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Murtaugh's Trading Journal


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Murtaugh's Trading Journal

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  #1 (permalink)
Murtaugh
Newark, Delaware, United States of America
 
 
Posts: 10 since Oct 2021
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Hello, folks. I am a student looking to make trading my primary source of income over time. After having some success investing in GameStop in September of last year, I gradually shifted to trading options, then SPY options, then futures.

I've participated in Topstep and Earn2Trade's programs with little success.

After a pretty bad last three weeks, in which I lost ~48% of the initial deposit in my futures account, I am starting a trading journal here so I can keep myself accountable.

I know what my primary issue is, which is a lack of confidence in myself and my positions, even though, statistically, I am correct more often than not. This leads to me exiting positions early and not reversing my positions when I feel I should. I've lost far more money from hesitation and failing to listen to my intuition than straight up taking incorrect trades.

I have a tendency to revenge trade, which I have been working on curbing, and have begun setting myself stricter rules.

I have moved away from trading /ES and currently trade 1 lot of /MES. I plan to do this until I have a positive expectancy and feel confident enough to move to 2 lots, then 3, and eventually back to /ES. I started too big and it cost me dearly.

I primarily use RSI, Bollinger Bands, VWAP, and exponential moving averages. I am learning to use tick charts and order flow, and would greatly appreciate any input for beginners on how to read these properly and effectively.

I finally had my first green day last Friday, and I intend to continue that trend as best I can.

My rules are:

1. $50 daily loss limit. If I hit this, I stop trading for the day.
2. Trade 1 lot of /MES only, until I develop greater confidence and a positive expectancy.
3. A maximum of 5 trades per trading day, for now.
4. Pay attention to the indicators I use, they are there for a reason.
5. Trust my intuition and feelings.

I would greatly appreciate any input and/or criticism from those who have been trading longer.

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  #2 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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Murtaugh View Post
I would greatly appreciate any input and/or criticism from those who have been trading longer.

Sure. This is practically everyone's experience at first. The step of keeping and posting to a journal can be very helpful, because it can force you to objectively (or at least explicitly) assess your trades, what you did that worked, what did not.

Everyone is different, but you may want to think on these areas:

- Do you have clear rules or criteria for taking a trade?
- Do they work, at least when you review them in hindsight?
- If they work, do you follow them when it's time to pull the trigger? Or do you do something else? If something else, does it work?
- If, or actually when, you have losses, since you will, do you let them grow or do you control them?

Or to put it more simply, do you have a method, can you keep your head when it's time to trade it, and do you control your losses?

Most people, if honest, will say something like "sometimes" to all the above. If you can move the "sometimes" more in the direction of "often," you will usually be much better off.

Not all methods/rules/procedures/whatever work, of course, but if you are really consistent in applying yours, you will be much better positioned to figure out what to do next, if you need to.

Good luck.

Bob.

When one door closes, another opens.
-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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  #3 (permalink)
Murtaugh
Newark, Delaware, United States of America
 
 
Posts: 10 since Oct 2021
Thanks: 7 given, 10 received



bobwest View Post

Everyone is different, but you may want to think on these areas:

- Do you have clear rules or criteria for taking a trade?
- Do they work, at least when you review them in hindsight?
- If they work, do you follow them when it's time to pull the trigger? Or do you do something else? If something else, does it work?
- If, or actually when, you have losses, since you will, do you let them grow or do you control them?

Or to put it more simply, do you have a method, can you keep your head when it's time to trade it, and do you control your losses?

Most people, if honest, will say something like "sometimes" to all the above. If you can move the "sometimes" more in the direction of "often," you will usually be much better off.

Thank you for your feedback, I greatly appreciate it.

Now that you mention it, I have some vague rules for when to take a trade, such as at peaks and troughs of RSI, at the end of trends in either direction, and generally when my intuition says I should. I set stop-losses and profit-taking values, but I don't have truly concrete rules I follow for every trade I make.

That's definitely something I should think about. I honesty hadn't thought of that, and don't think I would have for a while. I've been more focused on overarching rules and techniques.

Even with those criteria I have, sometimes I don't follow them due to being flustered, or to doubting myself, and it tends to be those occasions where I lose. Something to work on, definitely.

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  #4 (permalink)
 tr8er 
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Murtaugh View Post
Thank you for your feedback, I greatly appreciate it.

Now that you mention it, I have some vague rules for when to take a trade, such as at peaks and troughs of RSI, at the end of trends in either direction, and generally when my intuition says I should. I set stop-losses and profit-taking values, but I don't have truly concrete rules I follow for every trade I make.

That's definitely something I should think about. I honesty hadn't thought of that, and don't think I would have for a while. I've been more focused on overarching rules and techniques.

Even with those criteria I have, sometimes I don't follow them due to being flustered, or to doubting myself, and it tends to be those occasions where I lose. Something to work on, definitely.

Yes rules are most important things you need for your trading, but first at all all the best for your journey

What you call "intuition" has nothing to do with intuition, because intuition comes from experience and for me it seems atm you don't have experience enough (if it comes to futures-trading), so in my opinion what you call intuition is just "trade what you think" and trading what your thinking is never (or at least very seldom) good for trading. Trade what you see and not what you think. Take it slow and trade well.

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  #5 (permalink)
Murtaugh
Newark, Delaware, United States of America
 
 
Posts: 10 since Oct 2021
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tr8er View Post
Yes rules are most important things you need for your trading, but first at all all the best for your journey

What you call "intuition" has nothing to do with intuition, because intuition comes from experience and for me it seems atm you don't have experience enough (if it comes to futures-trading), so in my opinion what you call intuition is just "trade what you think" and trading what your thinking is never (or at least very seldom) good for trading. Trade what you see and not what you think. Take it slow and trade well.

Thank you for your well wishes.

You are right, I don't have much experience with futures. Intuition is probably the wrong term for what I'm trying to describe, to be honest. I've found that the less I think about the trades that I'm making, the better I tend to do. Overthinking things is something I struggle with.

Acting on feelings based on what I see and interpret in front of me is generally more successful, and what I was trying to get across by saying intuition. I'm not sure what to call it. It's generally a physical urge or prompt, like a cold feeling in my body, coupled with a mental urge, where I just know a certain movement will take place, and then it does. Working on understanding just how I know is probably extremely important. That will help me understand the positions that I take better, and make me a better trader.

Maybe it's a gut feeling, but I'm not just eschewing charts and taking positions because of what I feel will happen at the time. I just know from experience that ignoring it doesn't end well. The issues come when I doubt myself and/or overthink what I'm doing.

I don't know if any of what I said makes sense to you, maybe it sounds foolish, but hopefully it clarifies, for good or for ill.

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 Scalpingtrader 
Legendary Amateur Trader
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if you trade with RSI (or if you don't, generally, beware of building the same bad habit that many of us did in the beginning - which is to try and anticipate the trend reversal.
Especially with RSI it's easy to get sucked into selling tops and buying bottoms. With the notable issue that in a trending market, tops may not be "the top" and bottoms not "the bottom" i.e. you'll get torn apart real quick.

apart from that I would, if I started over again here on FIO:
- be curious, question everything (internally) and try to get to the fundamental "why" behind whatever you study/want to use in your trading
- read the Spoo-nalysis thread front-to-end . Then read it again & take notes.
- initially, focus on the fundamental understanding of the market, including learning to understand and read orderflow before going to price/volume derivatives like most every indicator. Doesn't mean you have to scalp-trade with the DOM, but having a deep understanding of the basic mechanics of the market and what happens on a very short-term basis will help you greatly in everything else. I must admit I wanted to be "lazy" and look at charts only for far too long. Last year I started using footprint charts, which are one form of looking into the transactional level - that got me started and sold me on the benefits. Now, I am taking the next step and work on actually watching the DOM. I recommend jigsaw's youtube channel if you are interested in this topic. Peter has a TON of material freely available - certainly enough for you to decide if it's something you want to invest into further.
- Book recommendation: One Good Trade by Mike Bellafiore
- think about what kind of trader you a) want to be and b) realistically can be for the forseeable future.
i.e. wanting to be a daytrader that trades the first 2 hours of RTH is nice and all, but if you'll never be at your desk during RTH morning session, you might be much better off looking into swing-trading styles that fit your life-schedule right from the start.

P.S.: This post, too, falls under "question everything".
If you are extra-lucky @josh will give you a hint or two in the right direction.

Good luck and welcome aboard,
ST.

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 bobwest 
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@Murtaugh, You're getting some good advice.

Just remember, when anyone makes a recommendation, that it's their solution. You aren't them, and will never trade like them.

Which doesn't mean you shouldn't listen. And also, as @Scalpingtrader says, "question everything".

We do learn from each other, in our separate ways.

Bob.

When one door closes, another opens.
-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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 josh 
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Good call to move to MES. It's a good, liquid contract.

If you're getting in at good spots and not taking heat immediately, consider moving to 2 contracts so you can pay for your trade. If you aren't getting in at good spots and are taking heat after getting in, then stick with 1 for now. If this doesn't work, go back to 1.

Revenge trading will kill your account and cost you years of your life, quite literally. Don't do it. Imagine yourself as a professional trader, sitting on a prop desk. How many days would you be allowed to demonstrate that type of behavior? I'll answer it for you: one. Exceeding loss limits (which happens almost always when revenge trading) is grounds for immediate dismissal anywhere, because you can't be trusted. So, hold yourself accountable as a risk manager would hold you accountable. Respect yourself enough to know when you need to alter your behavior, and do it like your life depends on it.

You can find different ways to make money. Keeping money, by avoiding self-destructive behavior, is often the really hard part. Figure this out, and you'll probably be ok in the long run.

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Murtaugh
Newark, Delaware, United States of America
 
 
Posts: 10 since Oct 2021
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I only traded once last week, on Tuesday, 11/02/2021. I decided to take some time away from trading and spent the latter half of the week in Venice. My time away and a clearer mind should help me going forward.

I made three short MES trades on Tuesday, 2 losers, one winner, for a very small net loss. One of those losses would have ended up in profit had I not anxiety sold, and the winner would have been significantly deeper in profit had I not exited before my profit taking level.

I made those trades based on chart patterns and overall feel, and was proven correct, but sold before my thesis could play out. Hesitation in entering positions and anxiety while holding positions is still an issue for me, even with such small positions. Perhaps trading less actively and stepping away from the charts after entering would benefit me, letting my stops and profit taking levels do the work, and letting me develop some more confidence in my technique when trading live.

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Murtaugh
Newark, Delaware, United States of America
 
 
Posts: 10 since Oct 2021
Thanks: 7 given, 10 received


I hope everyone has been well thus far this week.

I traded two MES contracts yesterday, both losing trades. My heart wasn't really in it, I suppose, and I failed to take profit on one of them when I should have. I didn't reverse either of the positions when I knew I should have, and that hurt me.

Today I made all 5 trades I've allowed myself, 3 losers and 2 winners. I did resist the temptation to break that rule near the end of the day, though it was a close thing. I do need to continue improving my self discipline.

The first trade was a repeat of the previous day's failure to reverse my position. The next four I had a little more confidence and successfully reversed trades when I felt I was wrong, finishing with a positive expectancy and my second, and largest, positive day since I started trading futures last month.

I held the largest winner longer than I normally would have, which resulted in a larger profit, so there was some improvement there. I still need to work on not micromanaging or exiting positions early, but I do feel I showed some progress today on that front. That's no reason for me to become complacent, though. If I stop overthinking and letting anxiety and self doubt get to me, my results rapidly improve.

I noticed that I have a strong bias to the short side. Most my losing trades are shorts that were stopped out. Both of my winning trades today came from quickly reversing a short position. I will try to take this into account going forward.

Good luck and best wishes to my fellow traders going forwards.

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