What are your 2015 goals? Don't simple say make a lot of money. Be specific and realistic. They say the chances of you achieving your goal more than doubles when you write it down or share it with other people. This was originally written by Damien, but I'll add some of my thoughts from lessons specifically learned in 2014. 1. Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life ? In a society where people blame everything from their parents to the government for failure, those who don?t buy into this mentality or succumb to the ?victim? thinking succeed. To blame something or somebody outside yourself is saying they have control of your life and not you. Someone else?s opinion of you doesn?t have to become your reality. I am a risk taker, but a calculated risk taker. Sometimes I mess up and I mess up big. But I always own my mistakes. If you want to really make it, be prepared to experience debt or the fear of accumulating massive debt. I've been reading about Rand Fishkin lately and at first I will admit I was kind of a hater without ever meeting him in person and it was not fair to judge him that way. But after learning that he went $500K into debt to make Moz go impressed the hell out of me. 2. Be Willing to Pay the Price - Be willing to pay the price for your dreams. Wanting a big house, a luxury car, and a million dollars in the bank is all very nice, and everyone wants these things ? but are you willing to pay the price to get them? This is one of the major differences between the successful and unsuccessful. This year I paid the price. To do 7 figures in IM isn't easy. I worked more hours for less money this year than I did in 2013. But for what? I calculated that I unnecessarily spent about $150K on growth efforts and projects that didn't pan out. Was I just better off pocketing that cash? To give you an idea in May I logged over 450 hours. If you want something, you have be willing to put in the hard work. I also acquired a majority share of another company this year. We had a big win towards the EOY, but I absolutely killed myself to make sure we would get that win. 3. Stay Focused ? Every day we?re bombarded with hundreds of tasks, phone calls, messages, and everyone competing for our time. Focusing requires giving up something in the present because you are investing your time in something that will pay off big-time down the road. Jack Canfield and Mark Hanson were turned by 30 publishers when they submitted the first ?Chicken Soup for the Soul? book. Instead of giving up, they stayed focused on their goal and did four or five interviews per day for radio, TV, and newspapers, for five days a week for a whole year. Eventually, a small publisher decided to take a chance, and of course now it?s a best-seller that spawned an entire series that have sold more than 10 million copies. Staying focused is the absolute key. My goal is typically to work 55-60 hours per week, but they are usually very effective. Every day I walk into my office and read this on my whiteboard. Keep the vision organized. Time is a limiting factor. Stay task oriented. Go for profit, not sales. 4. Become An Expert in Your Field One striking factor all successful people have in common is how seriously they take their profession. They strive to be the best at what they do, and do almost anything to improve. If someone followed you around all day with a video camera at your business, would it be a tape you?d be proud of or embarrassed about? Make the decision today to work at being the best in your field. How? By finding out what the ?best? in your field are doing, and do what they do. I'd like to expand on this concept. There are may so called experts in our field. What I discovered is our internet marketing industry is full of so many sub-niches that you need to become the best in just one of them to succeed. Rarely is there actually a need for innovation in our industry and copying works just fine....until you are at the top and you are forced to innovate to create barriers to entry and UVP. 5. Write Out a Plan for Achieving Your Goals - Write out an action plan/map for how you?re going to achieve your goals. Trying to reach your goals without a plan is like trying to drive from Los Angeles to Chicago without a map. A goal that isn?t written down is merely a wish or fantasy. I would recommend sharing your goals. It will keep you accountable. Our industry moves so fast that oftentimes the plan you made last month is no longer relevant. 6. Never Give Up - Never, never, never give up. When you?re fully committed to achieving your goal, giving up is not an option. You must be willing do whatever it takes to make it happen. The power of perseverance is an awesome force. As someone once said, ?inch by inch it?s a cinch?. Think of the lowly inchworm ? if it pondered the length of the trip from start to finish before it started, it probably would never move. To a worm?s point-of-view, the garden path must look like a trip to Mars. Never give up! Keep on going like the Eveready battery bunny, and pretty soon you?re there. I will rarely get beat because individually I am willing to work harder than just about anyone. But it takes a while to build momentum. However there is always a time and a place to call it quits. You should also know when you are beaten. Another note that I have written is: It's time exit when loss of industry margins occurs due to the expense and complexity of delivering services outweighs opportunity cost. This means it's time to do something new. 7. Don?t Delay - Nobody knows how much time they have left to accomplish their dreams, and we must remember that we don?t have forever. The clock is ticking, and sooner or later your number comes up and you?re gone. Successful achievers know this too, but they don?t view it as a ?negative?. Achievers use it to ?spur them on?. They go after what they want as energetically and as passionately as possible, for as long as they have. Just plain and simple. Take action. Put on your big boy pants.