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Old 04-18-2012, 12:29 AM   #1

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The Trading Log

As part of your journal, a trading log should be more than just bought here, sold there, made this, lost that. It should contribute to the record of your journey (“journey” -- ”journal”). If done correctly, a log will reveal patterns. Patterns of what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong and when and how often and under what circumstances. Patterns of the behaviors of those who are trading your stock (bond, fund, option, whatever). Patterns of the market you're trading, of its cycles, of its stages, of what works at some stages and in some cycles and not in others. It will reveal much regarding your trading. It will also reveal much regarding your self.

Addressing the questions asked in The Trading Journal and defining and testing the setup are only the preliminaries. Eventually, one starts trading, if only on paper, and that is where the log and journal can make the difference between success and failure.

A log is not just a record. It is also a plan. Before the first trade is ever made, even if only on paper, prepare for the day. Note any events that you should be aware of (reports, press releases, meetings, speeches, testimony, nuclear explosions, approaching meteors, etc). Write down reminders of any elements of the trading plan that you're having trouble with and what you intend to do about them, e.g., “don’t take any trades anywhere but at support or resistance” or “be wary of wide-range bars” (this may be necessary as early as the afternoon of the first day).

Above all, record your justification for each and every trade. Record your thoughts before, during, and after the trade, written in real time (your perception of what looks to you like a potential setup will change substantially after the “setup” resolves itself, and when you ask, later, “what the hell was I thinking?”, your record of your thoughts -- your "self-talk" -- will tell you, so that the next time, in real time, you’ll have a deeper and more rational perspective). This is more than just the reason for the trade (“It looked like it was going to go up”). It is more than the rationalization (“It was time for it to go up”). It is more than the mystic prompt ("I felt it was going to go up"). It’s the justification for it, the explanation that one would provide to one’s boss or client if he were trading for someone else. If everyone wrote down the reasons behind and justifications for every trade, their learning curves would be accelerated dramatically. And if writing all this down proves to be too much of a distraction from the screen, pick up an Olympus Digital Voice Recorder from eBay for a few bucks.

At the end of the day, review your decisions, if necessary by "replaying" the day, a feature available in several charting programs. Did you make good trading decisions, i.e., did you follow your rules or not? If you followed your rules but made one or more losing trades anyway, do any of your rules need to be re-examined? If you didn’t follow one or more rules, which do you most often fail to follow? What’s the problem? What did you say to yourself at the time? What do you need to work on the following day? Always, what could you have done differently to improve the outcome? Can it be tested to find out if it's only an occasional anomaly or worth incorporating into the system?

And then you write down your detailed plan for the next day . . .

See also:

Making Trading Journals Work For You

When Trading Journals Don't Work

Improving Your Trading Performance
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:30 AM   #2
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Re: The Trading Log

Db,

May I quote you in another forum? thx.

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Old 04-18-2012, 12:30 AM   #3

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Re: The Trading Log

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Originally Posted by zdo »
Db,

May I quote you in another forum? thx.

zdo
Sure. But if it's something intelligent, or you think it is, would appreciate attribution.

If a fight breaks out, though, you're on your own.
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