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SoftSoap's NQ Journey - from SoftSoap to SoftGold
Started:August 28th, 2016 (01:13 PM) by SoftSoap Views / Replies:11,757 / 263
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SoftSoap's NQ Journey - from SoftSoap to SoftGold

Old September 21st, 2016, 05:19 PM   #81 (permalink)
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2016-09-21 End of Day Summary

Took 3 trades today, that was my maximum. My last trade was a loss so I wanted to take another trade, but I told myself I wouldn't take more than 3 haha. Honestly though the first trade I took I felt so much pressure for it to be a winning trade. With the last 3 trades I wanted to take but didn't get filled on being right, I wouldn't have wanted the 1st trade I actually took since my break last week to be a losing trade. So glad it was a 20+pt trade though!

There were 3 other trades I thought about taking though so I'll go over all of them.
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1 - Short 4821
  • Decided not to take the trade - would've been a loss
  • At 9:35 with a target of 4807 and stop at 4825.50. I saw a big gap from RTH open & close and I thought it would close, but it wasn't in my plan so I wasn't going to take it.

2 - Short 4824
  • Decided not to take the trade - would've been a loss
  • At 9:45, same target. I felt the same thing but this was the top of the 15 min balance area. But again, not in my plan and I'm working on my discipline
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3 - Short 4829.50
  • Decided to take the trade, did not get filled - would've been a win
  • More detail in a post above, but I first took 15 seconds too long to put the order in, and then it came back to the tick but I didn't get filled

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4 - Long 4803.50
  • Initial target was 4824, exited out at 4830.25
  • This was honestly an excellent trade and an almost perfect execution. I got in at a good time once the algos settled down, I watched the trade closely and I got out almost at the top before the pullback.
  • This is my typical news setup. Give it a couple seconds to stabilize and go the way of the news. Get out before the pullback. It's only failed me once $-wise but it never fails to raise my heartrate

5 - Long 4814.25
  • I was planning to hold this for the majority of the day or until it hit 4947 if it hit that (which it did). I scaled in this one when I took the 4803.50 long and I was hoping it would survive a pullback. The pullback on the market was a lot stronger than I expected though and I got stopped out at a break-even point. It's a shame because it went quite a bit after but what can you do

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6 - Short at 4842
  • This one is a bit of a silly one. I wasn't going to take any other trades and I was hesitant to take a long trade near all time-highs specially with the I felt a bit of pressure from my wife to take this trade but I shouldn't let anybody influence my trading. Not even the wife.
  • There was some thinking around this though, here's what I wrote in my journal right before I entered

  • Quoting 
    Setting this trade a tick above the current all time high.
    The reason is that it is late in the session and while I do expect to finish high, I donít necessarily expect to finish the session at an all time high much higher than a couple of points. This would give me enough strength to take a risk up until 4846.50.
    There is a part of me that feels we could trend for another 10-15 points, but weighing out the options the short opportunity seemed more fitting.

  • Some reasoning so I don't suffer hindsight bias, but I clearly made a mistake. Do not bet against a strong bull market after a non-decision fed meeting haha

3 things I did well today
  1. I engaged my decision making in all of my trades
  2. I was patient
  3. I started off with a winning trade

3 things I could improve on
  • Faster decision making, I'm okay with the progress I'm making but I definitely need to speed things up
  • Not letting external forces influence my decision making
  • Not trading against the trend after big news

Overall I'm very happy with today's performance. I've been happy with my decision making as of late, as well as my ability to not take trades. I feel it has given me a lot of clarity and kept me emotionally stable.

Now I know what a good state of mind feels like, I have to work hard on continuing this and not going back to old habits. Sounds easy but it'll be a lot of work.


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Old September 22nd, 2016, 10:09 AM   #82 (permalink)
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2016-09-22 Prep

  • Positive news market wise yesterday started big bull trend
  • Finally got us out of this sub 4840 balance area
  • No major news coming up that give a lot of uncertainty
  • Fundamental focus will now shift to the GE, first debate will be on Monday so we'll see if the initial focus will be on fiscal policy that the market won't like or if the candidates will choose to focus on other hot topics, or comedy
  • Q3 ends this month so we should start seeing some big NQ corporate earnings in a couple of weeks
  • Today will be tricky to trade because we are in AT highs and untested territory, I'll have to watch the market more as I'm not sure where to set my alarms apart from obvious points like 4900 area and 4850-4840
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There are a few scenarios:
  • Continue break-out, pull back a bit at around the 4895-4900 mark, then continue with the creeping bull trend
  • Continue break-out, pull back a big chunk around the 4895-4900 mark, then speed up and get into leaper bull mode
  • Squeeze the bulls out at first, hit an area maybe 4850 or 4840 (maybe less) and then continue bull move
  • Find a resistance zone and balance between 4840 and that resistance zone (maybe after an open market squeeze, would this a long squeeze or short squeeze? you are squeezing the longs so it's a long squeeze right? lol)
  • Completely reverse the move and get back into the sub 4840 balance area

Because I'll be watching the market more than I have these last few days, I need to have more discipline around FOMO. If you do see a creeping bull market, you will want to find a pullback to get yourself in. Try an hold until at least the 4890 unless you see sellers taking over the market through volume.

Today will be a good day to test my discipline.

Edit- If we have a creeping bull market, don't look for short opportunities please.
Draghi talking? I totally missed this in my news, going to have to watch closely I guess. Gotta love bloomberg news for picking up my slack.

Psychology goals today
  • Engage decision making in all trades
  • 0 FOMO trades
  • 0 Emotional trades
  • Maximum 2 trades today

Things to watch at open
  • Total volume - will we see LT players step in after market has settled? I don't see why enter today and not yesterday but still look out for it
  • Volume profiles - any signs of a potential trend bull day? Where will we see resistance?
  • How fast will we get close to the 4900 - will this be a creeper or a leaper market?
  • Where will the market find resistance?

Yesterday's excellence is today's standard and tomorrow's mediocrity

Last edited by SoftSoap; September 22nd, 2016 at 10:22 AM.
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Old September 22nd, 2016, 12:28 PM   #83 (permalink)
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First trade today


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First entry today
Waited to see whether or not we were going to skyrocket bull or squeeze some of the long trades and we pulled back a bit. I was watching patiently until I saw a lot of volume being eaten up at the 4871.50, I watched it once and waited to see what would happen once it hit it again. It absorbed the volume the second time so I took a trade just above it to secure a fill.
Looks like a good entry, I was happy with it

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Then I looked to see if there were any very obvious signs that the initial bear move at the open was resistance, I didn't see any. On the 24hr it looked more like resistance but that could've also been because that's where the price was in the last hour or so

Iím nervous haha. Usually I would try to suppress my anxiety / fear but I need to accept it. What I need to focus on is not letting it cloud my judgment.
Letís analyze
The volume profile is looking a bit bearish. The wicks also currently have a bear momentum and we have established a new VPOC at the 4877.50 mark.

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The entry I have is good not just because itís close to the RTH low, but because it is very close to the area where we saw aggressive buying.
My stop point is below the 4870 mark so selling would have to outpace whatever orders are sitting above the 4870 mark.



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My heart wants me out because it doesnít like uncertainty. But after engaging my more deliberate thinking, Iím not seeing any reason to exit this trade right now, but it will need to be watched closely.

Honestly it keeps balancing around the same area and now the VA is very tight. However, I still havenít been proven wrong on my entry as we havenít come that close to it. I think this is a time where I have to step away for some time to avoid over thinking it

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This looks like it will explode either up or down, my risk is very low and my target is quite high so it's a 4-1 trade which should get me to stay
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We reach 4888 and the market starts to move back a bit. At first I feel it's just a small pullback no biggie but as it starts to get bigger I start to get more nervous.
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EMOTIONS JOURNAL PIECE FOR FUTURE- When the market pulls back more than expected I get nervous, I start to get a bit upset, I start to second guess myself quite a bit, I start to look for reasons as to why I should leave or stay in the trade. However, it seems as if my mind is thinking a lot but without little structure. It's finding little pieces here and there but it's hard for it to focus on the big picture while under stress.
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As I wrote that above, I thought to myself that I was looking for too many reasons as to why I should stay in the trade. The market is definitely uncertain and it's getting very close to my 4874 stop so I decided to make a hard decision right now.
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The profile looked bearish, the 15 minute shows a change in the trend. My choice is either to lower my stop below 4870 and stay in the trade, or exit the trade now because the signs look quite bearish.

I made the decision to walk away with a W, although a much smaller win that I had hoped. In retrospect, that 4885 initial target would've been better if I didn't move it haha

Overall this shows what happens when I watch the market too closely. Pretty much as soon as I exited the trade I saw I gained 2pts by leaving early, but if things went well the potential was 15 extra points. 2/15 is a killer R/R so by those standards it made sense to stay. HOWEVER, this is hindsight bias and I clearly didn't think about this as the market was moving against me.

I think what would be nice is a checklist of questions or something that can force me to ask myself the right questions when in a pressure situation like the market is moving against me.

I'll set an alarm for the 4780 area to see if I should enter into a trade there.

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Old September 22nd, 2016, 12:44 PM   #84 (permalink)
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I just finished re-reading my last post. While I walked away with a win, I want to note some key mistakes made psychologically. Now I get that this is a bit trickier of a market to trade as we are in 1) untested territory and 2) the value area is like 5 points , but that doesn't mean I shouldn't focus on improving my psychology.
  • I focused too much on what had happened recently, I didn't look at the big picture.
  • I was watching the market tick by tick, you don't want to do that because one tick against you will have more of a negative impact than one tick in your favor will give you a positive impact. Edit- 26 minutes of watching the market tick by tick go against you is tough haha.
  • The market was uncertain and was flip flopping, so I became uncertain and started flip flopping.

You've got to calmly analyze what's in front of you. I think something that would help me would be to take a screenshot of the data I need to make a decision, and block myself from looking at the tick by tick info. Then I should make a decision based on the data in front of me, and execute on that decision. Once I make any changes (if any were required), then walk away for 15-30 minutes or until your stop or target is hit. You have already made a decision and you will either be right or wrong. It feels great to be right and make $, and it's okay to be wrong as a trader. Flip flopping is just an emotional drain and will put you in analysis paralysis for this trade, and it will negatively impact your next trade.


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Old September 22nd, 2016, 02:47 PM   #85 (permalink)
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Micromanagement strikes again

Futures Edge on FIO
So fear got the best of me again haha. I got out a point above the lowest point of the drawdown, right before it started to creep up bullishly!
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My stop was 4874, it was never hit
My target was 4892.25, and that was hit, that means my fear cost me 15.50 points of potential profit, yikes.
But hey, my goal is long-term growth and not short-term profits, this is just another data point that shows I need to make good decisions and stick by them!

Thinking about it, I'm going to add something about that to my psychology prep, so I remind myself constantly

Now onto the next potential trade. Looking at the daily candles I see that we are up 40 points from open and into all-time high territory but with extremely low volume. This shows traders are hesitant to go hard on this bull move.
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Could we see a big reversal soon and a correction? Right now I'm thinking about it, buuttttttttt I go back to my trading plan and this is what I wrote

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So yeah, I'm going to sit out on this one

Right now it's unlikely I'll take another trade unless the market drops like 25-30 pts and I can take a bull position. I'll set an alarm for it I guess but I'll go read my trading book and think instead.


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Old September 22nd, 2016, 05:16 PM   #86 (permalink)
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Another psychology related moment

I want to give you an inside look at what happened in my head today, and how I think a lot differently now because I understand myself better. I can thank my journaling at FIO a lot for that.

Look at the post above and youíll see that I had a fantastic entry, good target, great increased stop, but my fear got the best of me and I made a panic exit.

When I make an emotional decision that either leads to a loss or not as big of a win, my brain immediately focuses on the negatives. I think about things such as the potential unrealized profit, how I made a bad judgment call, and it makes the day feel gloomier than it actually was.

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Thankfully through this journaling process Iíve discovered that this is one of my keystone habits. And while awareness doesnít do much on its own, I can now consciously combat it as it happens.

Example, now I remind myself that my goal is long-term growth and not short-term profits. So I feel comfortable with whatever decision I made, as long as I'm learning and growing as a trader. Also, I made it one more day in the trading world. Thatís an amazing thing to be thankful for. I didnít break down today, I didnít go all-in, I didnít take 10 extra contracts to make up the loss, I didnít blow my account or take a huge loss. As a matter of fact, I took some points off the market, so why be mad when my account is bigger now? The longer you survive the higher chance you will have to succeed, remember that (assuming you are continuously improving of course).

Then you need to focus on the positives. I had a lot of positives in my one trade today.

I got one of the best entries in the RTH session, literally 1 point above the RTH low, I also got it while the market was moving against me. I had a great target, which was the high of the day. How often can you say you bought 1 point from the bottom and targeted the top of the day? Even if you didn't hold out it is still something to be happy about, you are making progress. Also, the entry I had was not emotional at all and it was purely off reading the market and having my trading plan in the back of my mind. I told myself in the plan look for a pullback and go long, and I acted fast and got a fantastic fill. For the most part I followed my plan.

See? there are lots of things to be happy for.

Growing as a trader
Growing as a trader requires not only that you improve your reading in price action, market structure, news, etc. but it requires that you grow as an individual. If you only focus on the negatives you will belittle yourself, and never be happy with your performance. There is nobody out there that can win 100% of the trades, and maximize every single trade, it's impossible. So if you always focus on the things that you missed, you will always come up short.

The picture below is meaningful to me not because it's artistic (because it's not), but because the message is very powerful.

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Every single day you make a choice.
  • Will you be angry that the market didn't go the way you wanted it to? Or will you be keen to learn how to read it right the next time?
  • Will you be mad at yourself for cutting your profits short? Or choose to improve your psychology so that you can hold and maximize profits?
  • Will you be mad that you're not profitable? Or choose to dedicate yourself to becoming profitable?
I know what my answers are.


Being a profitable trade boils down to many choices, which will you make?



PS-If you are reading this and are still on the fence about starting your journal, what are you waiting for?

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Old September 23rd, 2016, 10:59 AM   #87 (permalink)
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2016-09-23 Prep

  • News wise Manufacturing Index at 945
  • Canada retail sales are down, what kind of impact will that have on the NQ? when it was announced it sure had little-to-no impact
  • Japan stuff ON was a bit better than expected, honestly right now I am not sure how stuff like that would impact the NQ. In general is Japan good = NQ bad? I need to research more about the Japan impacts
  • Up about 60 pts from this week's open. Big uncertainty on interest rate is now out of the way so as a long-term investor I don't see why I would be exiting today, but I'll be watching to see any signs of them stepping in today
  • Overall looks to be somewhat of a quiet day, hopefully we at least reach the ATR of 50, we are currently at 14 from ON session so things have been tight

Psychology goals
  • 2 trades maximum
  • 0 FOMO trades
  • 0 Emotional trades
  • Engage deliberate thinking in all trades

A couple of scenarios today
  • Range day - We balance between 4870 and 4895, give or take a few points. Similar day to yesterday, with a slow market. Hit 70 first, then bounce to 90, then back down, etc. End at around the middle area
  • Bit stronger range day - Hit 70 area, dip from it a bit and trend up to 90 zone, chop around it for a bit and then hit 4900. Force comes in at 4900 to close out positions / take shorts and the market trends down
  • End of Week reversal - We are at AT highs, those with bull positions and don't want to hold ON will look for an opportunity to exit before end of week. We chop around the open but we never make it to the 4890 area, we then trend down until who knows when (60, 50, 40 zone?)
I'll take a maximum of 2 trades today, so I'll have to read the market properly in order to take the right setups. Here are the only setups I'll take today
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  1. ~4910 Zone (untested Resistance)
    • If you see signs of slowing down this is probably the only trade you can preemptively trade, specially if it is later in the afternoon
  2. ~4900 Zone (untested Resistance)
    • LF Short
    • Only enter preemptively if you see market slowing down a lot at around the 4894+ area
    • The later in the day this is, the better this setup looks
  3. ~4890 Zone (tested 2x yesterday)
    • LF Short
    • Watch very closely the first time this gets hit, will this zone be respected at all or will we be looking towards the 4900 area?
    • Be careful with this zone because of what is said above
    • Do not enter preemptively
    • Look for signs of market slowing down starting at ~4888 if you will go in assuming exhaustion
    • Target 4875 at least
    • Setting a stop will be tricky here
    • The later in the day, the better it will be to take this setup
  4. ~4875 Zone (tested 3x yesterday)
    • LF long
    • Do not enter preemptively
    • Unless you see big volume and aggressive buying, do not enter
    • You might be tempted to get in fast on this, but you need to be prepared to pass on this setup
    • Watch for the volume profiles, look to see how quickly price is being absorbed and at which levels
    • If the bear force is too strong your stop will likely be hit so again, exercise extra caution
    • If this gets broken easily, you will be tempted by a break-down trade, don't take it. It might look good but right now I'm finding it hard to see this dropping like 20-30 points to be worth the risk
  5. 4860 Zone (untested Support)
    • LF long
    • As with any untested zones, watch them very closely before making a decision - you want to see strong signs of change happening
    • Do not enter preemptively
    • Unless you see big volume and aggressive buying, do not enter
    • You might be tempted to get in fast on this, but you need to be prepared to pass on this setup
    • Watch for the volume profiles, look to see how quickly price is being absorbed and at which levels
    • If the bear force is too strong your stop will likely be hit so again, exercise extra caution
  6. 4850 Zone (untested Support)
    • As with any untested zones, watch them very closely before making a decision - you want to see strong signs of change happening
    • Do not enter preemptively
    • Unless you see big volume and aggressive buying, do not enter
    • You might be tempted to get in fast on this, but you need to be prepared to pass on this setup
    • Watch for the volume profiles, look to see how quickly price is being absorbed and at which levels
    • If the bear force is too strong your stop will likely be hit so again, exercise extra caution late in the day
  7. 4840 Zone (Used to be top of ~30 day balance area, unsure of strength)
    • We should see force stepping in around this area, if we don't and it still looks like a creep market, just chill out
Here are my alarms, I haven't set the ones on extreme yet as they might not be necessary
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Things to watch in the open
  1. Signs that this is not going to be a range day, but a trend day
  2. Volume profiles- what zones will hold?
  3. Total volume- will smaller time-frame players control the market as they did yesterday? or will some of the big guys step in today?

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Old September 23rd, 2016, 01:03 PM   #88 (permalink)
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First trade

First alarm went off relatively fast. I took a look at the situation and analyzed it to see whether or not I should enter. Signs showed market was going to drop more so I passed on the trade. This was good decision making.

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The market then dropped some more and I saw a lot of buying at the 4868.25 area. I still wasn't convinced to enter, but I knew the signs were getting stronger so I was going to look to enter sometime soon.

What made me go from not yet to enter in an order right now was the DOM.

I looked at the dom and there were over 300 contracts on the buy side sitting at 4868. Usually in the DOM i see like 30-80 so 300 was a lot and I thought that big force was going to step into the market so I should fill a tick before they do. I usually like to fill a couple of ticks / points behind orders like that as I find that price can slice down fast before being stopped at that area.
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However, that order disappeared pretty much as soon as we hit 4868.25 (where my fill was). I didn't get a chance to take a picture but you can see how little volume there was at the 4868 area after it passed it, which within seconds it dropped like 2-3 points.

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Was this my first encounter with spoofing? Did I just get suckered into thinking that 4868 was going to see a big reversal but it didn't? If you are reading this and have experienced something like this I'd love to hear your take on it.

Either way I was in the market and signs for reversal were strong, I just wasn't sure if my fill was going to hold out. I debated increasing my risk but I went against it as there was a strong chance the market would speed up bearishly. Was it the right decision? I don't know to be honest, but it did end up costing me.
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I analyzed things a few minutes later and I came to the conclusion that I either caught the falling knife or I just caught the pullback. But learning from yesterday when I panic exited because I didn't do a proper R/R I did one quickly. Doing that plus seeing other signs made me realize that I had a good trade, the only thing that worried me was my entry point.

I debated getting out of the trade almost break-even, and setting down an entry point about 3 points below my original entry point but that felt more like a fear / loss aversion decision than anything.

I decided that I had good analysis and a good decision. So I stuck with it.

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Unfortunately I got stopped

The market went down 2 ticks below my stop and then moved up. The error here could be either Bad Entry point, Too Early, or Low Risk. I do wish I was still in the trade but when you try to trade counter to the trend, you are going to be off by a couple of ticks from time to time. At least I had the right idea!

Psychology wise though I'm very happy with this trade. I held out and fought against fear to not exit the trade. I stuck by my decision making and was just a tad off on my entry point. There'll be times where my stop will be 2 ticks away from being hit and then the trend will turn!

I've got one trade left and I'm not actively watching the market as it is very slow. We are at half the ATR so far and very behind on volume. Looks like short-term players are controlling the market and I'm looking for 15+ pt moves so I don't see me stepping back into the market under these conditions.

However, I've set my alarms in case conditions do change, and I'll check the charts around 1:45 EST to see how things go.

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Old September 23rd, 2016, 03:36 PM   #89 (permalink)
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Alarms went off so I came back a bit earlier than expected. Bloomberg was talking about rumours that AAPL sales sucked, Fed talked about potentially limiting commodity trading so that probably put the ES on edge ES and with HFT those moves all get multiplied

At ~4860 I saw 0 signs of a trend reversal so I didn't even consider getting in there. That was the right decision.

At ~4856 I started to see some signs of slowing down but with everything red and a strong move I wanted more confirmation that this could reverse.
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Seeing more signs now but strong enough? Not really, I'm feeling like 55-45% on the reversal atm
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Over here I wanted to place an order at 4851 but that would've been an emotional decision because we broke through the 4856 volume and then came down it very fast without many signs of slowing down.

To counter a move like this I want to see force, I want to see aggressive buying stopping the big sell off

It looks like the aggressive selling stopped and the aggressive buying started so the profile didn't leave as strong of a trace to be confident on. This was a tough decision to pass up on as I felt confident the trend would reverse, but not sure on the price level. I decided that there were too many things I was uncertain about so I should skip out on the trade. There'll be plenty more opportunities.

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Currently it;s at about 4861 so that might've been the bottom of the day, but who knows. If the things I'm looking for are not that strong and I take the trade, then it becomes a gamble.
I'm here to trade not gamble.

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Old September 23rd, 2016, 06:01 PM   #90 (permalink)
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2016-09-23 Summary


Psychology goals
  • 2 trades maximum - Passed
  • 0 FOMO trades - Passed
  • 0 Emotional trades - Passed, but I did get tempted
  • Engage deliberate thinking in all trades - Passed
1 trade taken today, I've detailed it above so I won't bring up more apart from say that it would've been stopped out regardless. There was only 1 profitable opportunity according to my plan and I passed up on it. It was the 4850 trade and the signs weren't strong enough for me to commit. I'll have to wait until next week .

I'm overall finding it easier to pass up trades and force myself to think before clicking the trade button. This is good because with my head in check, my edge should show. Then I can focus on improving my edge as opposed to fighting with my head.

3 things I did well
  • Patience
  • Fought fear
  • Analyzed every potential entry

3 things I could improve on
  • While I had 7 setups today they all depended on a range day. Some contingencies would be nice
  • Knowing what to prioritize
  • No 3rd, only took 1 trade

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