By Matt Hensley, Two Roads Trading
There is no better way to improve as a trader than self-reflection and self-review. As we move into the final quarter of 2019, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what you did well and what you still need some work on.
One thing these last couple of months should have shown you is how well you adapt to market conditions and how well your risk management rules have served you. I propose a special entry in your trade journal to close out 2019 as you wind down the year. (If you don’t keep a trade journal, start one. This can be your first entry.)
Ask yourself the following questions and answer them honestly. Don’t change or edit any answers, just write. Then go back and check to make sure your answer is accurate.
Was I able to adapt to the changing market conditions?
Thought points: As the market began to shift, was I always trying to “buy the dip”? Did I adjust my position size? Was I more selective on my entries? Was I true to my stops? Did I start to paper trade and try out short strategies?
Did I learn something new this year?
Thought points: Did I learn a new system or set up this year (whether you ultimately decided to use it or not doesn’t matter)? Did I read at least two trading related books and attempt to integrate those ideas into my trading? Did I attend seminars or webinars to network with fellow traders?
Am I using all the tools I have effectively?
Thought points: Do I use every trading related data feed I subscribe to? Do they help me find new trades? Do I know how to use all the parts of my platform that I need?
Where am I getting my trades ideas?
Thought points: Do my scanners give me good ideas or do they need to be adjusted? Do all the materials I subscribe to give me actionable trade ideas? Have I at least experimented with my own ideas?
Has my mentor or peer group helped keep me accountable in my trading?
Thought points: Do I have a group or mentor that gives me good and honest feedback? Do I respond to feedback and use it to better myself as a trader?
These are of course just a starting point. For beginning traders, struggles are normal, so the more important questions to ask are about lifestyle and resources. Have you adjusted as much as you can in your life to help your trading? Do you have too many or too few resources?
Most importantly, do you have a mentor and a trading community to help you along?
Disclaimer: The author is not a financial advisor and the following should not be taken as financial advice. This is by no means a complete discussion of the pros and cons of trading and/or investing. Please consult your own qualified advisors to determine what is appropriate and best suited to your specific investment objectives and risk tolerance.