Being a huge football fan, on Sunday my monitors are littered with NFL action. Since I don’t have a TV, I watch all the games online. Before or in between games, I’m glued to the NFL network which is both highly educational + entertaining.
Yesterday I heard a great example of a player who went to a team building exercise on a non-practice day. They went bowling. With 4 on each bowling team, plenty of down time before tosses. What was this defensive lineman doing in between tosses? On their iPad reviewing plays. That is someone who recognizes the value of reviewing their work.
In the NFL & Trading
Reviewing your work is critical because it helps you to see where you are trading well, what you need to improve on, and how to direct your energies going forward. All great professionals review their work, both in the NFL, and especially in trading.
Those traders who do not review their work (+ prepare mentally each day) are what I term ‘Trader Philanthropists‘. I call them that, because they are donating the money to the market. Traders who make money come prepared, are passionate, work hard and are well trained. You have to do the same.
Below I will share 2 crucial tips for reviewing your trades.
Review Tip #1 Catalog Each Trade via Screenshot or Video Recording
For the traders in my private members forum, I teach them to minimally take a screenshot of each trade showing the actual entry and exit points on the chart.
Trading is a highly visual process, and having the actual charts of the trade we took gives us a lot of data to work with. Seeing those trades with the green arrows (winning trades) time and time again builds confidence while increasing pattern recognition. Below is a typical screenshot saved for a trading journal.
Yes we get experience from making actual trades, but reviewing them is like doing an additional trade. This is because the mind doesn’t differentiate much (from a learning perspective) between real trading, and reviewing your trades. Every time you review a trade, its like doing another lap around the track. Each lap builds those trading muscles in your trading brain.
*NOTE: Here’s a cool trick in MT4 for getting screenshots of your trades; 1) go into your trade history, and find the actual trade, then 2) drag the trade onto the pair and chart. You’ll then see two arrows with a line showing your entry and exit, SL & TP (example below).
Review Tip #2 Journal Each Trade At a Set Time
I know journaling trades may not seem like fun. That is because you haven’t tasted the value in it yet. 13 years ago I started practicing yoga. Within the first year, I was practicing it daily, along with meditation. Why?
Because I had a taste of the benefits. I felt stronger, more flexible, relaxed, creative, energized, and healthy. When things got challenging and I wanted to slow down, I just remembered the benefits outweighed my temporary discomfort.
Journaling & reviewing trades is the same.
I recommend journaling at the same time each day. By building habits and these mind programs around trading, you build the neural networks to become disciplined.
Being disciplined builds confidence and communicates something important to your self-image.
It builds confidence because when you stick with it during tough times, you get through them faster in the future knowing you’ll keep moving forward.
It communicates something important to your self-image by strengthening the feeling that ‘I will do what it takes to be successful at trading‘. That belief becomes empowering to your successful trading mindset.
I fill in my journal at the New York Close being a natural impasse in my trading day. For you, try to find a low activity moment, or at the end of your trading day. Try not to do it when you are exhausted, or you’ll likely imprint the idea of ‘exhaustion‘ with ‘journaling‘.
Just like my dentist suggested brushing my teeth while doing something fun – by association, you are more likely to do it.
If making more money trading, increasing your consistency, and getting better at something that can last you your life is not inspiration to review your trades, then I’m not sure what will be.
We all know plenty of people who played an instrument for a while, but eventually gave up even though they showed promise. Don’t be that person. Be the one who plays guitar at gatherings and wow’s an audience.
Life wants us to be skillful, to be good at things, to be professionals at life. Be that football player who in between turns at bowling, is reviewing their work to see how they can improve. The learning process of a trader never ends, and requires some ‘sweat capital‘. The rewards are far worth the effort, especially in trading.
Now it should be noted these tips are ‘mechanical’ in terms of process, meaning they are sharing with you the ‘what to do’. In the following article, I will share with you the ‘how to’ in filling out your journal to enhance your trading mindset.
*Please make sure to share your comments, whether you agree or disagree. And if you do disagree, please make sure to share why as I value different points of view on this.