1. Be prepared! Every night I look at the top gainers of the day and set alerts on them so I can be ready to strike when the breakout past a key level.
2. Set alerts! Alerts are your best friend and you should be setting multiple ones daily. I have over 100 alerts set on various tickers. Yes you can go through and delete some after the chart pattern turns but more is better! These allow you to watch so many more plays (especially useful if you only have one screen to look at).
3. Have a plan-Stick to it! Know your entry, your goals, and what you'll do if the stock goes different that what you anticipate it to
4. Go BIG and aim small! This has undoubtedly made a huge difference in my trading. Yes, you need to start small, but once you feel comfortable with the patterns you should slowly start to increase your size. I have alot more wins now simply because of this. Taking a larger size and going for a smaller goal makes it easier to be consistent at winning.
5. Do your research! While I mostly trade based on technical analysis, it is important to know why a ticker is spiking. For example, earnings winners tend to have momentum for several days. Also, know the float of the ticker you are trading. With a lower float, you need to go in with smaller size, because your risk is greater because the price will be more volatile. On the other hand, you can make big profits with the smaller size so it just makes sense not to gamble with big size on a volatile play.
These rules have helped go from down $1k to now green in a short amount of time. Be patient, stick to your plays, and as Tim says CUT LOSSES QUICKLY!