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Keeping a trading journal is an essential tool for modern traders, as it helps them learn more about the financial markets and better master what they already know. At the same time, it’s a way to ensure the investor is held accountable for both wins and losses.

How to keep a trading journal? This material has answers to these and other questions.

Trading Journals: Why Are They Important?

What constitutes a trading journal? A trading journal, or trading diary, is a tool traders use to maintain a comprehensive record of their trades, encompassing both favorable and unfavorable outcomes. However, what would prompt an individual to engage in such actions? 

A comprehensive trading diary can aid in developing a trader through significant means. 

1. Enhance Trading Strategies 

Firstly, the practice of maintaining a trading journal aids in the monitoring and enhancement of one’s trading strategy. 

The ability to retrospectively analyze the performance of a trading strategy enables one to refine and potentially enhance its effectiveness, aiming for increased success and profitability through diligent efforts. 

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After evaluating the effectiveness of a trading strategy, one may decide it is best to explore a completely new approach. 

2. Develop Trading Skills 

Maintaining a trading journal can assist in enhancing trading strategies and fostering growth as a more consistent trader. 

A trading diary enables one to observe correct and incorrect decisions made. One can work on improving shortcomings and further finessing strengths by identifying successes and failures. 

It is often challenging for individuals to acknowledge instances of being incorrect or making errors. While it is a common occurrence, it can impede one’s growth as a trader, as deriving lessons from mistakes is among the most efficient methods of enhancing proficiency. By maintaining a Forex trading journal that documents all activities, one must confront objective realities and avoid the inclination to emphasize positive outcomes while disregarding negative ones selectively. 

The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Trading Journal

The format of a trading journal may vary among traders, but its content tends to be similar. 

Trading diaries can be recorded in spreadsheets like Excel or note-taking applications, depending on personal preference. The recording method is of minimal significance; the focus lies on the information’s value and potential to enhance your trading skills. 

When creating an influential trading journal, it is generally recommended to include comprehensive information for optimal results. At a minimum, a trading diary should consist of the following: 

  • Stop-Loss and Target Levels 
  • Exit Point 
  • Trade Outcome (Profit/Loss) 
  • Date and Time 
  • Trading Instrument – e.g., GBPUSD 
  • Timeframe 
  • Position Size 
  • Long or Short 
  • Entry Point 

The primary data and information required for inclusion in a trading journal are as follows. However, in forex trading, the most effective trading journals delve beyond surface-level observations, delving into the rationale behind one’s actions and providing a more comprehensive understanding of the prevailing circumstances. 

What is meant by painting a broader picture? Please provide a rationale, expectations, and reasons for the record. Please document all actions taken before the trade and record your emotional state. 

Was there a high level of activity today? What actions were taken after the trade was entered? Was it monitored? Was the television turned on and left unattended for a few hours? 

Why was the trade closed? Was there any nervousness experienced? Or was the market starting to shift? 

Asking and answering additional types of questions can be helpful for future analysis of successful and unsuccessful decisions.

How to Make a Good Trading Journal

Before concluding, a list of several additional tips has been compiled to assist in the creation of an optimal trading journal. 

  • Please provide an objective response. In the event of being distracted by external stimuli, such as television, failing to close a trade, it is advisable to document the occurrence. 
  • Allocate a designated period after each week to examine your trading journal and assess the week’s activities. 
  • Capture screenshots of trading setups and store them in the trading diary for future analysis of trades during journal review. 
  • Include relevant information and observations about the market being traded. For example, when changing the EURUSD currency pair and later the same day, there is a scheduled announcement by the European Central Bank. The tracking of events planned, such as this can be done by utilizing an economic calendar. 
  • It is essential to document emotions and maintain honesty. Maintaining emotional control is a crucial aspect of achieving success in trading, and writing these emotions in your trading diary can aid in this endeavor. 


A trading journal is considered a precious tool for novice traders to enhance their skills. Maintaining a comprehensive trading diary can gain insights from both successful and unsuccessful trades, enhancing trading strategies and skill development. 

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Nathan Boardman

By Nathan Boardman

Nathan Boardman, acclaimed Forex trader and author, specializes in market analysis, strategy development, and risk management. His insightful articles, published in Forex Profiles, empower readers to navigate the currency market successfully.

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