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MT trading journal and learning log
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MT trading journal and learning log

  #31 (permalink)
Elite Member
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Trading journal and log 3-23

Feedback from the futures.io (formerly BMT) community about my question has been very helpful and I find msyelf reading it over severa times. The steps I am now taking I should have taken years ago, but didn't. No question that having one setup to master is a different experience for me. I also allows me to see better what is happening. Watching for one pattern midst the chaos of the market kept me focused yesterday.

It is 930 and I am maintaining the log of trades with details. It is a significant learning experience to log each trade, both those taken and not taken. Will post the results later this day.

This is the first time in my years of trading that I have had a specfic pattern-based easy-to-follow, documented and measurable trading plan. Quite a difference from what I have been doing in the past.

So far I have made 2 trades and did not take 2 trades. The first trade I took I got anxious and bailed for 2 tick loss - it went on to hit my target exit. The 2nd tarde was a picture-perfect setup and entry with a planned target that was hit for 7 tick profit.

Ranking my competence score ofr each trade from 1-10 is helping me really think about how I go about executing my trading plan.

It is now 1155 and I put on another trade - I entered a bit early yet trusted that the trading setup was lining up as I have sen it do so many times.
I was about 15 minutes early but had a reasonable stop in and was willing to risk 6 ticks to make 9 or more. See notes in trading log.
Trading Log 3-23 real money trading

B/S Entry /time
Stop
Target
Exit
Result
Reason for trade - competence score

1 b 700 1282.25

1284.75

1281


Did not take trade - clear setup and entry - fast bar down intimidated me CS 0

2 s 741 1280.75

1282.25

1279.25

1281.25

-2 T
Clear setup excellent entry - did not let it move - got anxious and exited for loss CS 3

NOTE 800 AM




Note buy setup at 8 am after double bottom; not defined as part of trading plan

3 b 828 1283.5

1283

1285.25

1285.25

Marked trade though not taken when I went to get coffee - no CS
*
4 B 922 1285.25

1284

1287

1287

+ 7 T
Great setup and entry - hit target for exit
CS 10
++
5 B 1020 1288.50

1287

1290

Hit T

Marked trade - Did not take - exercising
**
6B 1129 1290.50

1289

1292.25

Hit target

+ 7 T
Entered before 2brev and 3-9 cross - stop in place risk 6 ticks - at 1144 started to break out
See note below CS 7
Profitable but premature entry

7B 1214 1294.5






Did not take grabbing lunch - a 4 tick trade






Did not take grabbing lunch - a 4 tick trade

reinforcing day for me of the value of trading with a clear, documented , defined plan average competence score = 5.3
* body got anxious as price met resistance - managed that and the trade well - could have let my stop ride it and for now I am pleased with the trade and how I followed my plan exactly
++ this trade was in a small trading range - I would have most likely hesitated to enter given my memories of past losses from entering setups in trading ranges - this setup worked well and is worthy of study
**tough hanging in there while it was consolidating - set my stop and was willing to risk 6 ticks - the correct entry was at 1144 when the momentum line crossed zeroline with 2 bar rev
NOTE TO MYSELF - THE 3000 share STOP dots SEEM TO SERVE AS AN EXCELLENT TRAILING STOP FOR THE 9000 ENTRIES

Attached Thumbnails
MT trading journal and learning log-3-23-630-930.jpg   MT trading journal and learning log-3-23-930-1230.jpg  

Last edited by mindfultrader; March 23rd, 2011 at 04:49 PM. Reason: add notes
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  #32 (permalink)
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Trading Journal and log 3-24

Trading Journal and log 3-24
Feeling distracted as the trading day starts a few issues on my mind
630- 70 AM I notice how I want to find a reason to enter even though I have no entry setup yet.
B/S time / entry Stop Target exit result reason for trade - competence score
1S 709 1294.25 1296.5 1293.50 Perfect setup - DNT as I was talking with my wife about the markets


quite distracted by things on my mind and not seeing the markets clearly today -
Trankuility made a great suggestion in his response to my post question:
Test it. Consistently. Over and over. And observe price. Does it do what I expect it to do? What else does it do? When does it do it? Are there ways to exploit it that play to my strengths? Observe myself. How am I feeling when I trade? What level do I need to be at to trade well? Am I at that level now?
That's what I am doing now and finding some subtle dimensions in price actions regarding my trading plan setups that I had not seen before - ways of improving my entries.
Not here today and don't want pretend I can trade - will exercise and then come back.

Now it is 1230 and I have been very preoccupied with family matters - will post chart in my files later.

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MT trading journal and learning log-3-24-day-i-didn-t-trade.jpg  

Last edited by mindfultrader; March 24th, 2011 at 10:29 PM.
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  #33 (permalink)
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Trading journal and log 3-25


Life has a strange way of surprising me. Yesterday I cut short my trading day to deal with matters that carry through to today. Will probably trade for first 2 hours then stop to continue handling a few things.
structural ut on 9000 chart - watching for 10x3 cycle bottom entry
At 707 I am still watching for a clear criteria-based setup - was tempted to try and grab a few ticks and would not have liked the experience or outcome. Staying with rules is difficult as the pattern of "needing to get in" gets stimulated by price movement and what looks like will become a setup pattern - trades will come - they always do - there is no rush
had several cycle bottoms did not provide a clear setup - waiting for the setup to emerge

I waited for the setup that emerged at 724 (1st trade) and planned it well - my exit needs improving but KUDOS to me for waiting, watching and executing - this setup was similar to the countertrend sell setup at 637 (I did not take it). Entries using the 3t chart give me a better R/R ratio

Back at 1215 and have enjoyed my morning - we have sun in Seattle - a rare spring event - the sun won out over trading. I will be a good weekend.

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Last edited by mindfultrader; March 25th, 2011 at 04:13 PM. Reason: add
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  #34 (permalink)
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Trading journal and log 3-28 short morning

Trading Journal and Log 3-28
This will be a shorter morning for trading than normal. Continue to get helpful feedback to my post of 3/21. Great suggestions and support.
Narrow range at the yesterday's high creates some anxiety regarding setups.
1st buy 748 price action vs top - cycle bottom - exit for -4 tick loss - wait for clearer setup
note that this was also a 27t cycle top at resistance - talk about buying a top !
I see on review that I was late in my entry
2nd short 835 cycle top in trading down trend - followed all rules - exit at bounce off support + 1tick
coaching call from 9 - 10
off to see clients at 1100

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  #35 (permalink)
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Trading Journal and Log 3-29 The Self-defeating Pattern is identified

Trading Journal and log 3-29
Risk management - I thought I knew what that meant - reality is I have been very naive and unwilling to take the time to really understand this essential aspect of trading.
Trade setup first thing at a open that I did not take
Saw familiar buy pattern at 700 but did not it as it is not defined on my entry patterns
1st buy 746 ent 1307.75 exit 1307 met criteria for buy exit at overnite high resistance - 3ticks CS 6
lesson learned about risk mgmt = I tend to move my stops prematurely
thus keep original stop in place until after the first swing pullback, then move it to below the pullback
THIS TRADE HIT THE IDENTIFIED TARGET BUT I MOVED MY STOP UP AT THE SIGN OF THE FIRST CYCLE PULLBACK AND GOT STOPPED OUT FOR A LOSS.
THIS IS THE PRIMARY SELF-DEFEATING PATTERN I HAVE IDENTIFIED IN MY JOURNAL. IT IS WHAT LED ME TO ASK THE QUESTION OF OTHER futures.io (formerly BMT) TRADERS: what do you do when you want to change everything you do?

3rd by @ 1102 1311.75 target @ 1313.25 exited @ 1312.50 + 3 ticks

Some of the conclusions I have discerned about my trading challenges after 5 weeks of journaling and logging trades
1. My primary self-defeating pattern in trading is focusing on avoiding/minimizing losses.
This is an old pattern that has shown up in many other areas of my life.
This pattern has been reinforced and actually strengthened by focusing control on avoiding and minimizing losses.
Thus, when I enter a position, the patterned anxiety associated with a potential loss takes over and my focus turns to "not losing".
At the sign of the first retracement, the anxiety in my body spikes. My focus is locked in a fight/flight/freeze mode and I am watching every bar with my hand on the mouse - poised and ready to push the exit market button.
If I am in freeze mode, I will do what I did on Friday 3/18. Like a deer in the headlights, I will sit and watch the position erode and my loss increase; but I can't act - my frozen anxiety has locked my into an immobilized state. (This usually is not what happens as I typically exit to minimize my loss, and this creating a loss or a very small profit.)
My gains are thus very small and all it takes is a few losses to wipe out any gains I make.

2. Given this self-defeating pattern, I have also avoided creating and following a trading plan.
My unconscious need to avoid the emotions/ feelings of a loss and the anxiety-based patterned behavior associated with it have kept me has me focused on maintaining control by not having a trading plan that controls me. That makes no sense at all, but then again neither does the way I have traded.

3. The history of this self-defeating pattern
This is what I can surmise about the origin of this self-defeating pattern. My reading of Brent Steenbarger's books and particularly his writing about the vertical spilt in traders helped me to identify this pattern in me. Although knowing its most likely origin won't change it, it does give understanding as to why i created it in the first place.
I learned very early in life about the humiliation and shame of loss watching my father work and struggle to create several businesses that all failed. He was a good man whose fantasies and dreams never materialized. He did not develop PLANS for his businesses or ORGANIZE himself for success, thus money was wasted and bankruptcy followed him whenever he got a little bit of success
This part of me that learned very early to avoid the pain of losing (or losing out, a belief that leads to another ineffective trading habit, namely overtrading) served me as a kid - I had a way to cope with life in my family and the daily struggles. However, it has not and does not serve me well in my adult life.
My self-defeating trading pattern - my avoidance of losing and what it means and feels like - is neither his fault nor his responsibility. I created it and I have reinforced it. Only I can change it.
Like a trading plan, I need a plan for transforming this self-defeating pattern and tapping into its underlying focus - the desire and motivation to experience myself as a competent trader. And t it begins with trading plan with the specific for trading that have been tested by me for risk management.

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Last edited by mindfultrader; March 29th, 2011 at 03:17 PM.
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  #36 (permalink)
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mindfultrader View Post
Trading Journal and log 3-29
Risk management - I thought I knew what that meant - reality is I have been very naive and unwilling to take the time to really understand this essential aspect of trading.
Trade setup first thing at a open that I did not take
Saw familiar buy pattern at 700 but did not it as it is not defined on my entry patterns
1st buy 746 ent 1307.75 exit 1307 met criteria for buy exit at overnite high resistance - 3ticks CS 6
lesson learned about risk mgmt = I tend to move my stops prematurely
thus keep original stop in place until after the first swing pullback, then move it to below the pullback
THIS TRADE HIT THE IDENTIFIED TARGET BUT I MOVED MY STOP UP AT THE SIGN OF THE FIRST CYCLE PULLBACK AND GOT STOPPED OUT FOR A LOSS.
THIS IS THE PRIMARY SELF-DEFEATING PATTERN I HAVE IDENTIFIED IN MY JOURNAL. IT IS WHAT LED ME TO ASK THE QUESTION OF OTHER futures.io (formerly BMT) TRADERS: what do you do when you want to change everything you do?
Some of the conclusions I have discerned about my trading challenges after 5 weeks of journaling and logging trades
1. My primary self-defeating pattern in trading is focusing on avoiding/minimizing losses.
This is an old pattern that has shown up in many other areas of my life.
This pattern has been reinforced and actually strengthened by focusing control on avoiding and minimizing losses.
Thus, when I enter a position, the patterned anxiety associated with a potential loss takes over and my focus turns to "not losing".
At the sign of the first retracement, the anxiety in my body spikes. My focus is locked in a fight/flight/freeze mode and I am watching every bar with my hand on the mouse - poised and ready to push the exit market button.
If I am in freeze mode, I will do what I did on Friday 3/18. Like a deer in the headlights, I will sit and watch the position erode and my loss increase; but I can't act - my frozen anxiety has locked my into an immobilized state. (This usually is not what happens as I typically exit to minimize my loss, and this creating a loss or a very small profit.)
My gains are thus very small and all it takes is a few losses to wipe out any gains I make.

2. Given this self-defeating pattern, I have also avoided creating and following a trading plan.
My unconscious need to avoid the emotions/ feelings of a loss and the anxiety-based patterned behavior associated with it have kept me has me focused on maintaining control by not having a trading plan that controls me. That makes no sense at all, but then again neither does the way I have traded.

3. The history of this self-defeating pattern
This is what I can surmise about the origin of this self-defeating pattern. My reading of Brent Steenbarger's books and particularly his writing about the vertical spilt in traders helped me to identify this pattern in me. Although knowing its most likely origin won't change it, it does give understanding as to why i created it in the first place.
I learned very early in life about the humiliation and shame of loss watching my father work and struggle to create several businesses that all failed. He was a good man whose fantasies and dreams never materialized. He did not develop PLANS for his businesses or ORGANIZE himself for success, thus money was wasted and bankruptcy followed him whenever he got a little bit of success
This part of me that learned very early to avoid the pain of losing (or losing out, a belief that leads to another ineffective trading habit, namely overtrading) served me as a kid - I had a way to cope with life in my family and the daily struggles. However, it has not and does not serve me well in my adult life.
My self-defeating trading pattern - my avoidance of losing and what it means and feels like - is neither his fault nor his responsibility. I created it and I have reinforced it. Only I can change it.
Like a trading plan, I need a plan for transforming this self-defeating pattern and tapping into its underlying focus - the desire and motivation to experience myself as a competent trader. And t it begins with trading plan with the specific for trading that have been tested by me for risk management.

Congrats on your honest and deep self-analysis.

The irony is that we are supposed to avoid/minimize losses... and yet, we're also supposed to be Ok with them WHEN (not if) they happen. To me, these are contradictory criteria that lead to deep self-doubt. I think one must clarify one's premises and see if there are any contradictions there first.

With respect to losses, I reconciled those two opposing things with a new belief:

It is Ok to take a loss, but it is not Ok to take one frivolously. (and by frivolousness, I simply mean unplanned or undisciplined trades).

This way, I make it psychologically Ok to experience a loss, while at the same time encourage and help myself to trade according to my plan.

Just my 2 cents.

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  #37 (permalink)
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Trading Journal and Log 3-30

Trading Journal and Log 3-30
1st trade 657 708 long @ 1322.75 cyc bottom in ut - target 1324.25 - 3t ret occurring - stopped out for 5 tick loss -5 tick
could have seen this coming as the ma turned down
2nd trade 737 742 short @ 1320 exit 1322.5 loss of - 6 ticks error
3rd trade 743 long @ 1321.75 exit 1322 early exit + 1 tick
on trades 1 and 3 , an earlier entry would have enabled me to profit
The solution to the reactive pattern of focusing on not losing is not to stay in trades to prove to myself I can do that, especially losing trades. It is to stay in a winning trade that have clear targets and managing myself
4th trade 828 l@ 1322.75 target 1232.50 great entry exit with no movement for brkeven and it moved to hit target

quiet market - no volume - uncanny - just wating for the setup which may not come today

Attached Thumbnails
MT trading journal and learning log-3-30-1sr-3-hrs.jpg  

Last edited by mindfultrader; March 30th, 2011 at 03:37 PM. Reason: add
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  #38 (permalink)
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What do you do when you want to change everything - the answer

The answer to that question has been finally come to me. I want to change everything whenever I feel stuck, have made a big dumb mistake, have not followed the discipline of a trading plan. Residual trading trauma stuck in my body gets me anxious whenever I put on a trade. My trading journal of 3-29 says it all.

I need to shake off that trauma - that's what animals in the wild do when they are traumitized by being hunted or chased, or even captured and then escape.

The energy that accumlates in their bodies is tremendous and powerful, just like trading. Negative trading experiences can easily arouse the same kind of fight, flight and freeze - I have known them for too often.

So here is my first strategy for transforming my "soft-wired" anxiious pattern that gets stimulated whenever I put on a trade - I am goign to stand up and shake from head to toe - going to shake my head, my legs, my butt, my hands, my feet, my shoulders, my arms - I am going to shake it off.

Animals have been doing it for millions of years and not a lot of them have PTSD.

I will report on my experience in further posts.
SHAKE IT OFF - LITERALLY I WILL SHAKE IT OFF


Last edited by mindfultrader; March 30th, 2011 at 09:52 PM.
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  #39 (permalink)
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trading journal and log 3-31

Trading Journal and Log 3-31
The past day of futures.io (formerly BMT) contest but more importantly the 1st day of 5 weeks of journaling and posting - great stuff and very beneficial to me.
Looking forward to trading and shaking it off!
1st trade @ 703 for brkeven at support - shook it off - followed rules CS 8
support - opening low held up in first attempt to break it
2nd trade 750 short @ 1324.50 cycle top /tl break stopped out for -2 t CS 5
3rd trade @ short @ 1323.5 cycle top in ttl dt - brkeven at support CS 5
my system entries are late and I wonder what I can do to improve that - for now I will just observe
4th trade @ 858 short @ 1321.5 exit for -3 tick loss CS 3
5th trade was reversal of 4th trade this one was a mistake for 4 tick loss - did not wait for one of the criteria to be met CS 0
this trade would have worked well had I trusted my stop

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  #40 (permalink)
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trading journal and log 4-1


Trading Journal and Log 4-1
Today will be trading sim to really work on my entries and exits. A review of the past 30 trades shows how late my entries and my exits are always early.
7 am No trading yet as my daughter reported to me when she went to leave, one of our cars had been hit during the night - major damage. Heard a loud crahs overnight but thought it was far away.
1240 pm - back after getting rental car and getting car to the collision shop. will just review the day later.

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