T There are four very crucial steps for determining a trade and making the right decision.  Profitable traders are able to spot opportunity, but not act until it knocks.  Waiting for opportunity to knock is the sole difference between the average Joe and professional traders.  True insider methods aren’t methods at all – just a strict adherence to the day trading rules.

Determine direction

The first step is to determine the direction of the chart: uptrend, downtrend, or sideways trend.  This should lay the groundwork for the kind of trade you want to take.  Surely you would not want to bet against a raging bull, and you’re unlikely to correctly call bottom in a bear market; thus, following the trend is the best way to get an instantly higher success rate.  This is why day trading strategies, such as following the NYSE tick, do so well; you move in tandem with the trend, not against the market.

Know what you’re doing

The second step is truly understanding why you’re entering the trade.  Trading discipline is just as important a factor as the alignment of your technical indicators.  Knowing what you plan to trade and why you will trade it is one of the single most important things to know.

Many traders place trades just “because they feel like it” and get dangerously caught up in a game of cat and mouse.  Proven strategies do not need your twists and turns; they just need to be executed faithfully.

Turn down the radio

The third step should, of course, be to avoid distractions.  The period when a trade is open can be hectic; the ups and downs of the market shown on your computer screen make it that much worse.  Couple those emotions with loud music or a TV chatting to itself in the background and you have a recipe for disaster.  Your first task should always be to preserve trading capital, even if this means limiting the odds that you’ll lose even by modifying small pieces, such as distractions.

Bring the game plan with you

Don’t forget the strategy.  This is the fourth and final step, though not much a step at all.  Your day trading framework can go down to dust if you forget the most important asset you have as a trader: your trading plan.  Without a plan, you’re speculating, not investing.  There is plenty of money to be made in the markets for responsible and careful investors.  It is a fact that proven strategies prove profitable over the long run.  Why alter perfection?

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