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Psych Journal of an ES Trader
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Psych Journal of an ES Trader

  #41 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Second day I have hit my daily loss limit. Looking back at the trades there are a couple of things I've been missing:
1. Not waiting for ticks to confirm
2. Not scratching out or tucking stops to take the 0.75-1pt loss

What that is saying is I'm getting overconfident and assuming each trade will be a winner. Which is a dangerous thing.

So moving forward, need to focus on:
- Wait for ticks to confirm
- Scratch and tuck stops
- Assume each trade is a loser
- Rather be out wishing I was in, than in wishing I was out.


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  #42 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Market was is slow motion today. Took 5 trades, 4 of them were scratches.

I'm still having problems with scratching out with a time stop. I need to do this, because it will help me bias trades towards being losers. Rather than biasing towards them being winners, and holding on to them. Afraid of missing out and afraid of being wrong. I know my win rate is above 50%, which means there are going to be lots of losers, and it's silly for me to be biased towards trades being winners.

This is really the next challenge I have to focus on, which is to get out of the market on my terms with a time stop or if my instincts tell me it's not looking good. I've worked on keeping my daily loss limit, and overtrading. I will put my focus on this.

Here are some more thoughts about being reluctant to scratch out:
- Market is never going to give you a good place to get out. It's never going to be pretty, you are going to give away up to 1pt.
- It's up to me to get out
- Always going to be something telling you that market will be going in just "abit".
- Look at how the market can go against you. How it would be worse taking a bigger loss later on. Rather than thinking about missing the move.
- Be willing to miss the move. Rather be out wishing I was in, than in wishing I was out.
- Best trades work immediately.

On the positive note, I did take 10min break after my loser. Really helps to come back with a new slate. Refocus and see what the market is really telling me, and then step in.

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  #43 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received


Only 2 trades today. Rollover day, which I traded the new contract, when I should have stayed with the old contract which showed more volume. Have to keep that in mind next time.

Last trading week for the year, for me anyway. Will be taking break till new year.

Still need to focus on scratching out quickly. Be focused.


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  #44 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Big move today, only got a couple of trades off, but I'm satisfied with my execution.

Stay focused to scratch out quickly. Assume each trade is a loser!

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  #45 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Not happy today with my trading. I was up with 2 trades for the day, and ended up losing that plus my daily loss limit.

I should have:
- Finished up after 2 trades.
- Or at least risked my daily profit, not my daily loss if I was to keep trading.
- Not traded against range extension after 10:30

The market today was very strong, and I was expecting the day to be rather choppy. That's what happens when you think you know what's going to happen... you get spanked!

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  #46 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Took 7 trades today. 7 trades is overtrading!!!

I was losing sight of what good trading is and counting my daily PnL. Should be trading 3-4 trades MAX!!

Trading more because I want to get money back. Trying to be positive for the day. Etc. Not a good idea.
Even most days I will be positive for the day, but when I start thinking about it I stop executing correctly.

Need to not even look at PnL. To the point that I don't even know where we're at for the month. That will promote good trading. Don't withdraw funds from my account until end of month.

Wanting to trade more because feel like I could squeeze out more in the market. Bad mentality. Mentality is to trade well.

Trade in sample size!!

Take a couple of profitable trades a day. Eat a couple of times.
Need to let trades run more. Looking for 3-4pts a day.


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  #47 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

What I learnt
---------------

Maybe this should read: What I relearnt (duh *facepalm*)

Having stopped my journaling end of 2012 on this forum with 4 months of profitable trading I've pretty much lost money in Jan, Feb, March. Luckily I took a break in Feb for a few weeks, so it wasn't as bad. But coming back in March, I felt there ware a few things that were off, which stopped me from being profitable.

I tweaked a few things in order to improve things, like taking 2pt profit targets and it just led me to overtrading. I would have a 4pt daily target, which means I need to take at least 2 trades a day, and sometimes the market will move once and not give you another opportunity to get another move. This is a problem, because my daily loss limit is at 3pts (also trade stop size), which means I need to at least get 4pts a day or I won't break even. I tried increasing my win rate, but I don't think it's manageable in the long run or even possible for my trading style. I would be getting 60% win rate on my best months, this is including scratches. Trying to increase it to 80% would mean waiting a lot for the "perfect" trade, which is a delusion because you never know what's going to happen in a trade, or scratching a lot of trades which adds up to commissions.

What I know has worked for me in the past is "under trading", taking 1-2 good trades (4 max), and let it run for a decent amount. Stop trading for the day after getting stopped out, and not trying to make it back. It just allows me to become more detached to the trading process, allowing my sample size to be dictated with good trades, and the mathematics of the trades will most likely work out to be profitable.

The downside of this is being able to sit it out for the day once I get stopped out. It's part of my nature (well human nature) to try to be productive, and trading each day to be profitable to make sure each day is productive. Taking more trades, which usually grouped pretty closely. This has always ended up badly overall.

I think it's tough to be taking a loss, hitting your risk limit, coming back the next day and realising you could have made money on another trade that day. But a lot of times, I'm probably not in that headspace to be executing properly, as though I assume that the next one will be a winner.

It might seem obvious a lot of things I'm saying, but its harder to do day in and day out. But there needs to be some way to gear my head into that headspace. Usually, that's just by participating less in the market, which is against everything a high achiever in life would be doing. It's as though I need to be some sort of lazy trader who doesn't do very much at all. It's like you need to be that kid in class who only wants to do enough to get by, because he's got better things to do than sit in class. Being that kid who makes that effort, who has emotional investment in doing well in the class actually screws you up. Don't get me wrong, to learn about trading you need to be diligent, but after that, being a trader is more about not caring what happens, there are no stakes, no hopes and dreams of a better future. More of a "I wish class would end, so I can go out and play"

Another thing that I missed with not journaling is not being able to keep score on how I was doing overall. It became more of a daily measurement of how I did based on my PnL, and not acknowledging successes when things weren't going well in the PnL department, like how I've been trading real well for past week. In sports analogy, you become a prisoner of the moment.

One thing I need to change is on my own personal ecosystem, not letting trading be the dominant focus of my life. it's hard to be doing a lot of preparation, you take a loss for the day and you can't trade anymore. You want to try and "fix" it, you get sucked into the moment. I have to get other sources of income, which will relieve pressure on my trading for it to be something I don't think too much about. This is hard to wrap my head around, when you've been told that you need to work hard on your business to be successful. Trading is more about waiting for the right opportunities to come by, no matter how hard you go at it, if the market conditions are not right, then it's not going to happen.

The market is pretty much skewed towards it being a negative sum game and difficult to win. With commission, getting in and out of a trade having to give away a tick or two, IMO getting out of a wrong trade usually costs a point because you need to see when the prices are not working and getting out takes a couple of ticks. With all that, its pretty hard to win at this game. Only positive is the volatility of the market which allows a trade to go further than you think. So holding for longer is pretty much the only way.

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  #48 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Pretty much got stopped out for the day with first trade. Should have waited for 5min for market to settle.

Still fighting getting stopped out. Not a good idea, because getting stopped out is what's going to keep my risk intact. In the end it's all about risk management.

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  #49 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Was alot more patient today waiting for a setup. Took one trade, but unfortunately I had get out and back in because of my trading platform.

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  #50 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Sydney/Australia
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received


Just one trade today. Market look strong, tempted to short but sat on my hands. Been pretty busy lately to be trading, so it's a good thing to have that "not wanting to trade" mindset.

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