If you want to become a better trader, keep a written trading journal. It will allow you to improve your trading skills by tracking your trades and showing you where your strengths and weaknesses are. Your trading journal should contain the following information:
Reason for Entry - what was the set up that caused you to enter the trade, i.e. broke resistance or head and shoulders bottom
Number of Shares
Trade Type - Long or Short
Intended Time Frame - scalp, day trade, swing trade or position trade
Total Entry Amount
Initial Target Price
Reward vs. Risk Ratio
Reason for Exit - why did you sell, i.e. loss of momentum, hanging man or hit resistance
Total Exit Amount
Profit / (Loss)
Obeyed Stop - Yes or No
Using the information in your trading journal, you will be able to notice patterns in your trading. An example would be you notice you are not following your stops all the time. You now know that this is an area that you have to work on.
You should log in each trade on a daily basis and then analyze your trading journal on a weekly basis. It is best to have a standing appointment with yourself to review your trading journal. The best times to do this are before the market opens on Monday, after the market closes on Friday or on the weekends. I know that it seems like a pain to keep track of every trade like this, especially if you are a day trader who makes dozens of trades a day, but in the end you will be well rewarded for your effort.