything or leaving content unstudied. At the same time, reviewing the basics is great but now it’s time for me to review the webinars and video lessons to watch how to trade these patterns. I see myself trying to predict the move and trying to be first. When I know it’s better to wait for the price action and react trade.but I couldn’t find myself to really respect price action reaction trading,bc I want to test these pennystock pumps. Is it possible to enter early and hold for the swing to sell into strength. I do notice that this so far requires more than just patience. The only good thing gout this penny pump long strategy , is that I am still studying and being under the PDT allows me the ability to just hold. However, I am missing ideal day trades bc of capital tied up. Then waiting for a move that may never come, is another issue. How long do you wait, how much time do you give a strategy hold. Whether I make out with gains or losses I do not like this type of trading. However, if I can make out with decent profits off of one move just one time, it will help to satisfy a thesis I wanted a answer too. I am running into the issue of not trading the way I would like too bc I’m still under the PDT.I completely understand that new traders should not be focused on more trades however, the PDT causes unnecessary stress and limitations that makes it extremely difficult for new traders. You have to find the perfect trade to use a day trade, or when u see a pattern, it sucks when you profit .05-.10 cents off a move then the next day there is a .50-1.00 move that u just have to watch from the sideline. I know I would be trading different if I did not have to think about my day trades and not being able to exit. There is so much I can talk about,so if u ever want a challenge student to just talk with, which by the way would be a great p.r. Move. New traders or new students love to hear about how other students study. Even though u tell ppl to focus on themselves, most ppl are just Lazy Learners, and it’s not there fault. The school system and life has told them what and how to learn there entire life, so it is not surprising that most ppl fail when they need to teach themselves, not bc they do not want to learn, but they just do not know how to teach themselves. I’ve studied the human brain, motivation and emotion at college bc I wanted to learn the why behind ppls behavior, my psych degree and engineering degree really helps me to understand the patterns and price action. I can start to see the emotion behind the charts, I can see the retail trader euphoria momentum, I can see the difference when it’s a ticker ppl truly believe in, I can see the difference for when ppl panic trade or panic buy. These are ways a trader can become in tuned with the market and it really doesn’t have anything to do about the fundamentals or even the technicals, bc most retail traders don’t even understand that information. So I would not be surprised to see 2020 type price action continue, I mean it’s not like the world is getting smarter, and the ones that r smart, are my fav. Ones to trade against. Ppl like my father in law that buys and holds a real company, this allows my swing strategy to work bc I know that float will decrease and there won’t be many panics. And when it does drop, they see it as a discount and add more to there position. So I like to trade those moves a lot. But still much more room for improvement.

Timothy SykesDec. 22, 2020 at 3:18 am

All my top students tested and tweaked until they found one, or at most two, patterns they could consistently trade. Then they focused on those patterns and started the grind to get over the PDT. You CAN do this. Be happy when you were on the right track but sold too soon. At least you were on the right track. Then TEST, TEST, TEST from there.

JulianDec. 19, 2020 at 11:24 am

Mindset matters!!!

Timothy SykesDec. 22, 2020 at 3:18 am


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

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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”