If people ask how I'm doing or how much money I've made, all I normally say is that I've not had a losing month for 5 and a half years. Of course there have been months where I've made next to nothing and others where I've made a bundle, but the number one aim I've had at the beginning of each one is 'don't lose!'. In fact it's become like a mission statement to me. The thought of a losing month (which can obviously happen) fills me with dread and I'm sure it's because of this that I've been able to continue my progression, albeit more slowly but perhaps steadily than some others.
Why am I bringing this up now? Well to be honest I had a shocking weekend where I just wasn't mentally right. I threw away quite a lot of money on a number of events and looking back I think I was trying to do too much. Losing was my way of telling myself to take a break.
I've known this was a danger for sometime but despite this I tend to push myself until something like this happens, but I don't want you to think that I'm reckless in my approach. The opposite is true - I would like to explain how I recognise this behaviour before it becomes a problem and how I go about changing it.
Let me explain. Firstly, as I've mentioned in other blog posts. I create a diary each month and record the events I intend to trade. This is helpful as it defines a plan that I can revolve my life around. With so much sport on TV these days it's possible to be tapping away for 24 hours a day but is 'all' of that time really going to be productive? Instead, my diary highlights what I would consider opportunities and and in turn backs up a very effective discipline cycle - if it's not in the diary I don't bet.
Now for the point of this post. In addition to my diary I also produce a flow of how much I expect to earn from each sport based on the number of events during that month. Sounds simple right? That's because it is! But....there is one important point - you need to have a good idea of how much each event is worth to you. How do you do this? Well, if you keep detailed records of your betting activity you already have the information - it's just a case of adding up your total profit and dividing it by the number of markets. This gives you your average profit per market. To illustrate my point, here's my 'flow' for December (if you click on the picture it should enlarge):
Guess where I went wrong on the weekend? That's right - a few maximum losses on the darts, but by filling in my flow it's allowed me to realise that I've gone off track. However, it's not all doom and gloom as I still have time to do something about it whilst at the same time cheer myself up by identifying that I've already surpassed my expectations on Rugby and the NFL.
There will be some who advise that setting targets is not a good idea and that a bet is a bet if it offers value. I can totally see their point, but when I make a bet I'm not only thinking of that, I'm betting on what my emotions will be like afterwards and by doing this it helps me to remain in control. Maybe something like this can help you too?