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A Forex Trading Journal to Track Your Performance

By | in Forex Trading Tools | 79 Comments
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Forex-Trading-Journal-300x240Creating and maintaining a Forex trading journal is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle of professional Forex trading. In today’s lesson, I am going to give you a trading journal to log all your trades. I guarantee this will help your trading and mindset.

In last week’s article I discussed what a typical day in the life of a professional Forex trader is like.  I am going to first explain to you why having a Forex trading journal is essential to becoming a professional trader, and then I am going to show you what my trading journal looks like so that you get an idea of how to make your own. By the end of this article you will be able to create your very own Forex trading journal, and this is a huge step in the direction of becoming a professional trader.

If Your Impatient and Can’t wait to the end of this article. You can download my Forex Trading Journal here – I Track All My Trades Using This Spreadsheet. Please Make a comment after reading this article and Click The Facebook ‘Like Button”, Pay it forward and share it around with other traders.

Why do I need a Forex trading journal Nial?

First off, you need a trading journal because you need to track your trading performance over time. Many aspiring traders get caught up on the results of each individual trade; however, the professional trader knows that their trading performance is measured over a long series of trades, not just one or two. So, it’s important to have a way to track your results so that you can see how you are doing over a series of trades, this allows you to not get caught up on any individual trade. You can think of your trading journal as a constant and tangible reminder that your trading performance is measured over a series of trades. Having this type of reminder is very important, especially early-on in your trading career, it helps keep you focused and it helps to remove any emotion you might attach to any one trade.

Next, developing a track record is something you should take pride and pleasure in doing. If you have a tangible track record that shows your ability to be consistent and disciplined over time, you won’t want to mess up this display of mental strength by committing emotional or stupid trading mistakes. In this way, a trading journal works to keep you accountable, you need something to be accountable to as you trade, because there is no boss looking over your shoulder threatening to fire you if you don’t do XYZ exactly right. If you don’t have a lot of money to trade with, creating a track record that shows consistent trading results over a long period of time is proof that you CAN trade, and if you have this proof you can find people to fund you. So, as we can now see, creating and maintaining a Forex trading journal is a key element to any effective Forex trading plan.

Finally, as we discussed in last week’s article about a day in the life of a pro trader, your trading should be a routine. Creating and maintaining a trading journal gives you the structure required to build your trading routine on and it also helps you examine and focus on each individual element of a trade, which we will discuss below. Essentially, Forex trading success is the result of doing a lot of things the right way every time you interact with the market, and a Forex trading journal helps you do everything the right way every time you trade.

What should my trading journal include and how do I make one?

The images below are actual screen shots of my trading journal. I have entered example trade parameters below each heading just for demonstration purposes; it wasn’t an actual trade that I took, although it was a good price trading action setup. However, this is the same trading journal I use; you can use it too if you like, or tweak it to your desire.

- Entry date: This is self-explanatory; the date you entered the trade, the date you got filled is what you want here (if the order got filled). If the order never gets filled just delete it from you journal.

- Security / FX pair: The particular security traded, this will either be a currency pair or Gold / Silver for most of us. If you are unsure which currency pairs are best to trade, check out this article: best Forex currency pairs to trade?

- Entry B / S: Here you enter whether you bought or sold and record the specific level/price you entered at.

- Planned Stop and Planned Target: You will put your pre-determined stop and target price in these boxes. It’s very important to pre-define your stop level and target level. If you have pre-determined that you will trail your stop, you can just type something in this box describing your trail method, for example you might type; “trail stop each time trade moves 1 times risk in my favor”.

- Possible $ Risk: How much money can you lose on the trade?

- Possible $ Reward: How much money are you aiming to make on the trade?

- Position size (lots): Your position size on the trade, or the number of micro / mini / standard lots being traded. To learn more about position size click here: Forex position sizing.

- Exit Price: What price did you actually exit the trade at? To learn about exiting trades click here: Know When to Hold em, Know When to Fold em.

- Pips +/-: How many pips you gained or lost on the trade.

- Total P/L: How much total money you made or lost on the trade.

- Planned R:R : What was the pre-defined risk reward ratio of the trade?

- Actual R:R : What did the risk reward ratio actually end up being? This is important, if you aren’t achieving a risk reward of 1:2 or greater on your winning trades, you will see that over time it’s very hard to make money in the markets. Also, you will notice that if you take profits prematurely this greatly lowers your risk : reward ratio, and of course if you take a risk that is larger than what you had planned the same thing happens.

- Exit date: Date the trade closed.

- Setup: What was the setup / why did you take the trade? Did you trade a valid price action trading strategy?

Final thoughts

Documenting your Forex trading results is a necessary component to becoming a professional Forex trader. As your trading journal progresses over a series of trades, you will start to see the significance of it more clearly. The power of risk reward and money management will become glaringly evident to you as you look over your trading journal after a few months go by. Having this tangible piece of evidence to explicitly show you how discipline and patience pay off over time, is a critical element to attaining and maintaining the proper Forex trading mindset. The reality of Forex trading is that at some point on your journey of learning how to trade, you absolutely have to figure out a way to become a disciplined and organized trader, otherwise you simply will not become successful in the markets. Creating and meticulously maintaining a Forex trading journal is the quickest and most effective way to develop into a disciplined and profitable Forex trader. 

You can download the Forex trading journal that I useclick here to download the forex trading journal spreadsheet excel file (you will need ms office to open this file).

nialfuller

About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. He has a monthly readership of 250,000+ traders and has taught 15,000+ students since 2008. Checkout Nial’s Forex Course here.

79 Comments - Click Here to Leave a Comment

  1. Chip says:

    Nial,

    As everyone else has already said, THANK YOU for this article, this spreadsheet and all the other information that you are providing.

    I have added another column to the sheet; “Mindset” where I rank my “mood” on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s a totally subjective point system where I factor in my positive/negative frame of mind (good mood/bad mood), the distractions I have at the moment, and other things which affect my trading decision. For the sake of being as honest as possible with myself, it’s important to enter this number in BEFORE I see the results of the trade. I find that it’s another way to see what is working and what is not.

    Thank you again!

  2. Woodrow says:

    Hi there, of course this piece of writing is actually nice and I have learned
    lot of things from it concerning blogging. thanks.

  3. jacob says:

    Thats what we all need is the tools to inch that much closer to our dreams. Thank you for sharing your tricks of the trade.

  4. Glen Parker says:

    Many thanks, Nial… I was about to create my own when I thought of Googling a solution – you came up #3 (and the first “free” option!)

  5. matthew says:

    Thx Nail, big thumb up for this article.

  6. Jinesh says:

    good article, thanks

  7. RR says:

    thank u nail :)

  8. Mahdi hatami says:

    great idea

  9. Daniel says:

    Thanks Nial,I am a novice to Forex, I purchased your course, and I am changing from the inside (My mind set). Thank you for the Journal which will act like a mirror, showing me my strength and weakness as well.

    You are a gifted teacher.

    Daniel.

  10. Anna says:

    Thank you Nial.
    Your journal is much clearer than mine esp excel format.
    I will use urs…

  11. Haroun Kola says:

    Thanks Niall. Just downloaded.

  12. Bram says:

    All this time I was using a spiral… This is much more minimalistic to my lifestyle. Thank you!

  13. carlos pedraza says:

    Thank you Nail.Following your advise!!!

  14. Yemi Fayawo says:

    Thank you Nial for these free articles you’ve provided for aspiring traders like us. God bless you for taking the time to write them and teach us. I’ve gained useful insights into Forex, now that I’m informed I’ve begun practicing with virtual money and my performance is improving. Sooner than later I’ll be joining your trading community.

    Yemi, London

  15. kamal says:

    its Good,

    Congratulation your Work.

  16. Kahn says:

    Thank you Nial Great work…

    Very useful information

    Kahn from Sydney

  17. fatimah says:

    Thank you Nial, your trading journal is really simple to follow, will start using it from now on.

    cheers fatimah

  18. WEss says:

    Thank you Nial for the journal template..I was wondering how I would make one.You’re simply the best.God Bless the work of your hands.

    wess
    kenya

  19. Jack Maverick says:

    Excellent tool, Nial. Nicely done.

  20. lazar-85 says:

    Thanks for the Journal was looking for something similar. Sorry for my english ( i am from Ukraine)

  21. Mahdi says:

    Thank you for the trading journal,it is very useful

    mahdi

  22. Jay says:

    Thanks a lot Nial for being such a good mentor and sharing all of your secrets with us. Thanks a lot for answering the emails and being there for your followers!

    Jay

  23. gboyega says:

    nice post here, just got referred to your site by a friend fews days back and am just loving all the great articles and videos am seeing here. big thumbs up to you,

  24. Rao says:

    Thanks just downloaded your speadsheet. Thanks a ton.

  25. KRISTOFA says:

    Thanks Nial. Trading journal makes one really accountable, responsible and objective in your trading. Following it religiously makes ones to be patient and focused.
    God bless Nial for us all.
    OKENTA

  26. Earl M says:

    Thanks Nail for the trading journal really needed it!

  27. Allen says:

    Thanks Nail for being so genuine. You are a true hero in this business.

  28. eric says:

    thanks for the forex trading journal Nial, it’s very useful to track my trading records.

  29. William says:

    Thanks Nail for the wonderful write up.

    As most of the trades involve swaps/interest, do we take them into account into our journal?

    A newbie here.

    Thanks in advance.

  30. Tom says:

    People that use more than one broker, note in the journal which broker the trades are with?

    Thanks Nial for the spreadsheet journal, very useful!
    I have set mine up!
    Thanks

  31. Tomson says:

    Hi Nial,

    Thanks a lot, I have added one more column to mine also:

    What happend after Exit?
    – Did it go further in the right direction, or what?

    For me this is a help, because I can see that I sometimes set the SL to close, or get in to quick.
    So now I can follow up if my setup is right, but maybe my entry or SL was wrong.

  32. Anthony says:

    Thanks Nial, another vital trading tool you have supplied for this community.

  33. Rocket says:

    Nial,

    Another great article to help us maintain trading discipline and become successful.

    Many Thanks

  34. Zack says:

    Quality info Nial. Peace!!

  35. Daljit says:

    Thanks Nial, this will be a great help. All your articles are very helpful and easy to understand the trading concept.

  36. MaxForex says:

    Hi Nial, Thanks for the Trading Journal spreadsheet, you have prompted me to upgrade from my old “Forex Log.txt”

    The spreadsheet is bound to provide a more detailed analysis of my trading from now on.

    Keep up the good work !

  37. Hamsah says:

    Very good explaination, thks Nial.

  38. andrew says:

    hi, thank”s for the great tip. cheers andrew

  39. samir says:

    Thank you,Nail.
    you are changing my life of trading entirely to professional trader.

  40. rikus says:

    Hai Nial,

    Your article above helped me on the track. Thanks a lot.

    rikus

  41. Benard says:

    Thanks Nial.

    I will complet my trading journal with yours.

    Regards

    Behzad

  42. Daniel says:

    Practical buddy – you keep the good things coming – I personally want to thankyou because I am going from not knowing anything about trading to becoming a trdaer with good results – It’s all clicking, this is just another bit of practical help…

  43. Adam says:

    Thanks alot Nial, Your a wonderful mentor and I cannot believe the free stuff you give away here.

    Guys, I do trade and this template which Nial has given you is awesome in many ways. Let me briefly explain:

    Not only does it make you accountable, it gives you a thorugh trading plan. Too many amateur traders put money into the market and think there going to get rich on one trade. Even more painfiul is the fact that they think there accounts will triple or even quadruple in one trade.

    This template will teach you consistency, and will train your eyes to always lock on to exactly where you entered/ exit a trade in terms of pip value. This will get you guys out of the habit of thinking about money and looking at the FX market more carefully interms of probability. It will also teach you to take profits without being greedy.

    Guys, I cannot stress enough how trading is a marathon not a sprint! so please take heed and use all this information that Nial is giving away. I have seen a few top trading professionals and let me be quite frank, they think interms of safety and not risk. Be safe and use this tool too your advantage. It is dead easy!

    To see the full benefit os this template please view Nial’s lesson on Risk To Reward, becasue shows you how you could lose far more trades than you win and still be a winner!

    Thanks again Nial, God Bless!

    Adam Ihsan

  44. William says:

    Thank you Nial,

    This is a gem. My own journal is too complicated, being more detailed, that is. I rarely use the extra data that I imput and moreover, it is manual (pencil on paper)rather that electronic… old technology but it doesn’t go down.

    Many thanks for your constant lessons.

    Best regards,

    William

  45. Kotijett says:

    Your contribution to me is priceless and as such take your advice and implement it as part of my trading. Thank you for this article on the trading journal. Nice one!

  46. JHW says:

    Logical form/Emotional speed
    Thanks Nial :-)

  47. Gurpal Chagar says:

    Hi Nial,

    Hope you are well. Thanks for another informative and brialliant article.

    Thanks and Regards

    Gurpal

  48. Alex says:

    Thanks Nial for the link to your trading journal which I have now set up for all my future trades. I’m very grateful for all your articles and great advice that all helps to keep me on the right track. Cheers!

  49. ng says:

    thanks alot nial,a wonderful article,great work

  50. Ramli says:

    Thanks. I already have my own journal.
    I may organise my journal as proffesional trader like you.
    Usually mine, I will draw the P.A pattern as well.

    Thanks.

    Cheers

  51. Ed says:

    Was sitting down earlier today to start to creat a journal for my trading. And now i have one. Thanks Heaps Nial

  52. Kingsley says:

    Hey Nial
    Great article!
    In additional to the journal, I also do video recordings of the trades that I will take. That way I can review the trades that I took and learn from it.

    King

  53. Mohamad Fauzan says:

    at first it doesn’t seem that making a trading journal is important and after i read this article it really help open my mind and after this i gonna make my own trade journal.. Thanks Nial

  54. steve20555 says:

    Another great article, I am using a journal but yours looks simpler and easiar to follow than mine, so I’m downloading it.

    Thanks Nial, your the only out there that I’ve come across who covers everything.

    Steve

  55. allan says:

    Nice article Nial. I often get caught up in the trade that despite a fairly good winning percentage, I still lose the gains in one major loss. I think I need to review my trading strategies via a journal to track where I make my mistakes. Thanks for this informative entry.

  56. Ezzywave says:

    Great post Nial, I will use it to replace my journal…. and start to record ALL my trades. As someone who has taken your FX course and is a forum member I am beginning to realise that the discipline required to be a successful trader is critically important.

    Thanks and cheers

    EW

  57. Filopastry says:

    I started my own journal very similar I calculate my position at end of every month and work out how many trading win/loss ratio. It is very insightful considering I have regular brain explosions. I am on the path to being consistent.
    Thanks again Nial.

  58. Kenny R says:

    Great thing you are doing here Nial!! I’ve followed your advice from the beginning about having a trading journal and even go the next step and added a column for how i’m feeling before I put the trades on and how I feel after which is strengthening my psychological approach towards trading. It has helped tremendously! Keep up the great work Nial! :-)

  59. Ray says:

    Great stuff – I shall adopt your journal!

    Nial – Would it be possible for you to show your written trading plan? In particular how it is layed out – your rules.
    This may help me write my own.

    Regards

  60. Parakrama says:

    Your guidance has helped me to improve a lot. So far i never kept any journal like this. Certainly, this will help to improve my performance in the long run. Thanks.

  61. Souto says:

    Hi Nial,
    Another great article with excel bonus!!!
    Well explain with visual add, can be more easy!!
    Thanks
    Souto

  62. Zac says:

    Strange…. I have Windows 7 Premium version. However, not a big deal; I can always type the headings on my spreadsheet, when I feel less lazy that is…..lol…..

    Nice journal though. Thx a lot. ;)

  63. Paul says:

    Thanks Nial,

    You really do help us guys and i just want to say a big thank you for doing this journal, really appreciate it

  64. Adam says:

    Hi,

    Excellent tool to use – sets things out really well and makes things that little bit more easier. It is vital to trading you keep records and this excellent yet simple tool does that – thanks Nial.

    Excellent comment from Graham – could not agree more. It takes a lot of time to learn to trade but with Nial you have an edge that will make it a lot easier and shorten the learning curve.

    Good luck all

    Cheers,
    Adam

  65. Zac says:

    I get a message that I need winzip, which I don’t have, to open the file. Did anyone open the file without a zip software?? :P

    1. nial says:

      any person using windows version that is this old needs to upgrade.
      new windows versions don’t prompt for this.

  66. Steve says:

    Hi Nial and all who are reading this,
    I believe trading is at least 90% psychology and requires a lot of personal transformation work with emotional states and trading mental strategies. I am moving into my new trading office shortly and although I have a trading journal, I am always looking for new ideas. What I love about Nial’s journal is the simple visual record to keep me accountable and responsible for my trading decisions. Keeping a balanced emotional state with a proven trading journal tool like this is a record of fact, I can not deny.
    Thanks for your lesson Nial

    You seriously have my attention.
    Steve

    1. nial says:

      Correct.. being accountable, and having something to reflect on and keep you in line mentally. good comment Steve.

  67. Eudes says:

    Hi Nial. I have a book with statement month printed filed. So, that’s is possible to see it, all time. Thanks.

    1. nial says:

      It’s not the same thing, we are not talking about account records, we are talking about a journal based on the principles of your entire trading plan here. see the spreadsheet attached to this article.

  68. ope2 says:

    Nail, this is a very wonderful job, i only pity for those that have not registered your course yet.

    1. nial says:

      join when you want, see you on the other side :)

  69. Robert says:

    Nial, your course and your lessons rock, I am loving the daily commentary you post up, it all helps :)

  70. Craig says:

    Thank you for the trading journal,this will be a great help.

  71. Craig says:

    Thanks Nial,this is such an important article for me right now because I’ve eventually come to realise that I need to document my trades so that I can se my trading performance over time.Your article is once again priceless.

  72. Loreto says:

    Thanks Neil

    You are wonderfull!!

    Loreto from Spain

  73. Khairul says:

    Before this i was using a journal book, but your spreadsheet makes it whole lot easier! thanks!

  74. Edina says:

    Thanks Nial.
    I already have a trading journal, but some elements were missing, so I’ll complete it with yours.
    Thank you for sharing it, I find it very helpful.

  75. graham says:

    always refining our trading knowledge.It takes perseverance to accomplish a professional trading behaviour and with Nial providing both the stimulus and guidance I can see my way ahead.Thanks Nial for your help.
    Graham

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