Hello. Enjoying your journal here. Thought I would provide some comments as I too am going through the process of trying to improve my discipline and process.
It sounds like there were often times you exited trades early (out of fear it seems) or entered trades that were not part of your official plan. I did this quite often before as well. Things I started doing that helped:
A) Instead of focusing on the ticks and $ profit from trades, I started scoring my trades on a scale of 1 through 5:
1 = full stop hit
2 = loss, but less than full stop because I adjusted it
3 = break-even
4 = profitable but before full target, because I decreased the target
5 = full original target hit
Then, I just started focusing on a goal of having all scores of either 1 or 5. That's because those scores meant that I stuck to my original parameters (note that having a score of 2 is ok too, IF your plan includes moving stops up)
B) Traded smaller - exiting early is a sign of fear. Fear of losing $. Trade smaller so that the $ amount is so small, it is not a factor
Also, is it possible to trade in the evening after work? As it sounds like managing ES scalp timeframe trades while working is a challenge.
Just my 2 cents...hope it helps
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That's an interesting ratings system and something I'll definitely consider. Right now I'm either yes/no but it might be good to have some ratings in between like you're doing.
I definitely had and have a fear of losing money, even though the money in my account is extra and I have more to start over with or add if I blow up. In doing a lot of thinking it seems that somewhere, almost unconsciously, I have this fear of blowing up today, on the next trade. But I'd have to have months worth of losses with no winners to blow up, so that's not reasonable. It's something I'm getting a bit better with though, and I think the volatility helps that because my targets are hit very quickly - I don't really have the time to get nervous.
Negatives for the week:
1. Made a number of error trades and did not stick to my specific plan
2. Traded the Tuesday chaos when I really felt uncomfortable with price action
3. Made an error on a stop placement that cost me 4+ points between the loss and would be profit.
4. I was overly biased on more days than not.
Positives for the week:
1. I'm continuing to learn from my mistakes
2. When I got stopped out because of the tight stop, I did not get pissed and revenge trade. I also did not stop trading for the day, I took the next valid signal and followed my plan and the trade was a winner.
3. I recognized that I was too distracted by things around me (Twitter, chat room) and took steps to eliminate them. My ability to focus instantly improved.
4. I recognized that my stops are too tight and I need to increase them as the volatility has also increased.
5. Though I modified my morning routine, I stuck to the core of it. The modification was also helpful and I felt much less rushed.
6. I recognized on Friday that my bias is hampering my ability to react and take trades. My premarket routine has me do an analysis of what I think may play out and write a few scenarios. This is something I learned from FT71; all the people there do this. It's okay on days where I am correct, but on other days I am letting these things cloud my observations of the market once it opens. This causes a clash of ideas; I have a predisposed idea and new information that is contrary to that. This causes indecision, which causes me to be uneasy with a valid trade opportunity which causes hesitation which causes me to miss the trade. I am going to modify my morning routine starting Monday to eliminate any sort of premarket bias or prediction, instead focusing on where close SR zones are and where I see areas of volume congestion. I believe this will help me digest and accept the early market information I receive and will eliminate my hesitation when I see a good trading opportunity early on.
7. This is the biggest one by far. I had an entire day where I stuck to my trading plan 100%, did not get distracted, did not get overly biased. I was a bad stop placement away from having an absolute perfect trading day. I wrote a lot on this day and it's something I'm going to continue to go back to and re-read. I am going to focus on this day and remember how I felt. I am going to use this one day to eliminate a lot of my fears and nerves and I'm going to use it to show myself that I can follow my trading plan and when I do, positive things can happen.
Last edited by Comeback King; September 16th, 2016 at 04:30 PM.
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No predictions or scenarios that I will be looking for. I will say that I think it looks pretty tight and heavy below this 32.0 area; a lot of volume to work through. At the same time, I see some zones overhead that are quite close together. These don't present a great RR setup unless I've seen something incorrectly or the market does not react to one of these areas, which is quite possible.
My general thoughts going into next week are probably not unique; possible ranging days until the Fed news on Wednesday. Since that's the common perception I won't be surprised to see a big move, but I'll just focus on the charts and the internals and trade accordingly.
My goal for the week is to just take each trade that I see, understanding that each trade on it's own does not have an edge; the edge is built over a longer series of trades and within that series there will be winners and stops. It's up to me to follow my plan to take advantage of the winning trades, being patient and holding them to the target outlined in my trading plan.
Nice overnight range and we look to be opening near the upper end of that. 94% of the time the ONH or ONL is broken while only 21% of the time both are broken. Given where we are opening, the stats favor a break of the ONH. We also look to be gapping up off the open, somewhere between 8 and 10 points. There is an ~85% chance that the gap remains unfilled during RTH today.
Not making predictions here, but that statistics support price staying above Friday's close of 2132.0 and strongly favor staying above the ONL at 31.75 if we take out 2144.25 first. I will certainly be keeping an eye on these things today, particularly if we take out 44.25 then start to move lower.
The plan today is to just trust my setups and trade them, just like I did last Wednesday. Regardless of the P&L outcome, I will feel very good at the end of the day if I can trade my plan without errors.
Stats are done basically and we closed the gap; based on the open there was about an 80% chance of it being unfilled today. I missed a trade at 12:09; valid setup, looking back I should have taken it but it was right in the middle of that range so I skipped it. There was a long I skipped at 11:20 for the same reason that was a break even; the 12:09 short would have worked. Overall, I'm fine with these; I need to either take the signals no matter what or avoid them around congestion areas and/or near my SR zones. In the case of the 12:09 trade I would have been shorting into the bottom of my SR zone and I've told myself to not do this.
I did take a legitimate entry long at 13:06. I bailed pretty quickly as momentum went negative and got out at break even. This was the correct play per my plan, so I feel good there.
Overall I'm a bit surprised by the downside moves today. My internals still favor a long today so I'm happy for the market to move down, perhaps there will be an opportunity to get long at some point this afternoon. Either way, I'll continue to trade what I see and trade according to my plan.
End of Day
I didn't get any other setups today. The low at 27.75 had me intrigued given the volume spike but I never got a good entry.
Ended the day with 1 trade and flat. Coulda, shoulda, woulda on the trade from just after noon but I had a good reason for skipping it at the time. The market is so much easier to trade at the end of the day...
Last edited by Comeback King; September 19th, 2016 at 04:03 PM.
Reason: End of Day
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I'm sure the expectation was a pretty tight trading day but we got a good range and some nice range expansion (I look at this after the first 40 minutes). While Friday's value area was pretty tight, the composite value area since we've been in this range is from 2115.75 to 2136.0 (as far as I can see). With that, I suppose it's not too surprising that we pulled back into value today after the test higher off the open.
Another nice overnight range with ES looking to open 5-7 points higher than yesterday's close. We should open at or near yesterdays VAH but certainly within range. I have an SR zone just below pVAH so I'll be interested to see what price does in this area. It's possible that price will be attracted by the composite value area between 2136 and 2116.
I was not happy with my SR zones yesterday, particularly at 2138 and 2135. I went back and re-examined my process for determining these areas and I can see the reasoning, but I can also see why they didn't work out. I suppose I could have considered these as possible or minor SR zones. For today, I stayed away from these, only focusing on zones where I could really see a gap in volume. I'm not sure if I want to track more minor zones or not; that's something I need to think over more.
FOMC starts today. I suppose the general feel is a range type day with lower volatility and a smaller range. That's the most logical assumption but I'll work hard to just trade what I see.
I made 1 trade yesterday. Looking back through my charts and reviewing yesterday there were 4 setups; I traded #3. The first two were right around an SR zone and the market had little direction at that time. This is one of the SR zones I was not happy with. Looking back, both trades would have been okay (neither would have stopped out) but at the time both seemed like poor trades given their location. There was a signal in the afternoon just after the bottom. I did see the signal at the time but we also looked like we were overbought at the time so I preferred to buy a pullback at that time; a pullback that never came. Again, looking back the setup would have worked but given the context at that particular moment, it seemed like a higher risk trade that I'm not really interested in at this point.
I'm at the point where I want to be patiently aggressive, that's what I'm telling myself. I'm a bit torn as far as yesterday. I don't think I was trigger shy, but I don't want to get into the habit of looking for reasons to skip trades. At the same time, I don't want to get into what I feel are higher risk setups right now; I just want the Grade A ones. Once I get into a good habit of getting into those I'll consider the higher risk ones, but I need to start walking before I can run.
The larger point here is that I'm torn on what I did versus what I should have done. I'm not convinced I traded properly yesterday. I'm going to continue looking for my setups, being cautious and not getting into bad trades yet at the same time being patiently aggressive. It's a fine line and I'm not sure I actually know where it is. I'm sure I will find that line in time as I get more experience and "screen time".
Had a few meetings today but I didn't miss too much. Just could not get anything going today really. 12.5 point range felt like a lot less than that, probably because it's been a lot more than that lately. Tomorrow through Friday I am busy for parts of the morning but free most of the afternoon...just a really busy week this week unfortunately.
Last edited by Comeback King; September 20th, 2016 at 03:58 PM.
Reason: End of Day
Fed day tomorrow. I will be pretty busy in the morning but not until later so I might be able to trade if something sets up. Otherwise, I'll be ready to watch the fed reaction and perhaps trade that in the afternoon.
Quite a move overnight on the BOJ news. It's been many months ago now when I tried my hand and trading the initial Fed reaction. I didn't take a big loss, I think it was 3 or 4 points but I shorted the initial reaction down and damn near shorted the bottom tick. As tempting as it is for me to trade the reaction, it's too much of a coin flip. Sometimes we get the initial reaction that reverses hard and other times it seems that we keep going. More often we reverse hard, but it's not really a place I need to put my money.
So...I'll take trades that come up this morning and I'll be around later in the afternoon to trade as well. It kind of sucks that I'll be busy mid day today as I think that might be the best opportunity but, as the sign in front of me says, "Stay with the market, stay engaged. You don't know what will happen when."
I've not been active at all this week, just 1 trade for break even. I have seen some trades but each time there were too many questions, they were not clear as defined by my parameters. Sitting here on Wednesday, having made 1 trade all week, I look back with a bit of frustration - 2 days wasted. However, I am committed to trading my plan and only my plan, so I'm not going to compromise and start trading random stuff just because. At the end of the day I'm doing this to make money, not for some thrill ride. I'm going to try to be patiently aggressive again today and more importantly not doing anything stupid.
Calling it a day for now. I was extremely busy today until around 13:00; I peeked at my charts here and there but was not able to take trades. Looking back there were a few signals in the morning/early afternoon that were valid and profitable in hindsight. Tomorrow morning sucks too; I'm busy from around 10:00 until 12:30 and Friday isn't looking too hot in the morning. I should be able to pay attention both afternoon's and with no FOMC news perhaps the markets will be cooperative with me and offer a few trades.
Growing a little frustrated at this point as the time I have to possibly trade sucks and the times I can't seem okay. Perhaps that's just the way I'm seeing things now and not entirely true. I'm still going to stick to my plan and not trade outside of it but I almost feel that I just need to click the mouse a few times to make sure I can actually still do it!
Last edited by Comeback King; September 21st, 2016 at 03:50 PM.
Reason: Afternoon Update
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Nice expansion of value area and we built a nice high volume area 55.50 and 56.25 right near the close. Given the close I'm kind of wondering if we're now stuck in the July/August range that seems to start around 52/54. Perhaps we will reject and move down toward the most recent range or perhaps we will get sucked up into the 70's and 80's again. I suppose it's worth noting that the NQ made another ATH today.
Thursday will again be busy for me at work. The good news is that next week look nice and clear.
Thursday news at 8:30 and 10:00. There's also some news at 10:30 and 11:00 but those are not generally big movers.
So we're going to open above the close, high and value from yesterday. The general theory is that we could have a bullish trending day if we see good volume and aggressive buying on dips, or just aggressive buying off the open. VWAP is way above the 600 SMA, so that's also very bullish.
No predictions here but I'm going to be very careful with shorting today unless I see a series of lower highs that I get confirmation on from my momentum indicator. I don't want to get locked into a side today as I'm trying to get away from having a strong bias; thus far I've been able to do that this week. I think given what I am seeing at this moment that it is prudent to be cautious on the short side. If I'm not seeing good strength by 11:00 then I'll loosen up a bit on the short ideas and be more open to 2 way trades, but not before then.
I do have meetings from 10:30 to 12:30 today but I will be in my office and at my screens, so I'll be able to at least watch the action if not be able to trade it. I'm still going to focus on being patient but aggressively playing entries that fit my criteria, managing them properly. When I have time to dedicate 100% focus on trading I need to do just that, stay 100% focused. If I see something setting up, I need to divert my attention to trading if at all possible. I need to be comfortable in my discomfort.
Last edited by Comeback King; September 22nd, 2016 at 09:05 AM.
Reason: Morning Update
Complete garbage day, complete garbage week. I did take 1 trade today and scratched it, which was according to plan and fine. It would have played out for a winner but I have chosen to scratch these given the conditions; when I don't it's a little better than 50/50 in terms of winners but at this point I feel more comfortable getting flat and seeing what happens next. Although the range was quite tight today I missed several signals. Busy all day at work and I had to leave early so I was very distracted. I did see a trade in the morning but I just could not get into the trade, I just didn't want to do it. This is very bad. The trade was a part of my plan so I needed to just get in but I didn't. Very poor discipline on my part. I'm getting really pissed about this at this point.
Tomorrow morning is another day and another busy morning with meetings, etc. Normally people are not this needy but this week it's been full on. Hopefully I'll be able to focus after 11:00 or so. Hopefully I'll be able to pull the trigger and stay in a trade. I have gotten really jittery all of a sudden and very nervous, more so than usual. It's really concerning. Perhaps it's because work has been very busy this week and I'm trying to trade on top of it; maybe my nerves are frayed or something. I guess the only bright spot is that I'm not getting into trades that don't fit my plan.