You're in the midst of a perfect trade. You entered where you had planned, and you know when to exit. All you have to do now is wait for the price to reach 53 and sell. But it's not moving fast enough. It seems to be hovering around 51 and 50. You're starting to wonder whether or not it will ever move up. Panic sets in and you sell. About an hour later, the price hits 53 and it now seems obvious that you should have waited. Why didn't you wait? Why did you impulsively sell? If you have trouble maintaining self-control, you're not alone. It's a common ailment.
It's quite possible to have a trading plan all worked out, but fail to follow it. When you plan out the trade in a logical state of mind, you have every intention of following it. You know exactly what you will do and when. At a critical moment of trading, however, something in your inner self goes awry. When you should be especially focused on sticking with your plan, you abandon it. Why did you make such an impulsive decision that you may regret later? Some traders feel that everything happens so quickly that there is very little they can do. To some extent they are right. Your mind and body tend to react so instinctively that you can't slow things down and stop yourself from making an impulsive decision. However, you can practice slowing down the processes that precede an impulsive move. You may not realize it, but every action you take is preceded by thoughts. You have an internal dialog with yourself as you trade; it's sort of like having a conversation with yourself.
What you say in this dialog dictates how you feel and how you act. For example, if you tell yourself, "The price isn't moving the way I want. It never does, and I'm a fool for believing that it will," you will obviously feel uncertain, frustrated, and ready to close out your position. In contrast, if you think, "The price isn't where I would like it to be, but it's too soon to tell what will happen in the end. I need to relax, trust my trading plan and see if it comes to fruition," you will be more likely to stay disciplined and stick with your plan. It may seem obvious that what you say to yourself will dictate how you feel and act, but many people underestimate the power of the internal dialog. They don't realize that thoughts can pop into their head at the wrong moment and seriously impact what they do. If you are not keenly aware of what you are thinking as you trade, you are prone to fall victim to your unproductive thoughts. It is vital to monitor your thoughts, and when you enter a trade, maintain your self-control.