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Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.
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Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.

  #71 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
BC, Canada
 
Futures Experience: Beginner
Platform: TWS, QuoteTracker
Favorite Futures: CL, ES
 
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Journal entry for Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wish my quote-tracker automatically marked my trades on the chart, because I don't feel like marking them all by hand today; I had 17 scalps. I am attaching an IB chart that does plot all the trades, but the markings (blue for buy, red for sell) are difficult to see.

So, 17 trades, with 12 winners and 5 losers, for a total of $465 net (that is after commissions) in CL. Not bad, except that in a lot of cases, I should have just held instead of jumping in and out. Even if the result wasn't better financially by much, which it would have, I would have avoided the stress of constantly being in the market.

Yes, on the one hand, constantly being in the market is good for someone like me who is trying to overcome being trigger shy, but on the other hand, trading like this is not giving me an opportunity to learn proper technique since this kind of trading (scalping) is not not what I want for myself in the long term. Nevertheless, I was very pleased with the amount I made; my results (financial) have been improving a lot lately, despite all of the mistakes I am still making.

On another note, I went to bed early again last night and got up at 4AM (market opens at 6AM here) so I am feeling good about that. Problem is, that it's Friday and I will have a very hard time maintaining my schedule over the weekend -who wants to go to bed at 9pm on a Fri, Saturday night? I am not planning to go out on both nights of the weekend, so here's hoping...





P/L: $465 net in CL

Attached Thumbnails
Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-14-april-thu-2011-trades-marked-chart.png   Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-14-april-thu-2011-my-5min-1min-charts.png  
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  #72 (permalink)
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Journal entry for Friday, April 15, 2011

Ok, so even though it's Monday already, this is actually my journal entry for Friday; haven't gotten around to posting it yet because I have somehow managed not to touch the computer all weekend -which is a rarity for this computer addict.

So on Friday, scalped again and had 19 trades. Whoa, what a way to get over my trigger shyness -just scalp all day long!! Now why didn't I think of this sooner, haha. (Hmm, although I think I am having a deja-vu)

Like I said yesterday I know I should not do it, but it's making me feel good for some reason. Perhaps because I feel like I am doing it "properly" this time. I try to trade only in the direction of the trend and only when I should be in a trade according to my plan, so I am still following most of my rules -though not all of them obviously. More importantly, my trigger shyness seems to be going away -I'm feeling very good about the future of my trading.

Out of 19 trades, 8 were losers. I came close to a high of $400 profit and then went back down to exactly 0, ending the day at $200 plus.

It was close to noon when I finally pulled my nose away from the 1 minute chart it was glued to all day and looked at the 5 minute chart. Shoot!! There was a clean two point move that I should have been in and instead I was busy jumping in and out -typical. Ideally, and according to my signals and rules, I should have entered around 107.80 and exited around 109.80 while adding to the position at 108.60 and maybe even another contract at 109.40.

What am I to do about this? Well, I am hoping that I will slowly start stretching my scalps into longer holding periods until I am comfortably trading completely according to my entry and exit rules. I don't want to nip this scalping just yet because for now it's really helping with my fear issues -though I know I don't want to trade this way long term.


Lessons learned today:

Don't forget about the 5 minute chart. Even with the 1 minute chart -keep the bigger picture in mind and look at a greater time period when trading.


P/L: + ~$200

Attached Thumbnails
Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-15-april-fri-2011.png   Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-15-april-fri-2011-trades-marked.png  

Last edited by TriggerShy; April 18th, 2011 at 01:24 PM.
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  #73 (permalink)
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Journal entry for Monday, April 19 2011


Horrible, horrible trading day. Entered and then exited when I should not have. Revenge traded. Went against the trend. Got into trades by accident due to forgotten stops -and instead of exiting those trades right away I tried to "manage them." Just awful.

CL was very volatile and I got very few legit entry signals. That of course did not stop me from jumping in and out like a maniac.

CL: 10 trades (7 losers)
ES: 2 trades (1 loss)


Lesson's learned today:
I am an idiot -as in, getting too cocky is dangerous to my account.
Who are you kidding -I am no scalper, need to pan out a bit.

There was one good opportunity early in the morning that could have fetched about a point in profit. I could not decide whether to take it or not, because I was not getting a clear (1st level) short entry signal. (Yes this was before I turned into a lunatic. The plan for the day was to only trade my best setups and signals.) Later I saw that it was a no-brainier; I should have considered price falling below the support line as the entry signal.


Later today I will have to go over my trades one by one in my quotetracker program and see if I can find any good reasons for entering those positions as I did.


P/L: ~ -$1050 in CL
~ +$ 325 in ES (had $400 bud decided to just one more trade at the very end. Doh!)

Attached Thumbnails
Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-19-april-tue-2011.png   Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-19-april-tue-2011-trades-marked.png  
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  #74 (permalink)
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Journal entry for Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ooops, wrong date again. This entry is for Tuesday, April 19

Ok I have gotten into the bad habit of posting my journal entries during the slow periods of the next day instead of on the same day. Better than not getting around to posting at all, but I should probably try to post during the slower end of the day on the day of.

So Wednesday..... much better than Tuesday. Much much better. Even though it did not start out well because I could not get myself out of bed -kept hitting the snooze button until 6:40AM (9:40 Eastern).

4 trades total, all in CL.

First trade was a short. Looked very promising on the 1 min. chart so I was disappointed when I got stopped out. Had I looked on the 5 minute chart (or actually went by what it was telling me, instead of just glancing on it) I would have known not to take that trade -it was totally counter-trend.

All the other trades were longs in the direction of the trend. The only problem with those trades was that it should have been one trade instead of 3. The 1 minute chart scares me out of trades too prematurely. At least I get back in now, but still I need to work on this because the results suffer due to this greatly.


Lessons learned today:

Don't set (hard) targets too early if they are not based on (technical) fundamentals. I set the target of my 3rd trade (108.10) based on fear (of losing out on profits) and therefore cut my profits short.


P/L: -15, +16, +15, +45 all in CL

Attached Thumbnails
Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-20-april-wed-2011.png  

Last edited by TriggerShy; April 20th, 2011 at 05:55 PM. Reason: This is a journal entry for Tuesday, not Wednesday.
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  #75 (permalink)
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Wrong dates on journal titles and charts

Geesh, looks like I made a mess of the dates in my previous two postings. The entries are actually for Monday, April 18th and Tuesday, April 19th.

This should teach me not to post journal entries a day late.


Last edited by TriggerShy; April 20th, 2011 at 06:23 PM.
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  #76 (permalink)
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Journal entry for Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Did well in keeping up with the marking up of my chart during market hours, so that I would not have to do it after hours -this is very helpful; not only in decreasing amount of work after the market but also in giving me something to do and then stare at during less active periods.

Marking up of my chart has temporarily replaced spreadsheet logging of trades. I figured it's better for me to stare at charts then it is to fiddle around with the colors and formulas in my log.

Soooo.... 7 trades in CL (2 losers) and 2 trades in ES (1 loser).


Lessons learned today:

There is (usually, or at least there should be) reason for having an action plan -don't change it mid-action! After entering ES close to 12:30pm, I had a stop loss and a target that I was fairly confident would be reached before end of day -and it did, but without me, because I had decided to abandon my plan and jump ship, once the trade went a little against me (didn't even reach my stop loss!!) and therefore lost out on an extra $250 in my second trade.

Don't push trades! Boredom is not a valid entry signal. I should have sat on my hands instead of taking my last two trades in CL.



CL P/L: +41, +15, +30, +21, +22, -5, -10 ticks (+$1107)
ES P/L: -$158, +$54 for two contracts each time (-$104)

Attached Thumbnails
Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-20-april-wed-2011.png   Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.-20-april-wed-2011-2.png  
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  #77 (permalink)
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Ok, I am back from almost a month and a half of an unexpected hiatus. Some personal distractions prevented me from trading and posting here on a regular basis.

I have been diligent about watching the markets (CL mostly) from 6AM to 8AM PST every (market open) day, however, I was sleep deprived and my mind was elsewhere so I did not trust myself to take live trades often.

So now I feel I am back at zero again despite all the progress I have made while I was posting here and my fear of pulling the trigger is back with a vengeance. Oh well, here we go again...

I have started to read Mark Douglas' Trading in the Zone book today. I have read it several years ago and skimmed it last year as well, but I always seem to get something new from it; I guess what you take away from it and (what you concentrate on) depends on where you are at psychologically with your trading at that very moment.

Ok, I am off to watch the London open. Good trading to you all.

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  #79 (permalink)
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Update

I haven't posted for a while, because up until recently, I had nothing new to report. I thought I had overcome my fear of pulling the trigger by posting here and managing to trade live for a while, but then suddenly after a short trading hiatus I became paralyzed by fear again and haven't taken a single live trade since April.
...Up until this week that is . Yes, I am back in business!! Uh, ok an unprofitable business, but
what ever -Yippee!! I have taken 15 trades this week and am down $71, which I don't think is bad for getting some practice at trigger pulling.


So what made me plunge back in? I believe it was a combination of:

1. Very slowly reading Trading in Zone. I wish I could say that a sudden realization just struck me and my fear disappeared, so that I could inform others with a similar issue about what exactly it was that changed my perspective. What I believe helped was copying down sentences that 'spoke' to me so that I could let them sink in. (In fact I taped a list of these notes to my bedroom mirror.)

2. I started really hating the weekends, since I could not watch the market with my new 'Trading in the zone' mentality. In the mornings I always thought I would start trading of course, and in the end would end up just watching all day (sometimes paper trading or marking up charts). Then I would go back to re-reading the book and be eager to start again the next day. REPEAT for several days for weeks!

3. I started telling people that I am a "futures trader" when asked what I do for a living.
This is not something I would normally do, since even when I was trading live in the past, I was not always profitable. In fact, I was uncomfortable saying it even when I was doing well with stock trading because of all the questions/comments I got. Now, for some reason it feels like a relief - I just tell them that I am not doing too well at the moment.

4. At the prompting of my poker-playing brother, I added other instruments to my arsenal that have a lower per tick value to reduce the apparent life or death significance of each trade. I was very resistant to this, because I really love CL, but for some reason, even just watching Corn, Wheat and NG made me somehow less stressed out. Even though I have only taken very few trades in these and still continue to mostly trade CL, I think watching and trading these other markets has made me realize that several ticks going against me is not a big deal.

I don't know if there are any other people out there that fear transitioning from paper trading to live, but I wrote all of this out in hopes of providing some strategies to consider. (And perhaps as a reminder to myself of what to do if I fall victim to fear again.)

I know I am not completely "cured" and over my fear yet because it hasn't even been a full week since I took that plunge back into LIVE trading, but I have made significant progress.

Now I can focus on some other issues, other than just forcing myself to jump in the market.

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  #80 (permalink)
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TriggerShy View Post
Ok, I am back from almost a month and a half of an unexpected hiatus. Some personal distractions prevented me from trading and posting here on a regular basis.

I have been diligent about watching the markets (CL mostly) from 6AM to 8AM PST every (market open) day, however, I was sleep deprived and my mind was elsewhere so I did not trust myself to take live trades often.

So now I feel I am back at zero again despite all the progress I have made while I was posting here and my fear of pulling the trigger is back with a vengeance. Oh well, here we go again...

I have started to read Mark Douglas' Trading in the Zone book today. I have read it several years ago and skimmed it last year as well, but I always seem to get something new from it; I guess what you take away from it and (what you concentrate on) depends on where you are at psychologically with your trading at that very moment.

Ok, I am off to watch the London open. Good trading to you all.

Have you identified the reason for your fear? I think there are generally 2 reasons people typically fear pulling the trigger. The first is lack of confidence in your trading. You feel like it's a crap shoot every time you pull the trigger, you feel like the market is out to get you. The second is fear of loosing money. That typically goes with not trading with risk capital. Risk capital is money that you don't mind losing.

Do you identify with either or both of these reasons? Can you identify any other reasons why you might be fearful? Once you identify the reasons for your fear, that's when you'll be able to put a plan together to conquer them.

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