Over the years I have found it extremely important to keep all kinds of information about my trading in journals. In these journals I have found out more about myself and the way I trade than any other trading tool out there. I use the journals to keep track of the obvious, my daily P&L and the volume I did that day. I have my goals for trading written out on the first page, that I read every morning, followed by my rules of my trading system, again something I read before every trading day. At the end of each day and sometimes during the day, I take notes about what I traded, how I traded it, the market conditions and my thoughts about how I traded. All this information and the statistics has allowed me to make more money and stay consistent.
For example, I learned that Mondays were a day I had a tendency to over-trade and take larger losses than usually. I now make a conscious effort to trade with less size and be extremely patient with my setups on Mondays. I also learned, that anytime something major is going on in my life outside of work, especially when closing on a new apartment or second home, I need to stay away from the trading desk or trade very light. The last example, is one I think is critical. If you are not feeling it, seeing it, or something just does not seem right, like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, you do not need to trade. If you feel like you need to, then cut your position size in half and be selective. One bad day can ruin your month and possible your year. Gman’s last blog post talks about spiraling out of control and if you do not know yourself this can easily occur. The first step is to keep a detailed journal of your trading and review it.