Rachael Newsham shares her tips for making 2023 your best year yet!

Doubt can crush hope. But hope can defeat doubt… So, which one wins?

The one you choose.

What decisions are you sitting on currently that you don’t feel sure of? If you wrote down your daily thoughts, would they be mostly doubts, to do’s, dreams or 'other'?

Arriving at a decision involves traveling on the 'train of thought'. Over the years, I've spent far too much time letting stations pass me by, only getting off at the last stop. But I've realized our destination is ultimately determined by what we choose to do on a daily basis.

If, like me, you're wondering what 2023 has in store for you, I’d like to say the answer is: everything! I say this because I’m really tired of the ‘challenges’ that weigh me down with worry. Therefore, I’ve decided to put them down and leave them to fate. Today I'm focusing on doing things that I can control, like having things to look forward to every day. I choose to put energy into things that give me a sense of achievement; the things that keep my self-esteem stream flowing, my life force charged up.

Dan [Cohen] and I had a catchphrase this year that we'd say during classes: "2022 is all about you". I’m pleased to say, looking back over the past 12 months, I've definitely taken steps in the direction of the 'renovation of Rach'. Because of those daily small steps, I can see progress. I couldn’t see anything at the time, although I was aware of the extra weight of the expectations I'd placed on myself, and knew I was going to have to grow.

Turns out, it worked. Most people wouldn’t be able to see what that growth was, but I can. It’s an inner strength I’ve been working on. I feel stronger. So, if you didn’t quite get what you wanted in 2022, how can you turn this around in 2023?

Should you sign up for that Les Mills Initial Training or wait to see if anyone you know is on it first? Should you sign up to that dating app? Should you go for a walk to the local pub on your own and sit with a coffee and the newspaper for an hour? Should you book those language lessons or wait for next time? Should you tell that hottie you're crushing on them? Should you put the deposit down on that trip to the Northern Lights / safari / New Zealand? It’s your life and you don’t need anyone to hold your hand, so go ahead and get on to it. Do it with the knowledge that your ability to succeed is a direct result of your ability to take charge of your life.

Maybe you feel too heavy to move and need to start by letting go of some stuff that is holding you back. Start with something small like de-cluttering a drawer in your room/house. Then have that conversation with someone you’ve been putting off. Clear out what you don’t wear / need / use and make space. Put the past in the past and clear the road in front of you so 2023 becomes a freeway to wherever you want it to go.

Perhaps, like me, you need to do something bigger and more potent to feel in charge of your life again. I did a bungee jump, hahaha! I flipping HATED the thought of doing it, but the desire to feel in charge of my life again was strong enough to drive / run myself off that ledge in Queenstown and step way beyond my comfort zone. That was an achievement for sure! I knew I was going to take my sweet time to get anywhere so I needed to do something massive to encourage my subconscious to level up to a life I know I deserve. That was in March 2020. Today, I can reflect on the HUGE distance I've come since then, taking note of the thousands of small steps I took to get here.

Speaking of huge distances and thousands of steps, I’m writing this from back home in England. I've come in from a post-lunch walk with mum and sat down with a brew at the kitchen bench. Mum just showed me a photo of my nan as a young woman, and it reminded of the generations of my family here in Lancashire. I realized that the one thing each one of them had for the next generation was 'hope’. How many ‘steps’ have been taken by family before me so I could take mine today?

I know I’m getting rather deep and reflective here LOL, so bear with, but just four generations of our family has brought me to where I am today; each one of them putting one foot in front of the other, hoping to create a better life for the next. So even if our steps seem insignificant on a daily basis, one day the sum of their whole will be appreciated.

I wonder what my great grandad and grandma would think of my life today, flying home to visit family from my second home in Auckland, New Zealand? Back in those days, you bought a 10 Pound (GBP) ticket for a long boat down under to Australia / NZ that took up to three months to arrive and then you’d start to build a new life. Now, I board a ‘long flight’ (!) home (two days) to attend a fitness event. London LIVE was a world-class workout with over two thousand BODYCOMBAT fans all kicking, punching and "kiah’ing" to music.

I wonder how many steps we all took as a collective over those two days at Excel in London? Suddenly I want to ask everyone on social media how many steps they took over that weekend and then add them up?! Haha, my maths wouldn’t cope with those big numbers. I need to ask someone in the finance department to do those maths for me. The thought of asking our Chief Finance Officer just brought the biggest smile to my face imagining his face when I ask him to do that... Probably a similar face to the one I pulled when he asked me to collect every receipt on my trip haha! Insert hashtags #sorrynotsorry #justjokes

I doubt the great grandies had a clue that my destiny was even possible and yet I somehow know they carried hope for us all to live out our wildest dreams. Back then it was enough of a dream just to have a pantry full of food, a family fully clothed and educated. To be employed and have a roof over their heads. "Is it any different now?" I hear you say, and the stark truth is – possibly not. It’s hard to go a day without hearing news about the soaring cost-of-living, the wars across different parts of the world, the global health crisis.

I truly hope 2023 is all it can be for you. My hope is that you choose hope by stepping slowly and steadily towards your goals, so that this time next year, when you sit at the kitchen bench with a brew in your hand and a smile on your face, you've achieved everything you wanted to.

It starts today. Do that Initial Training. Tell the hottie you have a crush on them. Book the language course. Go see the Northern Lights. Enter that competition. Go for that job. Move to that city. Move to the beach. Go back to school. Go back to the gym. Dye your hair purple. Finish reading that book. Take a surf lesson. Wear your best clothes. Say no when you want to. Say yes when you ought to. Pour love on the embers of life and let the wildest sparks of your soul free. There will always be doubters watching the hopeful soar against the wind…

So, when I say "Doubt crushes hope. But hope can defeat doubt. And the one that you choose wins", which are you going to choose? Not only for today, but for the future generations that will look back at us and the hope we brought to each day. The hope that keeps us all moving ahead, one kick, one punch, and one step at a time.