The day trading futures edge: Discipline and consistency when futures trading

October 19th, 2023

When it comes to building the bedrock of a long and rewarding futures day trading career, two ingredients are necessary: discipline and consistency.

In a recent webinar from Créde Performance titled “Conquer Discipline and Consistency by Building Your Trading Mental Edge,” Créde Sheehy-Kelly worked to demystify trading psychology – something that can be abstract and thus difficult to quantify and practice. She focused on discipline and consistency as particularly crucial, while adding the following points:

  • Trader mindset is critical to trading success
  • Technical AND mental edges are necessary
  • Conquer discipline without the need for willpower
  • Do the pre-market prep work for pro-level consistency

Futures day trading is inherently difficult. Sheehy-Kelly provided some eye-opening stats, such as that only about 1% of day traders can predictably profit net of fees, while 80% of day traders will quit within the first two years.

So why is day trading so challenging and why don’t traders make it?

Creating your futures day trading edge

First, it requires time and patience, which is a choice. Traders either choose to put the time and effort into being successful or they don’t. “Figure out your edge,” said Sheehy-Kelly. “Get good at understanding the technical pieces and executing that in market. [Formulate] a solid technical trading plan. Know your rules. Back test your plan so you know you can trust it and execute it, then you will be profitable over time.”

If you put in the legwork and create the blueprint to be successful, then that is two-thirds the battle. Now, you have to be disciplined in sticking to your plan, which is where the tricky part comes in.

So, what does not sticking to your own futures day trading rules look like? It can come in many forms, such as:

  • Letting emotion drive your actions
  • Being overactive in the market to make up for previous losses
  • Forcing it
  • Revenge trading
  • Ignoring stops
  • Being determined to finish the day in the green regardless of the state of the markets

Sheehy-Kelly added that an inability to deal effectively with pressure, doubting your trading plan, getting in or out of trades too early and poor decision-making all contribute to straying from your original blueprint.

Trust yourself and your plan. Stick with it even when your emotions urge you otherwise. And be persistent as those are all attributes of a long-tenured futures day trader.

To learn more about  Sheehy-Kelly’s trading philosophies, as well as an in-depth look at trading psychology, view the full webinar here.

Interested in more futures trading tips? Explore NinjaTrader’s on-demand video education library, with new events added weekly. Check out our schedule of upcoming webinars and register to attend live events.

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