I was low on energy and feeling depressed. I work full-time and take college classes, but was incredibly unproductive. I was hesitant to do homework, struggling to meet deadlines, and let the excuse, “I don’t have enough time,” dominate my life. One day, I was talking to my friends Gina Wilson, from Distribution Center #6094, and Misty Miller, from Distribution Center #6041, online and I told them about the changes I wanted to make. They mentioned the Thrive Challenge as a way to make progress. I hadn’t heard of it, so I downloaded the app, started reading stories, and was inspired to start my personal journey. 

“I realized that I was wasting my time.”

My first step was to take accountability for my time. I constantly complained that I didn’t have time to study or go to the gym. I sat down and truly looked at how I was spending my time, and quickly realized I was wasting my time on things like watching YouTube videos and simply complaining. After taking an inventory of where my time was going, I rebuilt my schedule: I made time for sleep, exercising, studying, and my family. I learned that I didn’t just have time for one thing — I had time for everything. 

“I wanted to go faster and further.”

I’m working out seven days a week. I started by going to a local park for a short run. It was only .7 miles, but I’d do it and it felt really good. I started keeping track of my time, and after a while, I felt like .7 miles wasn’t enough. I wanted to go faster and farther. I started doing one-and-a-half miles at a time and switching up my routine during the week with high-intensity and low-intensity workouts. I’ll lift weights some days and go for a brisk 45-minute walk on my recovery day. I’ve also increased my daily step count from 10,000 to about 15,000 a day.

“My wife has become my workout partner.”

I’ve cut out sweets and fast food and am drinking 80-90 ounces of water each day instead of soda. I’ve found two replacements I love: zucchini noodles instead of pasta, and cauliflower cheese instead of Velveeta. I’m also keeping a close eye on my portions and cooking more at home using fresh and leaner ingredients. My family is even helping me cook, and we’re spending more time together. We’re having family movie nights and playing board games. We’re also reading a motivational book together every night. My wife has become my workout partner, and we work together to find healthy recipes online, or cut things from our grocery list that we don’t need. 

“I see every day as an opportunity to improve my life.”

Since starting the Challenge, I’m not stressing out like I used to. I’ve learned that I have the grit to get up every day and accomplish what I set my mind to. I’m more productive with my time. My drive has become a spark that won’t flutter out. It’s a flame that builds and burns brighter the further I go. I’ve lost over 60 pounds, I’m closer to my family, and I’m flying through my college coursework. I’m on track to graduate with a B.A. in data analytics a year earlier than I initially planned. I see every day as an opportunity to improve my life.

Brandon Edwards, Moberly, MO; $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.