What To Include In a Trading Journal

What information and metrics to include in each trading journal entry is ultimately up to the trader themselves and what they find to be valuable.

However, the most common data points to include in a trading journal include:

Day/Date/Time 

Markets are cyclical, and due to this, key dates can have interesting effects on markets. 

What day of the week and what time a trade was made can also have an impact on price action. For example, volatility may increase ahead of a weekly trading session close in stock indices.

The time of day also may matter, depending on when the open or close of a trading session is.

Also, by having dates associated with each trade, it is easier to look back to specific examples and match them with other date-related themes.

Position Info

At what price was the entry order set at, and what price did it execute at? Where was the stop level placed, and what was the risk-reward ratio? How much capital was allocated, and what is the anticipated profit or loss associated with each key level?

Keeping track of the trade direction and any expected results should also be included. Saving a screenshot of a technical analysis chart may also be helpful. All of this information looks for trends in behavior and results. 

Trading Instrument 

Detailed information on the trading instrument chosen should also be included. This includes which asset, trading pair, and the current asset price should be included.

Additional information on a session open, close, high, or low can also be included, as well as daily, weekly, or monthly price data.

Sentiment Data

Not only should a trader indicate current market and social sentiment, but they should also note how they are feeling at the time of the trade, during the trade, and as the trade is closed.

Try to include any notes about the current sentiment as a whole, if the herd was correct or wrong, what other trader’s positions were at the time, and more.

Sentiment data can also include why you chose to take a trade in the first place, and if that instinct was correct or not.

Reviewing Data To Improve Success Rate

Regularly reviewing any and all of this data can lead to a higher rate of success by both learning from mistakes and discovering what made each trade successful in the first place.

If the setup is going according to plan, but the price action has the trader feeling fearful or uncertain, and turns out to be an extremely profitable trade, then the trader can potentially use their own gut to their advantage to take contrarian trades.

If a stop loss level keeps getting hit before profits are booked, then it may be time for an adjustment. Or if an indicator regularly produces results with a particular signal, then a trader can quantify the results, and then use the data to inform future decisions.

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