2016 has come to an end. It’s time to review the results, and the processes.
First things first: the numbers from January 1st, 2016 to December 31st, 2016. One account is breakeven, the other one is looking a little bit better. Overall i genuinely believe 2016 is the year i turned profitable. I know what i want to see, where i want to see it, and when i want to see it. I’ve settled on one setup, i mastered it. It’s my thing. It happens at least once a week in at least one of the 6 currency pairs i focus on. I trade it somewhat consistently. I say somewhat because i tend to miss opportunities, as we’ll see below in the journal.
As you can see roughly 50-60 trades, so about one a week. For 2017 i’d like to land one winner a week. The opportunities are there, i see them. Sometimes i skip them because of rules (central bank reunion later that day, time of day, which is fine), sometimes because it’s a subtle variation of my setup that i’m not familiar/comfortable with yet, sometimes because i’m just scared to hit it, or i don’t know where the market should go next (which becomes painfully obvious in hindsight), sometimes because i’m just not in front of the screens (usually for no good reason at all). So the goal is to increase the frequency, and the winrate should improve as well as i master every tiny variation of “my” setup. Right now it’s at 40%.
I’ve survived the Brexit vote (what a night that was, playing it on demo, a truly fantastic learning experience), the U.S. election, a “mystery move” in GBP pairs and a few other things. I mostly did that by not being in the market when i had no reason to be. My edge is not during high volatility events – although i’ve seen it play out well during the last FOMC meeting in december – but rather during normal “boring” weeks. After 18 months with live money i’m more “impressed”, for lack of a better word, by my handling of august 2015 events, with risk coming from China (stocks plunging, surprise yuan devaluation), when i actually had an open position overnight, and i didn’t even know what i was doing back then! My risk was controlled, so when i was stopped out it was nothing extraordinary. It helped reinforce the lesson that anything can and will happen, in a much more regular basis that one could think.
Now, you know how i rave abour Dr. Steenbarger’s journal template every chance i get. I couldn’t let this year go by without reviewing it properly.
- What one thing did I do best this year and how did I do it?
Time. I spent my time wisely. By understanding early on that nothing would happen overnight i allowed myself to develop at my own pace. I did this by controlling my risk very tightly, allowing me to ride the learning curve and turn profitable.
I dedicated time to learn. Pretty much everything i did in 2016 was done with one objective in mind: to improve my trading. It had an impact on my health (sleeping and eating habits changed), on my relationships (less week-end social activities), on my schedule, on my readings.
To avoid the risk of burn out i allowed extensive time spent on holidays, both during the winter and the summer. I learned that getting back in the routine was not as easy as switching a light on. It’s still a battle coming into 2017, after a 2 weeks break for the Christmas holidays.
I spent much more time reading in 2016 than i did the previous year and i’m the better for it, although i’m nowhere near where i’d like to be in terms of pace. It’s still erratic, relying on willpower rather than habits and routine.
I also dedicated time to review not only my trades, but also my processes. It’s an ongoing fight and i have a feeling it will be a never ending one. They key here is once again habits and routine. And we’re back to how i spent my time during the week-ends.
- What one thing did I do worst this year and what led me to do it?
By far my biggest let down this year was my health. I put it on the backburner while i was focusing on learning how to trade. I know sitting for hours is awfully bad. I can even recommend some good articles talking about this issue. Here’s one, and here’s another. I started going to the gym in late 2014, and had a consistent routine of going 2 to 3 times a week until i hurt my left shoulder in may 2015. After that zip, nada. I had the perfect excuse not to go anymore.
Excuses. My girlfriend thinks i have an awful lot of them, for many things. Health, trading, relationships (can you spell R-I-N-G for me please?), the list goes on. And while it pains me to admit it, she does have a point. Regarding my trading i definitely (here it comes) “could have” done better. I argued that to bend the rules you must first learn them. But it’s almost like i’m afraid of success, too comfortable in my life at the moment to actually grab the bull by the horns. I read that it’s when you start to actually know what you’re doing that things get dangerous. People tend to overleverage and blowout. It’s a slippery road to the top, the balance will be hard to find. This means growth. Both personal and hopefully financial. I am looking forward to the challenge.
- What specifically will I do next year to continue doing what I did best?
I will maintain a focus on how i spend my time. Learning, trading, reviewing, reading. Those are the categories i shall at minimum maintain my engagment in. Time dedicated to reading in particular will be improved, with the creation of a new habit. Obviously something will have to go. Most likely series/movies in the evening, although they serve the purpose of winding down. It can be tough to read a challenging book after an exhausting day. But maybe if i slip in a workout in between…
- What specifically will I do next year to improve what I did worst?
Before i can go back to the gym i need to know what’s up with my shoulder. I can still feel a latent pain when i lift something like a heavy bag of groceries for example. I will therefore fix a meeting with the doc in the first half of january. Longer term the goal is to go back to the gym in a regular fashion, at the very least once a week, and take more care of my health in general. This will include breaks from sitting during the day.
Regarding excuses i need to have a serious look at myself, my life and my choices. This goes beyond the scope of this blog. Thus i won’t expand on it any further here.
- How well did I achieve my “continue my best” goal last year and what do I need to do this year to continue/improve upon that progress?
We shall see about this in a year.
- How well did I achieve my “improve my worst” goal last year and what do I need to do this year to continue/improve upon that progress?
This concludes the 2016 review. I encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already. There is only one way: forward. But if you don’t look back in the mirrors once in a while you’ll run in circles, thinking your making progress. Don’t be that guy.