Early this year I hit rock bottom. I had been working in the food industry when the pandemic hit and everything shut down. I didn’t know how I was going to make it. I’m 29 and I was really struggling, not knowing what career path to take. I’d been thinking about going to college, but I didn’t believe in myself. I was having trouble with negative thoughts and self-doubt. Then I started working at Walmart and began the Thrive Challenge, and it was my salvation!  

“I commited to thinking of three things I was grateful for while I brushed my teeth.”

Then I expanded that to being grateful all day long. I was grateful for my little studio apartment and that I had a job. To stay positive, every morning I read stories on the Thrive app. It’s great to know people are still doing well in these difficult times, because the news is often so negative.

“Working out and eating well has helped improve my mood and well-being.”

I didn’t need to lose weight, but switched from eating fast food like tacos to a Mediterranean diet. Now I make simple meals like grilled chicken with rice and steamed broccoli and drink about 10 cups of water a day. I notice I have more energy during the day and sleep better at night. I also made a commitment to working out at the gym five days a week, and I’ve stuck with it for six months.  

“I want to be a good father and provide for my family.”  

That starts with having a positive attitude. My girlfriend, Maria, is pregnant and expecting in June! We are having our first child and we are both happy but nervous. Before the Thrive Challenge, Maria and I would just go to work, come home, and eat without much communication. Now we spend time talking every day. We’re bonding more and that’s made a big difference in our relationship. We talk about our plans to take care of the baby, how we’ll stay calm and create a good family environment, working things out without arguing. 

“I’ve been promoted twice at work, and my goal is to become a store manager.”

I’m a Team Leader now and I’m always happy to come to work. I’m going to college through Walmart’s Live Better U program and getting a degree in business administration. I’m getting great grades. 

I’m trying to make my mom happy and proud. She is very sad because my brother died recently of COVID-19-related respiratory problems. I see her once a month, and we talk every day on the phone. I encourage and support her and tell her how well I’m doing. 

“I’ve learned that when I’m grateful, there’s no room for sadness or depression.” 

Gratitude completely changes your outlook on everything. A lot of people are struggling right now, and I’m encouraging my co-workers to take the Thrive Challenge and better their lives. I’m hoping my story will be inspiring.

Robert Flores, Hemet, CA; $5K Winner

Small daily choices can lead to life-changing results. Download the Thrive App on iOSAndroid, or click here. For more inspiring stories, follow Thrive on Facebook and Instagram.