Having a trading plan and sticking to it is an indispensable requisite before risking any money
in the markets. In short, a plan describes what to do, why, when, and how to do it. Not having a plan is one of the top reasons traders fail. A good trading plan should describe your overall goals, what markets and timeframes to trade, how to keep records to review your performance and how to apply risk management
. Other parts of a good trading plan are how to find trade candidates, how to manage trades, what techniques or methods to employ and what rules to use for entry and exit. You should also consider what pre and post market activities to perform, what checklists to use, how to educate yourself and how to act in case of a calamity.
A plan defines your trading activities in detail, helps you control your emotions
and keeps you focussed on executing your strategy with rock solid discipline to avoid trading errors. There is no fixed blueprint for the optimal plan, it can be as simple or as complex as you want and tailored to your needs and trading personality. Plan your trade and trade your plan!