Why Trade Journal Spreadsheets aren’t improving your trading.

A spreadsheet is comingAs traders, we’ve been told from a number of ‘trading gurus’ to keep a trading journal.

So one day we found a spreadsheet template that they or some other ‘guru’ made, downloaded it, opened it in our spreadsheet editor and started using it in a snap without questioning.

Spreadsheets are prolific in the retail trading industry as a means to log your trades. In this article I’ll argue why they are not helping your trading and, as a matter of fact, can even make it worse.

From initial understanding it makes sense to log your trades. Of course – how else would you know how to improve unless you actually logged each trade you took, then look back to know what worked and what didn’t.

Any professional endeavor requires measuring your performance, learning from your mistakes and finding where to improve. However, without adequately finding ways to improve and acting on them you run the risk of bogging yourself down in your perceived failures and not progressing.

For example, how many times did you start something, fail at it and then want to do it again? As kids we don’t care about failure – we simply get up and try again. But as adults we take it more seriously, we’ve learnt that failure is ‘bad’ and we should avoid them. We’ve often been taught painful repercussions of failure – rejection from parents, societies shame, disappointment from friends – so its no wonder we avoid looking at our failures at all cost.

Spreadsheets don’t give you the whole picture.

You see – spreadsheets only track half the story. You can capture your trade details in it and review where you went wrong – BUT – there is nothing built into spreadsheets to actually do something about your learned shortcomings.

Say you found out from your trade log that according to your trade plan you enter trades too early, possibly in fear of missing a potentially ‘blockbuster’ trade. You got your trade filled but the market went further against you and stopped you out and then – like magic – went on in the very direction you predicted.

You know this happens repeatedly, you beat yourself up each time you do it, you put reminders & sticky notes everywhere to prevent you from entering early but nothing works.

Sooner or later, you will start to feel helpless – like you can’t change. You will feel like a ‘failure’ and all those strong emotions of rejection/shame will come flooding back. You’ll soon stop logging trades. You’ll question your ability as a trader or, more commonly, you might even blame that you have a ‘stupid’ strategy and start again looking for some other ‘more profitable’ strategy.

at-least-you-tried-memeDo you see what I’m saying here? By logging failures without tools to fix them makes it worse for your trading.

The Trading Consistently Journal is different.

We want to give you the tools you need to 1) find your limitations but also 2) prevent or modify them from happening again.

How?

Firstly – we’ve designed the Journal to be used BEFORE you enter each trade. This helps you ensure you check whether or not the trade you are about to take actually meets your criteria before you take the trade – think of this as your personal trading coach.

The second – we’ve incorporated a ‘pre-entry checklist’ which, as above, ensures your meeting ALL your essential trading criteria before actually placing the trade and preventing mistakes.

The third – Our psychology module helps you re frame your mind to the right mindset before activating each trade. In the example above of the trader who enters too early they are obviously fearful of ‘missing’ a blockbuster trade. As traders we seem to feel a sense of urgency to trade and have a ‘fear of missing out’ without actually considering that there will always be another trade.

We help re-frame your thoughts, while improving your discipline.

In the heat of the moment we seem to forget that markets will still be around tomorrow, the day after and after that etc. Profit opportunities will always be around, but its important that we take the RIGHT trade and not mess up our trade criteria and end up entering too early then losing as a result.

That’s why in our Psychology management module we have this specific affirmation – ‘If I miss a trade its OK because there will always be another trade‘. By saying this out loud (as we recommend) you are entering the right mind frame to trade. You understand that there will always be other opportunities and your impulsiveness is reduced. After 21 trades of saying this out loud¬†it is proven that it will soon etch deep into your psychology and you will always act in the correct manner.

This is just ONE of the many key affirmations we recommend you revise. You are also free to add in your own. If you find any other shortcomings you can always either modify your trade entrance checklist to prevent that problem or modify your trading affirmations to enhance your psychology.

So in summary, I put forth a case that while spreadsheets are great for purely logging trades they often can work against you because you could get stuck in focusing on your failures.By actively engaging in preventing errors through our pre-entrance checklist and re-framing limiting beliefs through our psychology management module you are taking active control of your trading which will give you greater confidence and discipline which will help you get the results you want from your trading.

If you haven’t already got your free account to the Trading Consistently Journal, why not try it now? Claim your free account today¬†and take the steps to get consistent results from your trading.

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Sow Behl

Sow is a 6 year trading veteran primarily trading FX and equity markets making 1982% return in 2014. After spending years and countless failures trying to find the elusive holy grail lead him to discover elements of what truly makes successful trader. Sow founded the Trading Consistently Journal as a mission to help all traders understand and improve their trading psychology, discipline and consistency. Learn more.

3 Comments

  1. Yeah, the TC journal rocks my socks off. awesome stuff Sam.

    Reply
    • Haha, awesome stuff Johnny, glad your enjoying it mate.

      Reply
  2. thanks for a great article. I’ve been using spreadsheets for sometime and its clear to me that they don’t work.

    Reply

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