February’s off to a great start across all of my accounts thanks to some crazy momentum in Myomo Inc. (NYSE: MYO) and Predictive Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: POAI). Between those two stocks alone I was able to add $38,000 to my main account while my total for the first four days of the month is almost $43,000.
My cash-only TD Ameritrade account also saw some action on Thursday that pushed my eight-day total for the small account challenge close to the $4,000 mark. That puts my average gains at around $185 a day while my average account growth is around 6-7% a day.
The funny thing is, I entered the month somewhat cautiously. Given the mixed results I was seeing through January and my tendency to tread lightly at the start of the month when I’m trying to rebuild my profit cushion, I didn’t want to start February off with a big red day. Instead, I just dipped my toe in and came out with a little over $1,100 on Monday.
And $1,200 is still a stellar figure when you think about the fact that I came about it in the span of a couple of hours. However, when I first started trading, and even a few years into my professional career, I might have looked back on Monday and wished I had stepped on the gas a little more. I mean, I made an average of $14,000 on the following three days, I know I could have done better on Monday.
But the past year has really changed my perspective on how I view these metrics. My analysis video from November opened my eyes to how much drawdown I’ve sustained in my account because I was too aggressive too often. And although as a trader I’m constantly looking for how to best capitalize on whatever opportunity comes up, I’ve learned that doesn’t always mean going all-in the moment you see a decent set-up.
This is especially tough for traders who might have some big wins under their belt and are looking to increase their share size. Once you get a taste of four- or five-figure trades, chipping out a few hundred dollars every day can start to feel like a loss rather than the win it is.
I learned the hard way that reaching your full trading potential sometimes means sitting on your hands and occasionally missing some great opportunities. While that’s still sometimes a hard pill to swallow, the more practice you have in exercising discretion while trading the more success you’ll find in the long-run.
The best way to train those trading muscles is obviously by doing some real-world trades, and the best way to do that without losing your shirt is to practice simulated paper trading. It’s not just an excellent tool for new traders, but also for those looking to test their strategies and study how and why individual stocks move higher or break down.
I promise you, watching and trading stocks with zero risk of loss will help you to identify the catalysts that move stocks higher. And it’s not just beneficial to your overall trading career, dedicating one or two days a month to paper trading can act as a barometer for how strong the market is and where the market momentum is.