As a new trader, it is essential to improve regularly and consistently by keeping a detailed day trading journal. Using a trading journal is one of the most underutilized tools by beginner traders. Revisiting trades to break down what went right or wrong will help prevent future mistakes and improve decision-making and returns.
Here’s a free trading journal excel spreadsheet template to use to get you started, which includes data points specifically tailored for options trading. This MK Day Trading Journal template will help you to analyze your options trades and correct what you did wrong in a trade. Tracking activities over time will help you to examine trends and records of past performance.
Below, I will explain the downloadable trading journal and show you how to use it within your trading strategy.
What Is The MK Day Trading Journal?
The MK Trading Journal is a spreadsheet trading journal software that can function as your trading bible. Keeping a journal allows you to make manual entries, store trade data, and maintain your trade history.
Your day trade journal will help you analyze each trade from entry to exit. You will have a record of how much money you are making, whether you are consistent in applying a particular strategy, and where you are having issues. As a result, you will have recorded data to be able to make corrections.
At the end of each trading day, these questions will be determined by the specific trading notes that you enter. This data includes the number of contracts you secured, entry price, exit price, duration of the trade, profit, and personal feelings about your trades – giving you that extra trading edge.
The following section provides a step-by-step guide on using the MK Trading Journal.
How to Use The MK Day Trading Journal?
- Review your account balance
At the top of the spreadsheet, you will find an overview of your account. This overview contains cells for your starting balance. In the first cell, you will input the amount of money you will start with in your trading account. The next two slots are spaces for your trading revenue and account balance, which will update automatically once you enter your trade data in the cells below.
- Input trade data
The input data represents the key metrics you will need to fill out at the end of each trading day for your options trade.
For example, as shown in the image above, a trade is entered on May 17, 2021. A call is placed for 20 contracts at 2:00 pm at an entry price of .50 cents. The cost of the trade was $1000. At 2:10 pm the trade is exited at a price of .60 cents. A total trade revenue of $1200 was made. The trade took ten minutes which resulted in a profit of $200.
- Add screenshots
This area allows you to link a 5-minute and 1-minute chart to the spreadsheet. You can link these screenshots to the journal by clicking the cell for which you want to create a link. Then click “INSERT” on the toolbar and click “LINK” in the Links section. This will take you to your browser, where you can select any screenshots you’ve previously saved.
Screenshot From thinkorswim for Your Day Trading Journal
To take a screenshot from the thinkorswim trading platform, click on the “Show Actions” icon and select “Take a Screenshot.” Save the image to a folder.
- Assess your mindset, risk strategies, and trade decisions
One of the most valuable components of the MK Day Trading Journal is the section for entering critical metrics related to your emotional state of mind. Containing emotion, thinking quickly, and exercising discipline are components of what we might call trading psychology.
Controlling Fear and Greed
The successful options day trader controls fear and greed. These two human emotions drive market performance in directions that may be at odds with your fundamental trade strategy. Therefore, it is essential to continuously ask the right questions, write down the answers, and take full control of your future success.
How Did You Feel?
Analysis of your behavior and mindset with the day trading journal allows you to dig deep and ask questions such as “how did I feel when I made this trade,” “was I worried,” and “did I get enough sleep last night?”
Did You Make a Good Trade?
Your detailed reports will also help you evaluate “what did I do right” and “am I making good trades” as you assess your entries and exits. For instance, did I enter after my confirmations or cut my loss by getting out at the right time?
In What Areas Can You Improve Your Performance?
Lastly, this section allows you to evaluate where you can improve. For instance, the next time, you can remember to take a deep breath before trading.
You would be surprised how simple some steps could be, such as drinking some calming tea before a trade, listening to music, setting a planned stop-loss immediately before the trade, or choosing not to trade during power hour because you are just too exhausted by then.
Additional Tips for Your Day Trading Journal Mindset Practice
- Avoid snap decision-making. A snap decision refers to how you might dart in and out of stocks on short notice (FOMO). Stick to your trading plan. Know when to take profits and exit losses. Do not allow emotions to get in the way.
- Understand what fear is. Fear is a natural reaction to a perceived threat to your profit potential. Try quantifying this fear using a trade journal if you are struggling with fear. Consider what you are afraid of, and why you are fearful of it. But this thinking should occur before your trade, not in the middle of it.
- Overcome greed. Greed is often based on the instinct to do better, to get just a little more. You should learn to recognize this instinct and develop a trading plan based on rational thinking, not whims or instincts.
- Set Rules. You should create rules and follow them when the psychological threats come. Guidelines based on your risk-reward tolerance for entering and exiting a trade are necessary. Profit targets and stop losses should be in place to remove emotion from the process.
As described above, it is essential to keep track of your trading performance daily. There are many trading journals to choose from, but I believe the MK Day Trading Journal is the best trading journal to help you keep a detailed report and become a successful day trader under any market conditions.
The MK Day Trading Journal’s outstanding usability and customization possibilities are an excellent resource. When utilized alongside your trading strategy and any trading platform it can improve your mistakes.
Track Data and Be Consistent
Remember, journaling is a quick way to keep trade notes that strengthen focus and consistency in tracking your steps each day.
As a profitable day trader and coach I am available to assist you in building out your day trading journal. Journaling will complement the profitable strategy that I’ve shared with hundreds of successful day traders.
If you are new to day trading and do not know where or how to begin, I can help you achieve success early on. Likewise, if you are experienced but desire a different strategy, I am here to help you become a profitable day trader and realize the profit potential you desire.
Download the Journal
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