There is some magic in committing something to paper or electronic media that requires an extra bit of thinking and strengnthens a trader's commitment to his craft. In my program, everyone writes out a specific trading plan and executes that plan. Often times, we compare the trader's actual trade and the plan he or she laid out; as you may guess, there is often a disconnect in what was supposed to happen in the e-mini trading plan and what actually occurs in live trading. I guess the excitation of it all sets people in a helter-skelter mindset and only through experience and adhering to your plan do you become successful.
That being said, an e-mini trading plan should be dynamic. How you trade in your first year should be sound and executable; but you are going to improve over time and your trading plan should reflect that improvement in technique, patience, and experience. Always update your plan as you make improvements in your trading plan as you progress in your e-mini trading.
Consider these less-than-common variables, along with the obvious ones like what methodology you plan to utilize:
1. What are your Risk Management Rules? If ever there were a problem in a trading plan it is overtrading and trading too many contracts. Consider risking no more than 3% of your capital on any trade.
2. How do you prepare for each day's trading? Beginning traders often forget to check the daily announcements and times. Time after time I have listened to bewildered traders complain about being stopped at at 8:30 am EST. They did not check the announcements and cost themselves some valuable money. It's also not a bad idea to glance at your trading plan; be prepared for how you plan to trade.
3. How about post-market activities? I log each trade in a specialized Excel spread sheet and note up to 10 characteristics of each trade; like time entered, time exited, # of contract, trend or counttrend, and any unusual about the trade conditions.
4. What us your e-mini trading objective? No one gives this much consideration. The standard answer is "I want to make as much money as I can." This kind of thinking is the recipe for disaster. How about listing: learning to trade in trending markets, learning to trade in bracketed market, not trading in straight choppy markets?
5. How will maintain trading discipline and a positive mindset? I have never seen a beginning trader address this paradigm. Yet it is the most important aspect of trading. Learning not to act on impulsive emotions and sticking with your e-mini trading methodology.