I first heard about the Thrive Challenge right after I started school at the University of Wyoming this Fall. I spent my first two years at Casper College in my hometown, and I left home at the end of the summer to live closer to my new campus. It was a new city for me, and I was stressed out by the  new semester and harder classes. 

Then one day I noticed a poster for the Thrive Challenge in the break room at work. 

I had just arrived at the new university, and I was feeling a little bit down and was putting on some weight. In my hometown, I was always really good about going to the gym and staying active, but with my new class schedule and work, it was hard for me to keep it up. I liked the idea of getting back into the swing of things and setting goals for myself, so I thought, “Yeah, I’ll try it and see what it’s all about.” 

My first Microstep was finding a gym partner.

When I was in Casper, I’d go with my grandpa. It started out as an idea just to help him in case he fell, but then he would come over to me, look at how much weight I was lifting and say, “Wow, you’re strong!” In , my new city I didn’t have my grandpa with me, but I was able to find a new gym partner and work out with him twice a week. It’s good to have someone to keep you motivated.

I also started cutting down on some of my comfort foods, like chips and popcorn. 

I’ve also been eating more white meat instead of red meat, and adding more vegetables to my meals. One Microstep I try to stick to is the one about putting your fork or spoon down in between bites. It slows me down and keeps me fuller for longer.

I love to go on a walk every morning when I get to the university.

It helped a lot at the beginning because I didn’t know the layout of the university, so I’d walk around and get to know the different buildings. That’s what helped me get motivated in the mornings to do it. That’d be something that I’d really recommend to anybody who doesn’t feel motivated — just  set aside five or ten minutes, and see if there’s one thing that you can do. 

My fiancé, Kayla, supports me a lot when it comes to working out and eating better. 

We met in Peru, where she lives, when I was on a church mission trip there. I ended up coming home while the world was shutting down as the pandemic was starting. I went back to visit her this past summer and we got engaged. 

I’ve made a lot more friends, become more social, and I feel a lot less stressed.

Even with all of my assignments and big tests, the Thrive Challenge taught me that small steps are important, because if you focus on the big picture and try to make huge changes all at once, you’re  going to be miserable. Everything starts with a single step. 

— Lyle Hepworth, Walmart Supercenter #1412, Laramie, WY; $5K Winner