For me 2016 is going to be about getting back to basics. I started to think about this over the past few months, but after a weekend of lessons learnt I have decided to focus in. When you first hear the word basic, you might be forgiven for the thinking ‘simple’, when in fact, basic and simple are not the same thing. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Put simply (but not basically), the basics are the fundamentals, the principals, the chief elements, or the ground work of anything you want to know or do. When we learn, it takes deliberate practice, mistakes, reflection and correction to learn, then it becomes more of an automatic thing.

However, rush through the ‘basics’ or the principals of anything and you are likely to end up with holes, or be making the same mistakes without progressing. The question is, how long does it take to get the basics, until you can progress. Well…. the answer is right there. You can’t progress until you get them so right that you can do them to near perfection every time. So depending on what it is, this might be a few months if you can dedicate regular practice, but for larger skills or areas of knowledge, this means years.

“Put simply (but not basically), the basics are the fundamentals, the principals, the chief elements, or the ground work of anything you want to know or do.”

This is where many have fallen over- myself included. We get told on a regular basis that we can have whatever it is that we want, right now. Want abs? Take the pill, get the tan stencil, have the implants. Want to be world class? Buy the program off the world champion, do it for a month and you’ll be best buds. Want that body? Drink the shake, do the 12 weeks, give up everything for a short time and it’s yours for life. But anyone who has ever tried the short cut will know that all it does is yield a big dose of false confidence and inevitable disappointment. This is because to get the killer results, you need to do the basics right, and as I said before, the basics take time.

They are not simple- the people who make them look simple have got them right and can now move on. Simplicity comes from a deep understanding, a dive down the rabbit hole and deliberate practice to allow you to pop your head up over the other side and say you have got them. Basics are not simple. Perfection takes time. If you can quit the hunt for a short cut and get to it on the task, you will be there a lot sooner.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant would not be satisfied until he made 800 jump shots each day. Sir Donald Bradman famously honed his skills by hitting a golf ball with a cricket stump against a brick wall until he could get 3 out of four right consistently. Author JK Rowling took 5 years to map out the world of Harry Potter and re-wrote her first chapter 15 times.

It starts from being clear on what you want, then finding what you need to get there, then doing it. It ends after a few ego batterings, plenty of elbow grease, learning from trip ups and building resilience to failure. Because you haven’t lost until you decide not to get back up again.

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Harriet Walker
Harriet Walker resides in Canberra ACT and leads a busy working life as Nutritionist and Dietitian, Personal and Trainer and also for the Physical Activity Foundation - [More Kids - More Active - More Often] implementing activity programs and healthy messages throughout ACT Schools. Harriet is also a regular feature writer on numerous topics relating to nutrition, wellness, and fitness.