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Setting Your Trading And Investing Goals

What’s the best way to go about setting your trading or investing goals? Well, as with most goal setting in your life it involves two important elements: perceived difficulty, and how specific you are in stating your goal. These two elements play an important part in attaining your goals.

The more perceived difficulty in the goal and more specific the goal is, the more likely you will raise your level of performance to achieve your goal. This is because with these two elements of challenge and focus, people are more likely to try harder, achieving a higher performance which produces better overall results.

In a trading example a goal to earn $50,000 next year through your trading activity is good. However, a goal to achieve, say $51,600 will likely produce better performance as it is perceived by your brain as more specific.

A lot of people think you should set easy goals. Not so. The best goals are difficult goals that are specific. Goals should be difficult and specific. So if you believe that your trading goal of $51,600 is easily achievable then raise it to a level that you believe will be more challenging, perhaps $72,400.

Don’t be unrealistic though, as you are more likely to perform if you believe you can achieve your goal. Base your goal on your knowledge, training, skills and past experiences. If you know it can happen, that you can make it happen, then your performance can increase.

As you work towards achieving your goal, your belief in the importance of achieving your goal will make you more committed to your goal. As you assess your progress you will be reinforcing your commitment when seeing results. This will strengthen your performance to achieving your goal.

Seeing progress in share trading can be from something as straight forward as a running tally of your earnings year to date. You want to earn $72,400 from your trading this year. You see yourself at $38,100 in July and you know you are well on your way based upon simple arithmetic.

Often when we start off in trading/investing we do not set goals. Often we’re just happy to see ourselves make some money. This unfortunately is not specific or difficult – it is not going to challenge or focus your performance.

So, why not think through your trading or investing goals. Set yourself an attainable, but difficult specific challenge and measure your progress. You will be amazed how you feel about your results.

Kevin Hogan talks about “the least acceptable result” in his book “The Psychology of Persuasion”. Your least acceptable result is often the true goal that people achieve from any activity – what is your trading/investing least acceptable result. Make your least acceptable result your goal and watch your trading/investing performance results.

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