Everything was about money. I was in debt, my credit was destroyed, and I was working extra hours to pay things off and provide for my family. One day my 6-year-old son, Jordan, pulled me aside and said: “You give us everything — but we don’t want things, we want to have you home.” That pushed me to start rethinking my choices. Not long after that, my 11-year-old daughter, Destiny, told me the same thing: “I don’t need you to buy me things, I just need you to spend time with us.” Then I had my annual check-up, and my doctor told me I had high blood pressure. She said I had three months to regulate it with diet and exercise, otherwise I would need to go on medication. That changed my mentality; I knew I needed to change my whole life.

“I realized I only get one life.”

I was talking to Rikki Maisonet, who is my manager and a Thrive Challenge Grand Champion, and he asked me if I had tried the Challenge. I had, but I didn’t think it was for me. Rikki told me to give it another shot, so I did. I realized I only get one life, and I needed to balance things so I could enjoy time with my family. I started by changing my eating habits. I’m drinking water instead of soda or energy drinks and eating foods that are low in sodium and carbs. No more greasy food for me — I’m grilling, eating fresh meals, and enjoying options like steak salads with cheese, tomato, avocado, onion, and lemon juice. My family has stopped going out to eat too, which is healthier and also helping us save money. By cutting back on fast food and communicating more with my wife, we’ve paid off almost $7,000 of debt and are seeing our credit score go up. We’re no longer getting phone calls from the collection agency. 

“We are working together.”

I also started exercising. I aim to get 12,000 steps a day. I also work out by myself three days a week, either running, walking, or biking, and work out with my kids or wife on the other days. We play soccer and tennis and change things up so we don’t get bored of the same thing. I’ve lost 16 pounds so far. My wife, who has Type 1 diabetes, has lowered her hemoglobin A1C from 11.6 to 6.7. We are also going back to school to get our college degrees. We are working together to lose weight, eat better, and feel better.

“I’m focused on what’s important.”

Most importantly, I am closer to my family. With my debt under control, I’m able to work one extra day a week instead of three — and dedicate time to my wife and kids. We’re going to the park together, having movie nights, going fishing. I’m also communicating more with my son, Alexis, who lives in Panama. I am happier, more relaxed, and focused on what’s important. I knew I needed to get healthy so I could be there for my kids and watch them grow up. I want to show them that nothing is impossible in life. I finally have my blood pressure down and I know I’ll be able to watch my kids get older, get their high school diplomas, their college degrees. I’ll be there for them and get to enjoy even more time with them.

Alexis Sanchez, Bentonville, AR; $5K Winner

Small daily choices can lead to life-changing results. Download the Thrive App today to improve your well-being. For more inspiring stories, follow Thrive on Facebook and Instagram.