Journaling as a trader can certainly feel like an unnecessary burden, but it is crucial for your success on your trading journey. You must keep track of your trades, and your emotion. Future you will thank you.
But not all types of trading journals work for everyone. Picking a journal method that works for you is going to be crucial to ensure journaling and self-reflection throughout your trading journey.
This article will cover what you need to include in your trading journal and 3 great tradin journal examples you can start using TODAY.
You should always have a trading plan and risk management plan that you should remind yourself of daily.
What a Trading Plan is and how to create one is a process we have a step-by-step guide for here.
When you trade a place you want to include aspects of the trade such as time of entry, entry price, stop-loss price, take profit levels, position-sizing, margin, etc.
Add into the journal WHY you took a trade. Why this setup is better than others? What do you like about the setup? How does the setup abide by your trading plan? Asking these questions will ensure that you’re not just jumping into any random trade for trading’s sake.
It is crucial to cover subjects unrelated to the trade setup that can quickly become a little bit more time-consuming, like mindset. At the beginning of the trading day, you may want to sit down and write down your current emotional state and how you feel.
How you feel outside of trading, will directly influence how you trade.
End-of-day summaries are a great way to summarize and reflect upon your mental state and trading performance at the end of the day.
You might want to add screenshots for reference. This can be done with both literal screenshots or saved screenshots in TradingView or other trading software.
A typical Word document will suffice for most traders. In this long-form writing format, it is easiest to journal trade technicalities and your emotional state for the day
Understanding how you are feeling on any given day will give you mental clarity for the rest of the day, so start with a mindset analysis in the morning.
Next, you may want to write a short paragraph about what the general market is doing and what you expect for the day just to clarify your bias and what your directional invalidation is for the day (of course, we don’t trade off expectations, we always change our bias if necessary!).
Now it is time to log a trade. Write down the previously covered Trading Plan, and Trading Analysis for any trade you may want to take.
If you catch yourself nearly placing a poor trade, the trade idea should not be deleted from the journal, instead, reflect on why you decided not to enter the trade, this is good learning material.
Finally, if you do find a good setup and have written out your thoughts on it. You can place a trade.
You may also like to add screenshots of the trade setup directly into the journal instead of links. A direct screenshot is more easily assessable and creates a clear overview within the journal.
An example of this format is provided below.
A less time-consuming, very common yet more technically centered version of trading journals is the use of an Excel sheet as a trading journal. Excel sheets provide you with a clear overview of all the technical aspects of your trading entries but exclude more in-depth reflections on your trades and mindset (See Fig. 2).
Excel makes your trading journal more structured, this makes Excel a more time-efficient and number-centered trading journal example. A downside of the use of an Excel sheet is that it makes it rather difficult to journal long-form content like your emotional state, market overview, and trade overview.
Excel sheets also limit the possibility of adding screenshots of your trades directly into the journal making it difficult to create an instantaneously coherent reflection on the trades. Although you can add screenshot links made through TradingView or other trading software.
Here is the Excel Trading Journal Example.
The most time-efficient version of journaling would be recording your screen, showing the live chart, and narrating your trading process to yourself.
This allows you to speak your mind on your trades straight to your future self. Narrating your reflection process out loud enables you to reflect more thoroughly and critically with yourself.
You can also look back and see exactly the chart pattern you were trading in the future. All the while it is a direct log of your emotional state since you can hear yourself critique yourself in a possibly demeaning, angry, kind, or emotionally controlled manner.
Here is a short video example.
You can also combine all the trading journal examples listed, if you do all of them, and at the end of the week reflect on both your personal written word journal, your numbers journal in excel and your video journal, you’re gonna have an immensely well-structured edge on other market participants.
In this case, you will know yourself and reflect on yourself so much more thoroughly than most other market participants.
It really all comes down to experimenting with all the different forms of journaling and seeing which most fits your style. Just make sure you journal.
Copy any of the trading journal examples we gave here if you’d like.
You can also email us at email@example.com if you’d like the free trading journal examples sent to you, enabling your usage TODAY.