I myself, have personally been actively trading the Foreign Exchange market for coming up to 3 years now. Here's a list of the most important lessons I learned after my first year, and I'm sure most people can relate to these points.
Trade What You See, Not What You Think
The first major lesson I learned was that you should not always be hanging on to your existing biases. This way, you'll be much more likely to win more trades if you trade what the market is telling you now rather than what it was telling you two weeks ago.
A profitable trader is open-minded and prepared for alternative market behaviours and is always ready to take on new circumstances ahead of them.
Whether it's failed break and retests, this can be anything, weaker-than-expected job reports, if one thing was expected to form in the market, but something else did, react to what is actively going on and take precaution there.
Stick to Your Plan
A plan must consist of a set of rules when you may or may not execute a trade. Many traders make the mistake to go around their plan because they think it will work out anyway.
Sometimes people also say that even when they stick to their plan, they feel it will not work out. As a result of this, you take trades on gut feelings, make sudden adjustments, and deviate from the plan, which is a sign of trouble. Whether a trade goes wrong or right, you need to build up a portfolio of trades based on a specific strategy in order to work out accuracy and overall win rate.
One way to help you stick to the plan is to keep a detailed trading journal showing your statistics. Once you see that your trading plan does work and is yielding positive results, it could give you more motivation and confidence to stick to the plan and follow through.
Patience is a Virtue
Trading is easy, marking up charts is easy; setting up trades is easy. The hard part of trading is learning how to be patient and disciplined enough to make the right trading decisions consistently.
Patience in trading is as simple as waiting for good trade setups to arise or waiting for price to hit your entry and exit levels. It sounds so simple, but yet it's so hard, and I understand. Many traders like to secure the profits they earnt and forget about the overall long-term move in the market, which can make them more than 3x the amount they're securing.
Trading is a marathon, not a sprint. No matter what you see on the internet, everyone deep down knows that trading is no getting rich quick scheme, quite the opposite in fact if done incorrectly. Opportunities are always around the corner and, if you're patient, you'll learn how to profitably trade in any environment the market will throw at you at any time.
Risk Management is the Key to Success
Risk management…. ah…. this is what separated a trader from a gambler. We're all in this game to make money that we have work for us to make us more money, and with this comes managing our risk exposure.
This includes no overleveraging, risking more than you can afford to lose, practising proper position sizing and no disregarding stop losses. This also comes with the proper knowledge or margin, leverage and drawdown, and managing these all.
Remember, it's easy to click "buy" or "sell" or risk half your account per trade, but doing this does not help you find your edge enough against the market to be consistently profitable in the long run.
From the past almost 3 years of trading, I can for sure say this was the most important lesson I've learned.