Most traders will have been told that keeping a journal is important, and they have probably kept a trading journal in some for or other at some time - and then stopped.
Is this you?
If so, why did you stop?
Sometimes traders stop journaling because journals are seen as a ‘tool’ only for beginner traders or, perhaps for traders going through a tough time. For some the journaling process stops because the journal is too complicated and time-consuming, for others it is because it has not been structured well, and does not provide valuable insights and encourage the taking of action and tangible improvements in performance. For some the reality may be that it is simply a lack of commitment to trading at their best that stops them from keeping a trading journal.
A good trading journal is however essential to your ongoing learning as a trader, to the pursuit of mastery of yourself and the markets, and to trading at your best, no matter what your level of experience or success.
Here are seven tips for keeping a good trading journal.
- Be Committed - make journaling a core part of your trading process and commit to spending time on it, and making quality entries.
- Be Consistent - journal daily, and keep going. Consistency provides a compounding effect, and is where you will start to see the benefits of journaling really appearing over time
- Be Curious - adopt a mindset of curiosity as you reflect on your performance and your journal entries, looking for insights, and opportunities to improve your trading performance.
- Be Cumulative - look at your entries across three different time frames – daily, weekly, monthly – and as a cumulative process, moving from one to the other building forward momentum, and not in isolation of each other.
- Be Connected – combine completing your journal alongside reviewing your trading log, or your trading metrics, so that you can become aware of the interrelatedness and patterns in your trading psychology, trading behaviour and trading results.
- Be Encouraging – when you are writing your journal entries take the stance of a supportive coach – challenging, but also supportive.
- Be Active - taking action on the insights that you find through journaling is where the magic happens. Taking action that moves you closer to being, and becoming you best trading self.