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Trading plans and journals: Fail to plan is planning to fail

Posted by Tradeguider Team on Sunday, March 6, 2022
Tradeguider Team

A trading plan and a trading journal provide a framework to help you keep your emotions in check and make sure your trading decisions are governed by logic rather than a whim.

This is important whether you are investing long term or making the quick decisions required with scalping or intraday trading.

So if you are wondering how to create a trading plan or what a trading journal is and how to write one, read on. When it’s mindset and being methodical and having discipline that makes the difference between the minority of  successful traders and the majority of traders that lose money, we at Tradeguider want you to have all the tools at your fingertips.

 

 

Part 1 – Your trading strategy

In this document you need to list:  

  • What market you’ll trade
  • What instruments you’ll trade
  • What time frames you’ll look at
  • What days of the week and hours of the day you’ll trade
  • What techniques you’ll use to prepare your mind
  • How you will mitigate potential distractions in your life or environment
  • Any character traits that might prevent you from reaching your goal and how you’ll work to prevent that
  • Your financial goal in terms of daily profit and/or longer-term account size
  • What percentage of total capital you will trade in any one transaction
  • What kinds of contracts and stop losses you will use
  • The minimum conditions you require to enter and exit a long position
  • The essential conditions you require to enter and exit a long position
  • The minimum conditions you require to enter and exit a short position
  • The essential conditions you require to enter and exit a short position

Here is an example of the trading plan that Tradeguider associate Coenraad Bezuidenhout uses. You might remember Coenraad`s name from our recent blog that featured his journey to profitability which includes a shift from day trading to intraday trading, or our profile of the Middle East market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you need more help figuring out what your goal is? Take a look at this blog. And if you`re not sure which markets suit you, here are some blogs on using Wyckoff VSA with different asset classes:

 

Part 2 – Your trading journal

Once you start  trading then you need to keep a trading log or journal. This will show where you entered or exited a trade, how much profit you took  and why, and the conditions you used to enter the trade or make a specific move.

This will include:

  • Date of trade
  • Instrument
  • Whether you went short or long
  • Entry level
  • Stop loss
  • Profit target
  • Trade description

Here’s an example of one of Coenraad`s logs to give you an idea (we`ve taken out the 15, 30, 60 and 240 minute columns for legibility): 

 

 

Summary

We also cover this topic in a video. But however you educate yourself, a note of caution: once you’ve put the time into putting your strategy together, be sure to use it. Stick to it. And be sure to reflect on your trading journals.

These two things will make the difference between success and failure.

But know that both need to be continually re-appraised and finetuned. If you’re just starting out start with something go back and add to it as your trading evolves.


Tradeguider is the home of Wyckoff VSA. There`s no point in us just giving you the software and telling you it works because despite all the amazing developments technology has brought to trading, this is still a deeply human activity. If a trader`s focus isn`t true, their discipline on point, and their emotions being managed, no amount of technology will help them. So we want to make sure you have everything you need to get make that money, whether it`s intelligent software or mental intelligence. That`s why we`ve got information and support on how to develop a trading plan, how to keep a trading log and more. Get in touch for more information.

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