Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Three Common Mistakes Traders Make With Their Trading Reviews

In a recent post, I described the process of making frequent reviews and small, steady improvements as a way of building the consistency and success of our trading.  Our trading results will never be more consistent than our trading process.  But how do we construct a good review, so that we can extract the greatest learning from our experience?  The recent Three Minute Trading Coach video kicks off that topic and emphasizes the importance of reviewing both what we trade and how we trade.

What I find is that traders commonly make three mistakes when they review their trading:

1)  They review too much - If reviews are very broad and attempt to capture all market opportunities, all the mistakes we made, and all the goals we can set, then nothing is truly prioritized.  A good review is an efficient review, targeting our greatest successes and shortcomings on the day or week and then making those the focus on our efforts at improvement.  Working on fewer goals more intensively leads to more lasting change.  If we look at everything, we internalize very little.

2)  They aren't actionable - Reviews often summarize problems and intentions.  "I traded too large, so I need to be more careful with my sizing tomorrow" might be a journal entry.  That doesn't cut it.  What, specifically will you do to be careful with your sizing?  How will you determine proper sizing?  How will you address frustration factors that might lead to poor sizing decisions.  A review should finish with a highly concrete game plan for the next day, week, etc.  A review without a plan is merely a look in the rear view mirror.  By itself, it cannot get you to your desired destination.

3)  They are throwaway - Once we conduct a review and set goals and plans, we need to then return to that review and those goals and plans after our next day or week of trading and ask ourselves, "Did I succeed with the goals I set?"  If not, we need to tweak our plans for the next time period.  If we did succeed, we need to make note of what we did so that those actions can become more consistent, more part of an automatic process.  If we don't revisit our goals and plans, we aren't truly holding ourselves accountable.

Good reviews give you fresh views.  Good reviews help you see new things in the markets you trade and in how you're trading them.  If reviews aren't providing you with insights, they probably aren't providing you with learning.

Further Resources: