Once you’ve got your trading plan in place, it’s time to put it in practice. This is the fun part that got you interested in trading in the first place, so you’ve likely already put a lot of thought into it. However, there are some ideas you might want to keep in mind for this part that will help you with your plan.
One of the keys to success in trading is consistency: maintaining consistent profits usually involves investing consistently, and establishing a healthy routine to ensure that your trading activities are replicable and therefore more predictable. Often new traders will jump in with both feet in a fit of enthusiasm and end up burning out by being overwhelmed in the beginning. Pacing yourself helps with this. Find the optimal trading hours for your strategy and sticking to them is a good idea.
Having your plan written down, it’s good to come back to it frequently, both to make sure you are sticking to it and tweaking it to find better ways to do things. Part of the organization is constant feedback with the plan, ensuring that the idea is consistent with reality and that you are on track.
The checklist that you established as part of your plan is useful in this stage to help you organize and execute your trades along the lines envisioned in your program. Have the checklist handy, especially in the beginning, so you develop the habit of entering the market according to the optimal criteria established by your plan and strategy.
Keep a record of your trading. MT4 automatically keeps a list of all your trades, but that’s raw data, and you need to extract the key information, such as the number of pips gained, how long the trade was opened, number of successful trades, etc. A trading log is a handy tool both to organize your trading as well as improve your trading going forward.
Practice discipline, and execute your orders strictly according to your strategy and overall plan. It can be very tempting to jump into the market when what appears to be an opportunity comes along, but it’s not part of your strategy. This can throw your trading off. Other times you will be tempted to let a trade run that your strategy is telling you to close out – and this is especially hard when the trade is in the negative, and you’ve got to bite the bullet. Your trading plan will be useless if you don’t have the discipline to follow it through.
Distribute your time: You don’t have to be staring at your trade station the whole time – in fact, it might not be a good idea, because otherwise you might miss the latest news or be tempted to jump in the market when you shouldn’t. Have a way to ensure you’re giving your trades the attention they need, but also that you have breaks to check the news, or directly follow-up on other things. The longer the time you are going to be holding your trades, the more you will likely be doing other things until the trades mature.
Having patience and discipline are essential tools that help you stay on track, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also have lots of fun when trading. Plan for that, too.