Everything You Need To Know About Trading Journal

By Wilbert S

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

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Super-serious traders keep trading journals. This may come as a surprise to many, but it’s the reality. Trading journals form a core part of documenting the analysis, reasons, and outcomes of trades.

Journals are synonymous with accounting. So why bring them into the trading arenas? Many traders often skip this crucial part of self-discipline. And end up in the huge percentage of starter traders that fail right after inception.

Honestly, a journal in trading is very simple to start and maintain. As part of our commitment, we made efforts to reach out to Ezekiel Chew – a renowned trader and lead trainer of Forex traders. Ezekiel represents Asia Forex Mentor. And he will lead us in this blog post discussing trading logs.

Reading along with this post, you’ll grasp the main reasons why trading logs are important. In fact, some refer to them as a trader’s best friends. And in the spirit of laying more emphasis on the need for traders to keep trading logs, there’s a key section on how to use them.

What is Trading Journal

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A simple trading journal is a log. The log includes all the traders you’ve taken and closed as well as the plans to take in the near future. The main purpose of a trade log is self-evaluation. And it helps analyze trading results with any interactive charts.

Therefore, a trader on any market timeframe-day traders or full-time trader has access to tools to start keeping records and manage a trade journal.

There is power in information, and at an individual level, traders can get so much from the discipline of starting and constantly updating a trading journal.

One key point to take note of is that it’s upon the will of a trader to keep a trading log. The power of noting down occurrences is vividly expressed with commitment in written forms. Most people, and equally traders, have a high memory of written records.

At the inception of a trading career, the journal seems a tedious task. It’s so especially for traders who are impatient and lacking at some level in self-discipline.

Types of trading Journals

Typically, there are several types of journals. And their essence is maintaining a log of trades and the key metrics around each.

Overall, you’ll find journals falling within three broad categories:

  • First are journals that are online or offline
  • Secondly are application journals, running on Ms. Excel
  • Thirdly are manuals that are automated (trading journal software) or manual

Whatever choice you go for, ensure it will work into the foreseeable future. Also, look at how far it’s user-friendly it is. Overall, the main purpose of a trading journal is to enhance your analysis, learning, and overall improvements in the course of time.

Advantages of Keeping a Trading Journal

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Maintaining a trading log has some inherent advantages. And traders willing to take it as a lifetime career have a great tool in the name of a trading journal to work with.

Here, we’ll look at the pros of maintaining a trading journal in search of the best trading strategies:

First, a trading journal helps a trader pick a correct trading style

Every trader faces unique scenarios while trading. Therefore, significant analysis of the data or trading performance helps to show a trader what will work for them.

One good instance is when a trader is fearful. The results of a carefully kept and up-to-date trade journal can show all that. A trader will fail to get a concrete answer to petty questions.

Some questions that help analyze Trading data and get a great trading style are:

  • What reason can you give for opening a trading position in the financial markets?
  • What analysis led to opening the position on a trading platform?
  • What is your position sizing and what’s the risk-to-reward ratio?

Analyzing trading patterns will also help define the kind of trader you are. Are you a day trader or a swing trader? Having all the actual data in one place, therefore, helps with deciding at each critical level.

Secondly, a trade journal helps spot the strengths/weaknesses of a trader

Arming yourself with real results in trading, only then can you identify your strong points trading the markets. In the same breath, the data will help you see your points of weakness.

The data you keep in the name of a trading journal will show some clear patterns. Looking at the same over time, some of the repetitive patterns can help you figure out more significant trends.

At the tail end, a trader is able to build on the strong points. Conversely, a trader can seek viable channels to reduce the weaknesses of their trading.  In the end, they grow over time, emerging with strong strategies and styles of trading the markets.

Thirdly, Trading Journals act as sources of information

Agreeably, there’s no trader who is the know-it-all. Therefore, there’s no room to stop learning new things along the way. Markets keep shifting, more so the technical and fundamental aspects that drive price action.

Over time trading strategies grow weak. It’s time to re-evaluate and sharpen approaches. All these require the input of a keenly observing trader. The best source of information is a trading journal. It brings in continuous documentation, analysis, learning, unlearning, and re-learning are the recipes for a thriving trader.

Benefits of a Trading Journal

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Competent traders build on three key pillars that trading journals best help make more form. We’ll go through the pillar- benefits of maintaining an updated trade journal as follows:

#1. Trading Journals Build Trading Discipline

When traders get used to the maintenance of a trade journal, it becomes ingrained as part of their trading recipe. It no longer is tedious but brings in more intensity and consistency at trading by building on the information it brings together with great ease from chart studies.

#2. Trading journals help re-affirm the notion that numbers do not lie

The trading statistics that a trader holds from maintaining a trade journal are a big asset. From them, traders can draw great insight, make observations, and keep tweaking trading strategies for the better.

While starting a training journal is simple, many traders fail at making the updates in a consistent manner. And that is the most important portion of the trade journal. Interpreting and analyzing the details is fairly easier.

#3. Trading Journals enforce a masterly of emotions while trading

Trading psychology plays a significant role in the success of a trader. If a trader is able to keep a journal, it gets fairly easy to notice some peculiar patterns in their trading activities.

Trading journals help a great deal in analyzing trader emotions. Further, the analysis also helps in identifying the trading patterns without the emotional portions.

Tracking helps with realistic flashbacks. A trader is able to trace their stream of thoughts at critical points in trading, like the opening and closing of trades. Overall, it helps build the emotional intelligence that wins at trading.

#4. Trading Journals Help with the Improvement of Risk Management

Carefully looking through performance via a trade journal will help to spot weaknesses with trading risks.

It’s from building on that that a trader is able to pull in more efforts and seal the loopholes that lose money and make overall improvements.

Overall, a trader is able to protect capital and sustain a successful trading life career.

Analyze your Trading Performance

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After making efforts to start and fully update a trade journal, the next important part is the analysis of previous trades. Traders should extend equal efforts to analysis of the trade journal as they pull in to maintain them.

There are key metrics that a trader will have to look up while analyzing trade journal:

First is the ROI. And in this case, is the maintenance of trading equity in light of wins or drawdowns. Experts recommend that the best chunk of data comprises 100 trades picked over a six months period.

Secondly, the best key thing to look out for is the R-multiple distribution. The R variable a trader looks out for is the ratio between a dollar you win versus a dollar you lose.

Learn to use the Trade Journal

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Learning how to use a trade journal builds on discipline to keep one with accurate and up-to-date trading data.

Here are the key details a trader should capture at a minimum:

#1. The opening price and time, as well the closing price and time per trade.

#2. The size of a position and respective target profit per trade

#3. The initial stop loss  and take profit positions

#4. Details of position scale in and out

#5. The fees or commissions

#6. Forex pairs or commodities you trade on

The above six are basic, as a trader; think about more metrics you can capture. Utmost is to appreciate capturing data that will help you filter things out.

And as a hint, go over to record finer details like:

  • Emotion while opening the trades ( Either in  high hopes, fear, anger, stress, or very relaxed)
  • Reason for opening the trades (Could it be fear of missing out or FOMO?)
  • Session of trading
  • Setups like price breakouts, scalping, reversal, or others
  • Physical location at the time of trade opening

Ideally, keeping a trade journal comes down to capturing as much as you can about your trading.

Using Trading Journal to be Successful

To re-emphasize, keeping a trade journal requires consistency. Over and above the consistency is a deeper analysis of the data.  Careful analysis helps you get clear reasons for the success or failure of your trading strategy.

And the same should take a rinse and repeat model:

  • Stay and improve on your points of trading strategy success
  • Aim to resolve the drawbacks with strategy failures – to keep improving over and over

Best Forex Trading Course

Ezekiel Chew's Biography
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The best Forex trading course is the One Core Program from Asia Forex Mentor by Ezekiel Chew. While trading skills are lucrative, it may take you so long to grasp what works and what doesn’t. It builds your skills from the viewpoint of a new trader with fear into an advanced trader working with strategies.

Your best option is a great course. Trainers and mentors are aware of what will help you conquer the markets. Fumbling alone can waste your chance at a lifetime career in trading. A course helps you fast-track on a tried and tested model.

Many traders make a final stop at the One Core Program. Which is among the top ten credible courses you can bank on? Traders go on to hit six-figure trades following a proven model. It’s a course that has helped retail and institutional traders transform their trading careers.




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Conclusion: Trading Journal

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Keeping a trading journal is a critical component of a trader who wants to develop strategies they can trade on successfully for life. Simply put, a trading journal is a log of key details of your trading activities.

There are no limitations as to how much you can capture above the basis. Traders should be free to store screenshots and video clips – so long as they help in the analysis and evaluation. In finer details, even the emotions count, so capturing them as part of a trading journal adds value.

Set Rules for Trading performance

There’s no rule that requires traders to keep a trading journal. However, according to experts, it is a high level of personal-trading discipline. Amazingly, other than personal analysis and evaluation, a mentor or a peer trader can share key insights after analyzing your trading journal.

Trading Journal FAQs

Why should I keep track of charts for a trading day?

Keeping track of charts as part of a trading journal helps evaluate the performance. With a screenshot, traders can recall many things: emotions and the eventual outcomes of the trades.

After careful analysis, a trader can grasp what best trading set ups work best for their trading. Of course, the aftermath is to refine what strategies work while improving on what isn’t.

Is there an example of how a journal can help me?

Yes. For instance, you notice that you earn more profits by holding trades overnight. It’s best to consider yourself a swing trader.

You may take the decision to entirely do away with day trading. As a result, your trading journal will help you upscale your results by concentrating on swing trading.




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Wilbert S

Wilbert is an avid researcher and is deeply passionate about finance and health. When he's not working, he writes research and review articles by doing a thorough analysis on the products based on personal experience, user reviews and feedbacks from forums, quora, reddit, trustpilot amongst others.

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