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Psych Journal of an ES Trader

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Psych Journal of an ES Trader

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  #1 (permalink)
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Going to start up a new trading journal from October. Been slowly showing good results, but I need to take it to another level where I'm executing correctly and consistently.

That's where this journal is going to be focused on. There will be little to no technical analysis documented in the journal, and more about how well my entry/exit/risk rules are adhered. Strategies I'm employing to stay focused on my own emotions and keeping risk in check.

So for today, I took one trade.

Entry: Should have known better. Didn't wait for one criteria to match. Emotionally too eager to trade.
Exit: I've been playing around with holding positions through news. It's been sometimes profitable and sometimes not. I'm deciding to be flat before news. No matter if it goes in my favor or not. It just becomes abit of a dice throw.
Risk: Kept to my daily loss limit. *IMPORTANT*!!!

- Make sure to use ticks as entry criteria. Ask myself how I would feel tomorrow if I took this "ok" trade.
- Going to be flat before major news anouncements.
- Walk away from trade and check in every 5min. Keep my expectations in check. Ask myself if I'm wanting the market to do anything for me.
- When checking in, have 30sec to make judgement on what to do: hold, get out, tighten stop.
- If after 15min, market is flat, then get out. If market is going against me, and another setup forms, then willing to take another 15min to hold.

Thats it for now!

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  #3 (permalink)
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  #4 (permalink)
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Got started in good habits during trade management, but trade entry selection needs work.

Why does it need work? Because I look back at it the next day, and I say "duh!". Obviously, there's emotion that is clouding up my own judgement.

It's usually the "I don't want to be missing out" type of emotions that cloud my judgement. Where I'm being smarter than what I should be. Rather than executing the system.

I need to be following my rules. Rather lose money with my rules, and next day say I did everything correctly. Then make money by winging it, as that's the beginning of forming bad habits, and that just sets me up to be a ticking time bomb ready to blow when I least expect it.

- Really drill down on entry criteria
- Remind myself that I'm focused on following the system. If I can get 1 trade executed perfectly, I will start a chain of positive momentum for myself.

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  #5 (permalink)
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Really please with myself with today's trading. Really, really focused on being patient on entry criteria.

Was tempted to jump in earlier, but I let the move go. Yes, the market move as I thought it would have, and I wasn't in it. But I stayed focused on my setups.

My third trade was a good exit. In the past I would think I could squeeze in a few more tics, and that usually is a recipe for disaster. Market would come back on me, and I took no profits. Trying to squeeze a few more tics is not trading, it's thinking I'm some sort of genius that can guess where the market will go. This time, eventhough the market did go to where I anticipated, I got out when my setups told me to. So I was proud of myself for doing that.

Lets keep the momentum going, not rest on one day of good trading. Its times like these I really need to focus even more and not let my guard down.

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  #6 (permalink)
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Wow, this is the second time I got tagged from news volatility. Thought the news movements were finished, but should have really waited good 10min after news for everything to have cleared.

It's tempting to start questioning validity of my system, but must stay focused because:
- Currently only traded 7 trades based on my 25-30 trading sample set.
- 3 of those trades were not traded properly.
- I'm developing some really good trading habits that works for me.
- Being a trader is about developing the mental skills to let go of the past and move forward. Which is something I have noticed alot more recently, being able to let go of losses, and having a "what's done is done" type of mentality. Compared to the past where I would be spending alot of time in my mind stressing out why the trade didn't work.

That's it for me this week, as I don't trade Fridays.

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  #7 (permalink)
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Today I got the direction all wrong. It's going to happen, I was looking for longs, when shorts would have paid off.

It's easy to look back and tell myself what I should have done to make profits, but that is not how trading work. Good thing was that I was strict enough with my trading, that I got out with a small loss and called it a day. Took a total of 3 trades with 2 of them being scratches.

The trading plan should be able to limit your losses when you are just flat out wrong with the bias of the market. It's happened in the past, and it sure will happen many many times later. Having risk parameters (# of trades, daily risk, trading breaks) allows for me to not get killed when I'm wrong.

Many times in the past, I would:
- Not take trading breaks, and trying to make profits happen. This is where I think "the next one must be right"
- Over trading and digging a hole in my account
- Moving my stop and not obeying risk limits, causing severe emotional and psychological damage.

I'm pretty happy with my trading today. Things to be improved would be:
- Tuck stops behind logical areas where I know the market will be wrong if violate that level
- Get out quicker, and not hope for better prices

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  #8 (permalink)
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

I could feel myself going a little bit on tilt today, despite being profitable. The day was rather choppy in the morning with no followthrough and a tight 5pt range. Nevertheless, I should have kept my cool.

Trade#11, the entry straight after open. I told myself to stop doing this, as it's quite volatile at this time. Main reason I do it is because I'm in a hurry to make money. Sit on hands, stay patient for the good trades to come. Don't flip a coin. A good start to the day keeps the momentum of good habits going, and that's worth more than any profitable trade.

Trade#12 I missed out on the initial good entry, and tried to get in on a micro pb that never eventuated. It was easier to just follow my signal on lower prices.

Trade#13 Divergence signal told me to get out. I didn't want to take the small profit. Kept telling myself that it's going to be a bigger move.

Trade#14 I'm not a big fan of reversing after a trade, but this one worked out. Bad price entry, should have known better.

I was tempted to violate daily risk limit, and that's a danger sign that I'm starting to get risk adverse. I'm not accepting my risk, and don't want to lose. I'm not letting trades work out, and cutting them too quickly. I'm thinking of my PnL abit too much.

What needs to be done:
- Take 1-2 good trades. Really focus on being patient, as though I don't have to trade today if I don't want to.

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  #9 (permalink)
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Was almost stopped out with this one trade. Should have been more patient. Sit on hands, sit on hands.

Assume each trade is a stop out, manage my expectations.

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  #10 (permalink)
Posts: 137 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 2 given, 64 received

Felt unfocused today, deviated from my plan and I'm not happy about it.

First trade was fine, second trade I start making expectations on what the market should and shouldn't do, which really breaks the flow of being with the market.

Here are some points I noted:
-Tempted to violate daily risk limit
-Should have gotten out based on rules
-Need to refocus on rules
-Move stop closer just in case it pops against me
-Afraid of missing out. Only way to fix this is if you put the stop where you know the trade will be invalid. Not have to react when price goes against me. Be proactive doing it.
-You might end up missing a move, and getting taken out might be a suboptimal amount of profit to make. But at least you won't be second guessing yourself or trying to make the decision when the price gets to that area.

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