Taking a Step Back: Was 2016 a Horrible Year Because of Your Choices? - ITS Tactical
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Taking a Step Back: Was 2016 a Horrible Year Because of Your Choices?

By Nick H.

At the close of 2016, it seemed like everyone’s social media posts took a nose dive. The negativity in reference to what the year brought was remarkably grim. Perhaps it was the craziness of the Presidential campaign, the multiple terrorist attacks carried out by Muslim extremists, or maybe it was the looming tension between the U.S. and other world powers?

Either way, there’s no way everyone had as terrible a year, on the experiential level, as they portrayed online.

In 2016, the news was depressing and this election was brutal for both sides. However, that existed on my TV, not in my actual living room. When it started getting to me, I could simply turn the television off.

Some Wisdom from Grandma


“You are what you eat,” my grandmother used to say; meaning that if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. This is one of the lessons I learned this year while rehabilitating my spine at a program called EXOS in Florida.

Before the trip, I was eating according to my taste buds and not according to my waist size. At EXOS I had full-time chefs working with nutritionists to concoct recipes designed to fuel my body and mind as well as drop pounds.

I quickly learned that with two workouts a day, my calorie intake needed to increase. For the first week I could hardly stay awake past 6 p.m. and was in a bitter mood most of the day. This was a combination of my body going through sugar withdrawals, as well as giving me feedback that I needed to boost my caloric intake.

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that it was absolutely miserable. I quickly added a meal of vegetables and nuts late at night before bed and things began to change; after a week my body and mind suddenly aligned. I found myself waking up with energy and even frequently forgot to make coffee before leaving for my morning work out.

In the earlier part of the year, my energy level throughout the day could be described as having peaks and valleys. However, after removing carbs, adding more natural fats and eating more clean calories, I was level and consistently energetic through the entire day. I had to eat every 2.5 hours or so, but wow what results.

Manage your Environment


The lesson is this, you are what you eat. Grandma was right! When you put garbage in you feel run down, tired, depressed and addicted to coffee. When you put good, clean fuel into your body, your body responds with the readiness and willingness to live this life to the fullest.

This is the same with the mind. When your brain is getting nutrients and isn’t fighting a lethargic body, it’s free to be creative. Your mind also follows the garbage in, garbage out philosophy.

Think about the music that we listen to, movies we watch and news feed we’re constantly streaming into our brains throughout the day. There’s an onslaught of negative emotion and sentiment laying siege on our minds, even though our lives are quite separate from the information being disseminated.

I saw a news report of a man shooting people in Turkey wearing a Santa hat two weeks ago. It made me sick to my stomach and put me in a bad mood for a bit. I can’t help but think about how nothing in my life would’ve changed if I hadn’t heard that news.

The temperature would have been the same, my kids would have been the same, my wife, money, time, job. The list goes on. The only thing that changed was ME, after allowing the information into my head.

Stay In Tune, Not Over Saturated


I am in no way saying that ignorance is something to aspire to. Please don’t put your head in the sand, but do allow it to look up at the stars. Being aware of our current global and political environments is perfectly healthy and necessary, but allowing those things to ruin your year is wrong.

I believe it’s our individual responsibility to be aware of what’s going on in the world, from Aleppo to the Ukraine. Not knowing is not caring, however, this should be done with balance. It’s like cooking with propane; a little bit can ignite a fire that can be used for good, but fill your entire house and it will slowly be too much for you to handle.

I would urge everyone to be conscious of what fuel you’re allowing into your body and your mind. Whether it be calories or information, the result is the same. Spend your time thinking on the more beautiful things in life. Spend time in reflection so that you’re able to be more thankful and less hateful.

2017 is a new year and it’s yours to live. There’s no news or opinion on TV that can make that statement less true.

Some Quotes for Inspiration

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.” – Thomas Gray

“It’s not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” – Bruce Lee

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” – Dalai Lama XIV

“Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.” – Mark Twain

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

Editor-in-Chief’s Note: Nick recently left the Navy after serving for 10 years as a Navy SEAL with multiple deployments, having been awarded the Bronze Star for operations in austere environments. Nick’s been with us since the beginning here at ITS as a Features Writer.

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