You would like that wouldn't you? to win every time you go out to do something, to win at your job, at your sport, at chess, at life! Winning is a corollary to achieving and achieving is related to a sense of purpose and our feelings around what we are here to do. Purpose is of course essential to humans- without purpose we drift or are filled with existential angst and that's not good. So, purpose is good- your purpose could be having a beautiful allotment garden and keeping it beautiful, or your purpose could be building model replicas of famous buildings out of match sticks or else being the CEO of the world's largest company but whatever it is and whatever age you are we need meaning.
Meaning in turn is best attached to our values- when I ask people (and myself) what are your values? the question is often met with a blank look- or else people reveal their goals: 'to get rich' but of course getting rich is not a value, 'why do you want to be rich?' is a better question because this reveals more: 'I want security
and not to worry, to have nice things, to attract people' these, with a little probing often show underlying values:
to feel secure
to feel loved
to be attractive
The angst and the strain of focussing on getting rich may not actually be necessary (or effective for that matter) to meet these values of course... so maybe focussing on security in a relationship with someone who you love and loves you in return is the real focus.
Other goals are around achieving status, to win (cups, medals, titles) a difficulty here is of course, that there is always an element of this that is out of your control (e.g., you train for 15 years, giving every ounce of your concentration to making it to the Olympics and trip, slip, get ill or injured on the one day in your life that this all lead up to...). So, my point is that goals should be understood in more complexity than say just simply stating: 'to win an Olympic gold medal'. This is a clear goal but may need contingency planning. Say for instance 800metre running is my thing; I can control: 'Trying to be the best 800 metre runner I can possibly be'. I can even start that process today by eating a healthy breakfast which supports my energy needs recovery etc. I can start success today by following a thorough warm-up and completing a training session. If I have some genetic talent, good input from coaches, determination, luck and single-minded persistence I might make it to the Olympics... If I have all of that and it comes together on the one day that I get my chance- I might even win the gold; but my concentration needs to be on what I can control... training? check, nutrition? check, good coach? check. Following this I can compete with this philosophy:
'I have done all the training, preparation, nutrition, sleeping, stretching and recovering I could do, I have prepared as thoroughly as I was able, I aim to win and will do the absolute best that I can- and it is this that defines me, not simply winning, but being the best I can be'
This is a real win because being the best you can be- is achievable, attainable, you can check whether you did or did not do the best you could, if not, why not? and what needs to happen next? Taking home, the gold however is not controlled by only these factors- but lots of others 'home crowd, competitors genetics, good luck, bad luck etc etc.
When we take this example to the more modest goals many of us have (losing a few kilos and keeping it off, saving some money, changing careers) the same deal applies- we can start winning/attaining the long-term goal today (with breakfast, walking to work or beginning an online job search). We can certainly focus on doing the best we can but at the same time why not enjoy the process? revel in the fact that you did that walk, ate that breakfast and there may be slips when you overspend/eat too much but it is ok to forgive yourself, get up and start again. Winning starts today and carries through to mid and long-term actions... today breakfast is the first step to a healthier you, making the bed (well) is the first step to having a little more order in your life and sticking a couple of coins in a jar the first step to saving. Feel the success when you do it, making the bed well is a satisfying way to get some control into the day and the health breakfast/saving coins add to a nice virtuous feeling. Tomorrow add a little more to the jar and when a little 'relapse' occurs, as it inevitably does, press rewind, and start again.