What helpful lessons have you learned over the last year? Did everything work out just fine and you reached your turnover goals? What hurdles did you overcome and which problems did you solve? Is your strategy still looking the same as it did a year ago? Today, I want to talk about the importance of evaluating your trading year so you can answer those questions and make a plan for the new year. Every trader should make an evaluation of his/her performance at least once or twice per year and plan ahead for the upcoming period. Whether you are a pro or desire to become one, you need to set some standards and create a solid plan for your trading in order to reach your goals.
Evaluate & Improve Your Results!
After a three or six month period, I usually log into my broker account and look at my trading history since my last review. All brokers keep track of your trading history so this is easy, just select a period of time, for example 3, 6 or 12 month, and go through them. What I specifically look for is how well I did for the period, how much I invested per trade and how I could have increased my profits.
Look at what your risk per trade was, did you change it too often or use random amounts and thus, it lowered your overall results? Or were you investing too little despite the fact that you were doing so well? One way to analyze this is through your win/loss ratio which I always calculate first. Then, for comparison, I assume that I had used the same investment amount for all the trades and compare this to how much I have really earned. I also try increasing and lowering my risk exposure, like 2%, 3% and 5% to identify the “safest” but yet most profitable money management in relation to my deposit and the minimum investment amount allowed. These obtained results will tell me which actions to take in order to improve my success rate for the next period of x months.
Here is something to help you out with the calculations! Download Okane’s Excel Sheet and type in your numbers and let it do the work for you!
Evaluate & Improve Your Strategy
Every trader evolves as time passes and so do their strategies. The market changes, new tools are learned and new techniques mastered. To help I always save my chart templates so that I can look back and identify where I was, what has changed, or what needs to be changed, and then quantify it into a new rule for the new year. Obviously, your strategy is connected to your results. Therefore, if you have saved your templates on a monthly basis and given each a date, it’s easy to relate your monthly results to your tweaked strategy! You can also use a trading diary for this evaluation, looking back at your older posts, the charts and what you have written can be a big help in improving future results.
Another evaluation should be regarding your analysis itself. This time, I am talking about your stance in the market and how you approach the charts, the different time frames, support, resistance lines and the trend lines. What time frames were you most focused on and did they have a negative or positive impact on your statistics? I can say with certainty that most traders hurt their analysis by neglecting the higher time frames where the strongest trends are found.
For me personally, I saw a huge improvement after I began using higher time-frames like the daily, weekly and monthly charts. The year before that I was too fixed on the M5/M15, ignoring longer term trends, and losing trades I was sure would win.
Profitable Traders Plan Ahead!
Don’t just work hard, work smart! Smart traders plan ahead and, thanks to looking back at their mistakes and accomplishments, are able to plan for profits. The idea isn’t to cry over spilled milk but to learn and improve from your mistakes. The key is to make rules, stick to them, and then review them and your results on a regular basis. If you need to add a rule, remove a rule or change one that is the time to do it, and then stick to it because you will have no chance of reaching your goals if you don’t. Making a plan is planning for success, having no plan is planning for failure.