Whether you want to win at life in general or at one skill in particular, setting realistic goals and breaking them down into concrete steps can help. Being a winner is about achieving goals and cultivating a winner’s attitude. If you set goals, track your progress, treat your mind and body well, and surround yourself with positive influences, you’ll be a winner.
To win, you need to set goals and achieve them. Write a list of the goal or goals you want to win at. Make them as detailed as possible. Break large, vague goals down into achievable parts. For example, if your goal is to “win at life,” break that down into smaller goals, such as “get a job I love” “finish my education” “build meaningful relationships” “feel good about myself.”
Break all your goals into actionable steps.
First, break each goal into smaller ones. Breaking your goals down allows you to track your progress. For instance, the goal “feel good about myself” could be broken down into sub-goals such as “build a positive self-image” “exercise” “be well rested” and “work through negative feelings.”
Break those goals down again into actionable steps. For instance, “be well rested” can be broken down into “1. Start winding down at 8:30.” “2. Be ready for bed by 10 every night.” “3. Wake up at 7:30am and get immediately out of bed.”
Identify the steps that are most difficult. For instance, it may be easy for you to wind down and get into bed at the same time every night, but difficult to pop right out of bed in the morning.
Identifying the challenging steps allows you to practice and revise. If getting out of bed immediately is difficult, add helpful steps, such as setting your clothes out beside your bed the night before.
Schedule your triumph.
Get organized and create an achievement schedule for yourself. Have daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, and yearly goals. Check in regularly to make sure you are achieving them all. If you don’t achieve all your goals one week, try again the next.
Check your goals for realism.
Make sure your goals are actually achievable. You can’t win at an impossible game. If a goal can be broken down into actionable steps, it is probably realistic. Make sure your time frame is also realistic. Can everything you want to achieve be achieved in the time you envision? Check your progress as you go, and revise your schedule until the pace of improvement is reasonable.
Try introducing one or two changes to your schedule at a time. If you try to change everything in your life at once, you may overwhelm yourself and end up reverting to old habits.
Talk to people you trust about your goals, especially if you’re worried they may not be reasonable.
Set yourself up for success with mental contrasting.
Use the wild power of optimism and the cold, shrewd wisdom of pessimism together by practicing mental contrasting. Take a few minutes to imagine yourself winning at your goal. Imagine every detail of perfect success: how it feels, what it looks like, how everyone will react. Then turn it around entirely. Imagine each and ever possible roadblock you might come up against.
Take several minutes to think of anything that might get in your way. Don’t solve the problem, just imagine any scenario that might lead to disaster.
Mental contrasting has been shown to be more helpful than pure positivity. Thinking too positively can lead you to relax too soon, and thinking only of the possible downfalls can lead you to sabotage your own project.
Surround yourself with winners.
Success is contagious. Make friends with people you admire. Join teams with people who have achieved things you want to achieve. If you meet someone whose success you admire, or are jealous of, swallow your jealousy and welcome their company.
It may be tempting to hang out with people who make you look good, but you’ll lose sight of your goals if the bar is set low everywhere you look. Besides, you’ll enjoy your friendship more with people you truly admire.
Compete with yourself as well as with others. When you have achieved a goal, set your next goal higher. For instance, if you got all A’s and B’s one semester, set the goal to get all A’s the semester that follows. Take time to celebrate each goal as you achieve it, but avoid complacency.
Turn negative feelings into motivation.
If you notice yourself feeling jealous or unsuccessful, that’s a sign that you’re ready to set a new goal. Identify the cause of the negative feeling, and set a goal that will catapult you beyond it. For instance, if you are jealous of your neighbor’s new car, set goals for earning or saving more money so that you can buy a car you like.
You may end up changing your mind about the car once you have achieved your goal. The satisfaction you get from setting a goal and achieving it will be greater than any satisfaction you can get from showing up someone else.
List your strengths and accomplishments.
Write a list of your qualities and your achieved goals. Add detail, such as times that you surprised yourself, or challenges you were especially proud of getting through. List every time you feel you won, and every reason that was significant to you. Soon, you’ll have written a portrait of yourself as a winner.
Don’t stress out.
If you want to win, you must avoid becoming anxious and obsessive about winning. Stay in the moment by paying attention to your thoughts, senses, and feelings without interpretation or judgement.
If you get stressed, try paying attention to your senses. Ask yourself “what am I smelling, how am I moving, what am I hearing and seeing?”
Eat like a winner.
To feel like a winner, eat regular meals of a variety of foods. Rather than taking vitamin supplements, eat many different kinds of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Don’t skip carbohydrates or protein, but don’t go crazy on them either. Carbs give you energy, and protein helps your muscles grow and repair.
Cut back on sugar and soda. One sugary drink, dessert, or snack a day is enough.
Dress like a winner.
Dress for the job you want. Wear clean clothing that lets everyone know you take yourself seriously. You don’t have to buy expensive clothing, or even spend a lot of time getting dressed. Instead, wear clothing that is the right size, not too worn out, and laundered. Shower often, but use shampoo no more than three times a week.
Sleep every night.
Wake up feeling like a winner after a good night’s sleep. If you are an adult, get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. If you are a teenager or child, get 9-11 hours. Sleep deprivation can seriously slow you down, affecting your immune resistance, your weight, and your mental health.