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I know I should Journal but....
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I know I should Journal but....

  #1 (permalink)
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I know I should Journal but....

Hey everyone -

I've discovered recently, that I have a very bad habit of trying to avoid writing down my trades when I have:

1) a trade that broke my rules
2) a negative P/L day
3) when I just wasn't feeling great about the day's trading performance

and there's probably more I can list. I find that every time I miss a couple of days of recording my information, I feel like it's ruined and I have to start over. I think in the past 6 months, I have started about 10 private trading journals with everything from video recordings to excel and evernote. Perhaps too much of trying to achieve perfectionism when my trading is far from perfect or just plain OCD.

I've done quite a bit of self-reflection on this negative behavior and realized that I'm trying to avoid the consequences by just walking away from my desk at the end of the day and pretending some of those trades never happened. However, the reality is that they did happen and my trade statement shows these egregious trades via P/L.

I was just wondering if any other traders were experiencing anything like this, but more importantly what you guys have done to overcome this issue. Psychology truly is the biggest battle in trading. Thanks.

Mike

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  #3 (permalink)
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fminus View Post
Hey everyone -

I've discovered recently, that I have a very bad habit of trying to avoid writing down my trades when I have:

1) a trade that broke my rules
2) a negative P/L day
3) when I just wasn't feeling great about the day's trading performance

Hi Mike
This is where futures.io (formerly BMT) steps in: Open a public journal!
Helps to concentrate, be exact, report to people that are reading your input carefully etc.
Try it - after a while you will have the automation to the task that you no longer think of that "homework".

GFIs1

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  #4 (permalink)
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fminus View Post
Hey everyone -

I've discovered recently, that I have a very bad habit of trying to avoid writing down my trades when I have:

1) a trade that broke my rules
2) a negative P/L day
3) when I just wasn't feeling great about the day's trading performance

and there's probably more I can list. I find that every time I miss a couple of days of recording my information, I feel like it's ruined and I have to start over. I think in the past 6 months, I have started about 10 private trading journals with everything from video recordings to excel and evernote. Perhaps too much of trying to achieve perfectionism when my trading is far from perfect or just plain OCD.

I've done quite a bit of self-reflection on this negative behavior and realized that I'm trying to avoid the consequences by just walking away from my desk at the end of the day and pretending some of those trades never happened. However, the reality is that they did happen and my trade statement shows these egregious trades via P/L.

I was just wondering if any other traders were experiencing anything like this, but more importantly what you guys have done to overcome this issue. Psychology truly is the biggest battle in trading. Thanks.

Mike

I had the same problem as well, i hear you. The other issue i had was that i don't like typing or writing my thoughts that much...i like to reflect on them, but that medium was not for me. I started journaling my homework and postmortem using a screen recorder. That way i have a better journal full of my thoughts and emotions, reflected with my tone as well. I think its a good idea to review these, against your performance metrics over time to see where improvement can be made.

My thoughts...

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  #5 (permalink)
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GFIs1 View Post
Hi Mike
This is where futures.io (formerly BMT) steps in: Open a public journal!
Helps to concentrate, be exact, report to people that are reading your input carefully etc.
Try it - after a while you will have the automation to the task that you no longer think of that "homework".

GFIs1

Thanks for the suggestion. I did consider opening up a trading journal here on futures.io (formerly BMT), but there's a part of me that knows it's going to keep me accountable so in some ways I have been trying to avoid it.

Considering how many responses that people get on their own journal, I was a bit concerned that I'd lose focus on trading and concern myself with readership, answering questions, and people hijacking my journal to post random. BigMike does a great job of moderating the forums but I guess, if I lay out the ground rules clearly, I can help police my own journal too. I will seriously look into integrating a futures.io (formerly BMT) trading journal into my routine. Thanks.

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xiaosi View Post
I had the same problem as well, i hear you. The other issue i had was that i don't like typing or writing my thoughts that much...i like to reflect on them, but that medium was not for me. I started journaling my homework and postmortem using a screen recorder. That way i have a better journal full of my thoughts and emotions, reflected with my tone as well. I think its a good idea to review these, against your performance metrics over time to see where improvement can be made.

My thoughts...

Thanks for taking the time to reply with a suggestion. I was just wondering if you spent any time on the video recording after you finished trading for the day. When I've done video recordings, as helpful as they are, I got a bit distracted with taking so much time trying to polish it up and cut out the waiting times, mumbling, or just forgetting to put the recorder on pause that I the video editing at the end of each day became a bit cumbersome.

Do you just archive the screen recorded video in it's entirety?

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  #7 (permalink)
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I can only speak from my experience, but I'd say 'investing' in an honest journal is one of the best uses of your time as a trader. It may be a chore in the beginning, but once you start to get the 'pay off' you will not see it as a chore, indeed you may become fanatical about.

Maybe you have not yet seen any pay-off so do not have the incentive to be consistent?

It was only after a number of months that I started to see the benefits. Which, in my case, were to spot repetitive patterns of behaviour, typically measured across days rather than within them.

If you have any element of discretion in your trading I think the learning curve is much longer (possible indefinite) if you do not journal. You can a learn a great deal about yourself through self analysis and reflection. I no longer journal my trades specifically (I use other methods for that), my journal is more about how I feel, my mood and outlook. Whether I am getting enough R&R vs screen time etc.

For example I know I tighten up after a losing day, and if left unchecked I usually have another one. The journal showed me how much this was costing me so I now take steps to interrupt that pattern. I take 2 days off after a holiday to 'get back up to speed', I have standard exercise and relaxation slots in the day, I do not drink, I have set hours for trading, family time and sleep. All of this and much more came out from my journal. And all of it has had a positive effect.

Once I was reviewing my journal honestly I saw other behaviour I was not at all proud of. I had periods in the past when I was obsessive and my family time suffered, my mood would swing pretty wildly and it was not pretty. That led me to admit I was emotionally immature and such a condition would guarantee my failure as a trader.

Those are the sorts of revelations journaling can bring. In my case the over the last 3 yrs with the help of my journal I have changed a great deal as a person and all of it for the better.

There is no where to hide in trading; you have to confront yourself. Every thought and action will surface in your P&L. An honest journal is the best place to see who you are.

I would urge you apply yourself to writing no less than a page each day you trade for a month and see if you get a pay-off. Think of it as a bet, the maximum downside is a pad of paper, a pencil and perhaps 10hrs of your time. The upside is unknown, but potentially substantial.

know thyself
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