How I am using my trade journal to improve my trading. Part 1

I use 2 journals to track my trading one is the excellent edgewonk journal and the other is an excel spreadsheet that I have developed over the past 2 years (on version 24).

I am constantly working on my own spreadsheet to give the information I need to improve my own trading.

The past 6 months I have worked on 2 main goals

The first is to decrease the number of errors I make in my trading. In my opinion, the easiest way to improve ones trading system or at least to the best way to see if a trader has an edge.   I was tracking the number of error trades as part of my weekly review but on pen and paper, so I decided to include as an individual setup in my journal.

For a trade to fall into the error category, it had to break one of my setup rules, be an impulse / revenge trade or not be in line with one of hypo or updated intra day hypo. For example, I want a short and not get filled then I find that I taking a long as that was the next set up I saw, instead of looking to get short on the failure of that long setup.

I was tracking these pretty well in my pen and paper weekly review but I was making much progress in reducing this number. My number of errors was average 23% of total trades, when I started with the  tracking weekly average was coming in at between 40-48%.  Yes that is right, 48% of my trading was fuck ups. I had got it down to 23% and occasionally I would get it down to under 20% but I was struggling to consistently to get it below that number.

As soon as I started tracking the number of trades via my journal, the first time I had a string of 3 error trades in a row the numbers hit me in in the face, and I found that I automatically started to reduce the number of error trades.

Below is the first 17 trades, just look at the error trades compared to the other setups. Somewhere some village is missing it idiot.

Below is the first 50 trades since I started tracking errors as a setup.

As we can see there was a total of 9 error trades (ERR.B + ERR.T) out of 50 trades. With a win rate of around 13%, also note the expectancy (exp%R) and how much these trades went in my favour (avg MFE) compared to my other setups. And these trades make up 18% of my total trades. Pretty much dragging my performance down and the knock on effects to my morale was also effecting my consequence performance.

These numbers motivated much more than the tracking via pen and paper spreadsheet.

Whilst I thought I was implementing the following in my life, these numbers helped me realised that I was not really fucking embracing this. I would not say that before, I was just paying lip service to this, but I was certainly only applying this way of living, in certain circumstances when it suited me.

I cannot change the fact that I fucked up, but the one thing I can change is how I react to fucking up.

After the fact that is the only thing left that I can control. 

This is the next 100 trades

Note that the error trades have dropped to 9% but still not great, but a big improvement.

To improve on this I set myself a target of not making an error for a whole week.

This is the latest 50 trades.

Errors down to 4%, a lot better and making less errors have given me a lift in confidence in my trading.

I hit my target of a whole week of not making an error, and then set myself a not making an error for 2 weeks.

I blew it in the second week by making 2 silly mistakes. Both revenge trade against my bias and plan.

And as I track my bias and my plan in terms of whether it was correct, neutral or plain wrong over every 2 hours of the session. I was trading in both of these trades against my exp and bias and this changed my win rate for each of these 2 trades from 80% and 77% to 41% to 33%. So even on papers there where not good trades to take.

I have run out of time. But next week I am will look at how I am using my journal and stats to improve my return on my existing profitable setups.

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