Yukoner's 2015 Psychological Journal

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Yukoner, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Yukoner


    This is the continuation of the journal from last year, where my focus was on stepping up and trading OPM (Other People's Money), and in this case I am trying out in a continuous 50K combine with TopStepTrader. I past my second combine attempt last year, and then ran into issues that contributed to me not moving past live trader prep. Here is more info... http://www.elitetrader.com/et/index.php?threads/yukoners-psychological-trading-journal.287520/

    Thanks in advance to anyone reading this! This is my journey, about the other 80% of trading... and what is going on in my head. I will be writing raw. Holding back very little. For me, this process has uncovered many blind spots, and so I ask the reader... should you wish to contribute, then please don't hold back either.

    Lastly, let me first thank TopStepTrader for the opportunity, Mark Seflin for his psych coaching, and @Redneck , @NoDoji and @Handle123 for their unselfish contribution to the previous journal last year. You all helped me become a better trader!

    2015 is going to be a great year!
  2. Yukoner


    Day #1 - Today, January 5th was the day I planned to start trading the combine. However, my parents are down visiting and then last night my youngest son got quite sick and was up coughing most of the night and interrupting my sleep.

    So today I had a decision to make, and it was one I struggled with. To trade the combine or not to trade? I decided with the parents around AND the lack of sleep, that I wouldn't be in the best condition to tackle the combine. So I decided to not trade in the combine, unless there was a perfect high probability setup (Turned out there was two, but never took them as I was focused live).

    However, I did trade small size in my own live account. Idea was to just ease into the New Year after the holidays. That trading went very well, but I can't daytrade my own account and also do a combine. So I will now only be position trading live, as my primary focus is to pass this combine and be able to trade OPM sometime in February.

  3. Yukoner


    Day #2 - Still have family visiting, but was able to dedicate the morning to active trading. Started the day holding back about getting into a trade. (Actually felt like that all day) and my first trade I took, I scratched it at breakeven... mainly cause my brain was just crazy tense as soon as I put the trade on. Worried about losing, about being wrong.

    The second trade, I finally entered after pulling orders three times that would have been filled and the market went my way... so I waited, and when the market came back to my level I entered. Got stopped out on that trade with a 20 tick gain.

    It felt great to have some profit up on the board, but I still was jumpy and really concerned about entering trades. I kept seeing setups, I would start to enter... but hesitate... and then watch the market move away without me. Finally, late in the trading day I started to at least try some trades... looking for some profit, but also just wanting to enter a trade. I put on three trades, and was stopped out of all three of them... but, if you followed my previous journal you can probably guess what happened:
    1. Two of the trades went to a full 30 tick profit, had I not adjusted the 14 tick stop loss, I never would have been stopped out.
    2. One of the trades was stopped out for a full 14 ticks.
    Seriously, thinking I need to just put the trades on, and not do any adjustments. Prior to entering the trade is when I will be thinking the clearest, and so this does make sense... even though it goes against my nature.

    Of interest, I went to put a long trade on today, and just before clicking the mouse I felt a sharp pain hit my chest. It was like I was doing something wrong! I stopped and considered what I was feeling... and didn't take the trade... which would have stopped me out (trading against the trend). Don't know if I can call it intuition or not, but wanted to make a note of it.

    So perhaps, today was just being jumpy with the new year, new combine, etc. However, I was seeing the market really well though, and now I just need to accept that I am worth getting paid for that skill... so then do what I know to do.

    On another note, yesterday I started reading the book that @NoDoji recommended to me. It is a workbook... and it is really good! (Thoughts and Feelings: Taking control of your moods and your life)

  4. NoDoji


    It's tedious work in that book, but well worth it, IMHO :)
    Yukoner likes this.
  5. Handle123


    Trading Oil, I use Protective stops, you have to as this market can cause spikes. I think you have basic amount to risk on each trade? I use a Flow Chart when I trade, once in trade, price flows and depending on where Price goes, I have answers on this flow chart, I just follow as to what I am suppose to do based on either time of being in the trade or Price patterns developing that might say to tighten protective stop or possible change target, but it is all spelled out for me. After awhile you memorize the flow chart, you develop a habit. It sounds like you have not gotten your trading into some type of habit, for me, it is best to concentrate on following my rules much more than what price is doing. Try looking at trading like it is a game, and better you become, you can continue to play.
    Zzoom and Yukoner like this.
  6. Yukoner


    I ran the numbers from Day #2 (today) and had I not adjusted my stops on those last three trades I would have washed out with an extra 46 ticks. This would have netted my day out with about $640 after commissions rather than $21. Significant.

    Had a good talk with my psych coach. Settled on a planned experiment tomorrow, for Day #3, I am going to trade with static stops and take profits. Going to just take the trades as they come and see what happens.

    It will be interesting... on an EIA and FOMC day.

    Lastly, I was driving home from the office and had a thought based on a sport psychologist I had heard.... "My effort on its own is something to celebrate". So why not celebrate each day that I go into the market place of uncertainty and trade?
  7. Yukoner


    Day #3 - Woke up feeling good about the day, and ready to try the experiment of static stops and take profits. OMG, was it painful!!

    I saw at least three trades go 20 to 30 ticks in my favor, and very close to my take profit, only to see them reverse and stop me out fully. The worst was adding to a winner, so I am now short two contracts, and up 21 ticks on average... watching it bang against support, and then sit there and watch it reverse back to stop me out.

    Another interesting thing about this experiment, was that in the trades that were winners, I could see the momentum take place and was pretty sure they would continue much higher.... and I was so tempted to pull my take profit. However, what would that accomplish? So I stuck with my plan.

    It was an internal struggle to sit there and let these trades just work, one way or the other. A few times my finger was hovering above the mouse, and my brain pleading for justification to "just click"... but I didn't. The reason I didn't was that my focus was on the process of trading a certain way today... so if I "clicked out" I was violating that process.

    Now the most interesting thing. I feel good about the day. I stuck with the plan, even when it was painful. I took trades, and I let them work out one way or the other. So I showed myself, that I can do this... I can stick to the plan. And guess, what... nobody died. ;)

    jsmacksem likes this.
  8. Yukoner


    Wanted to document today's trading stats... Jan 07.
  9. Redneck


    Good Job..., and you should feel good

    Starting out..., sticking to our plan is just plain hard..., and painful

    But it is the absolute correct way to go about trading

    It's also a mental drain - be sure to purposely rest


    And if while trading - you find yourself becoming battle fatigued - don't be hesitant to step away and regroup


    Learning to trade is kind of like building a stairs - we can keep moving up - so long as we don't tear apart what we've already built

    You built a solid step today - no need to cause yourself to go back and rebuild it


    Yukoner likes this.
  10. Yukoner


    Day #4 - This is post I hate to write. Today, or specifically last night, I was a very unprofessional trader. Taught me a good lesson though...

    I was relaxing, enjoying the evening, and drinking a beer when I noticed on my cell phone that oil had shoot significantly higher....and then retraced... but was looking like a classic entry signal for me... and I know sooner or later, this market is going to rip higher. So I went long my own account, but then thought, hey why not the combine account too.
    Note: Two rules broken, 1) Don't trade if I have had a drink. 2) Only trade combine in specific times

    The interesting thing was that I was not scared, or worried... I was just relaxed... and willing to risk a few ticks to see if this was going my way or not. That was all good, but I wasn't focused. My girlfriend was coming over, and we hadn't had much time to hang out with my parents visiting, and I was really looking forward to spending some time with her! Well, she arrives... and I show her that I am in a trade... and explaining why I was long.

    Then I say, in a joking kind of way... "Now that you are here I can go all in" (Dear Reader, can you see where this is heading?)
    So I then click on long 4 contracts, but a few ticks below the market... again, joking about "being all in".... and I am not really serious about being long that many, when suddenly this slow moving lazy market drops, fills me, and keeps going down. (Proof that God exists and He is trying to teach my thick skull a lesson!)
    Note: Five more rules broken: 3) Trading without focus. 4) Added to a losing trade. 5) Trading too big of size for account 6) Trading to impress. 7) Trading without an edge.

    I am now long 5 contracts ($50 a tick) and I watch for a brief moment, hoping and wishing and begging for the market to go back up... just a few ticks... please! Once I realized what I was doing, I started closing it out before I would hit my loss limit for the day.
    Note: At least I did one smart thing... close out of a stupid trade as soon as you realize it.

    Nothing to do with my awesome girlfriend, I was just unprofessional, and I know better... and I hate that I have to write this down today.

    On the positive side, I am noticing that when trading this combine the market doesn't have as much fear to me that it had before. It is like I am realizing it can't hurt me, unless I let it... and that I know how to control risk, and so now I just need to trade correctly. When I get to the point, that I can put trades on and stay in a normal neutral mindset, then I will be easily passing this combine and going into live trading OPM.

    For those of you laughing, I know, it is crazy... what was I thinking.

    #10     Jan 8, 2015