Day Trading: Top 10 Mistakes That Cause Day Traders To Lose Money


Okay day traders, today I’m starting a new series of 10 articles covering the top 10 mistakes I find people making when day trading and losing money. Many of the mistakes of stock market, futures and forex day trading have to do with trading psychology.

These are in no particular order, so we’ll start with …


Some traders are under the assumption that their trading strategy (whatever it is) should be able to get them into every major move of the market. That’s a false assumption that will lead to disastrous trading results such as:

  • Reverse engineering every big move in the market to see what indicators, etc.,  would have helped them catch that particular move.
  • Change trading methods continuously.
  • Causing a trader to think there’s something wrong with them.
  • Jumping into a trade that has “left the station” without you just because the market is making a big move (but not entering based on your proven trading rules).
  • Assuming that there is some magical trading strategy that will help you catch every move the market makes.

Successful trading is all about having a methodology that provides a high probability scenario when the rules of the method are met.

Not all big market moves are preceded by a high probability situation or setup. In such cases it’s important to manage your thoughts and emotions and allow the market to make it’s moves, even the big ones, without you.

Successful trading is done by “making the market come to you.”

That means sticking to a proven, time-tested trading methodology that when certain rules are met, the probability of a profitable trade is on your side.

You wait until those rules are met. When they are met, you take a trade. When they aren’t met, you stay on the sidelines and simply watch as the market makes its gyrations up, down and sideways … maintaining an emotionally detached attitude.

Never chase the market … make the market come to you.


  1. Thanks for your comment John.

    Trading psychology and knowing your risk/reward ratio are both VERY important. I address both in a very practical way in my trading courses.

  2. Hello Dr. Burns,
    In your opinion, in addition to having a proven trading plan, how important is focusing on trading psychology and looking for a higher risk/reward ration that is at least 4/1?

    I love this website, it’s very informative.

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