While trading looks fun and is often fun to do—you have to remember the reason you trade is to make money, not entertain yourself. And the way to make money is by focusing on your trading process and executing it consistently.
I’ve created a daily trading journal that my private clients are required to complete every day. It’s not a choice, it’s a commitment.
The purpose of the journal is to keep them objective in their decisions and hold them accountable on a daily basis. Just like top athletes videotape themselves to review performance and search for areas to improve, traders can use a trading journal for the same purpose.
To get you off to the right start for 2011, here are nine questions you should include in your own daily journal:
- What is my game plan today? Is today a day to make money, limit losses, or do nothing?
- What is my market thesis and is my current portfolio in line with it?
- If I had no positions on right now, would I re-create this exact portfolio?
- Are my current positions correctly sized?
- Did I follow my game plan today?
- What’s working (making money) and what’s not working (not making money)?
- What did I do well today? What did I do poorly?
- What will I do different next time?
- On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), what was my level of focus today?
Remember, great traders aren’t born, they’re made. And the way they become great is by focusing on their process and being accountable. The daily journal is a tool you can use to do just that.