Hey Josh Thanks for sharing your experience!
Few quick questions before going further, what kind of trading are we talking about (swing/day/scalp)? Are you trading from your phone? Using price alerts? Have you tried using pre-placed orders and not looking at the market during office hours (this was my solution, when I couldn’t look at my phone/concentrate due to work)
So lets talk about chasing price a second. Chasing price isn’t a psychological challenge per se. It’s the response to fearing you’ll miss a trade. From what it sounds like, you’ve created a situation where you bring stress (limited time availability, and obligations to clients/patients) and combine it with a fast moving market. Pretty intense. The result is a situation where you need to make a decision quick under pressure. And that means poor decision making capacity and erratic trades because you’re unable to engage the calm, rational, analytical mind in those moments.
Lets think about an analogy from sports. Take precision sports for example (golf, archery, curling, etc). Where you have to do specific movements at exact times and that result in a precise outcomes. A major source of error here comes from feeling stressed/anxious/pressured/fearful (of failure) in the moments leading up to the action. Imagine a golfer being pressured to rapidly evaluate the situation, decide on a shot, a club, the wind, the lie, how they want to hit the ball, where it should land, then prepare to shoot, and execute. They’re just not going to execute to perfection as often as they are capable of when rushed, pressured, and anxious! They need to take their time to get into the mindset to shoot and execute at a high level of consistency. So they use ways to rapidly reset their mind to be ready to execute.
Two tactics come to mind that you might want to try.
1. Create a Pre-trade Routine
You’ve already started by sitting down, and taking a moment to focus. This is a great start! It resets your mental frame and prevents you from associating stress from one domain (work, clients, limited availability) to another (fast moving market).
I’d suggest you could add a “pre-analysis/decision routine” to the 2-3 minutes before opening the charts. This could be as simple as three simple things you do right before with the aim of enhancing your calirty of what you wish to accolplish and getting into the mindet needed to carry out your analysis and make a sound decision.
Example could be to take three deep breaths, mentally recite and visualize what you are looking for in the charts (i.e. your strategy), followed by an affirmation to yourself that its OK if you do not see/enter/win a trade.
2. Replicate the higher stress situation while backtesting
In sports we plan for every single situation. What do you do if your top three players get injured in the same game? Asking three rookies to play positions they’ve never practiced when they know the team needs them (pressure!) is recipe for disaster. You’ve got to anticipate the situation and train them on the plan, then practice the plan.
As a trader you practice in a similar way. You know you are trading in a moment of extra stress. Have you tried backtesting during those same moments? Next time you have 5 free minutes open up a random pair. Scroll to a random time. Do your analysis and decide YES or NO there is a trade. Decide and close the chart. Hour later or whatever, open it again. Scroll an hour farther. Repeat the process. Did your trade pan out? If you didn’t take a trade, is there one now? Again doing the whole routine and noting how you feel. what your responses are, etc.
You are simulating the real experience. It’s the opportunity to practice noticing how you respond. To adjust the process you’re following. To know exactly what you’ll do and how you’ll play when your three best players are injured.
These are just two tactics that you can use as part of your strategic application of psychological methods and larger trading plan to bring more consistency into your decision making. Feel free to send me a PM if you’d like to talk more about your specific trading model. I’d be happy to share how I’ve built out strategies for dealing with specific situations that arise in trading.