I used to spend my days feeling so distracted. Whenever anything stressful happened, I would scroll on social media to cheer myself up, but it never made me feel better. While scrolling, I would compare my life to the digitally-curated version of my friends’ lives and I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. My social media addiction also hurt my finances. Products advertised on social media were irresistible to me! I got such a rush from “treating myself,” but when the items arrived on my doorstep, they never met my expectations.

I found a pamphlet for the Thrive Challenge in the break room at work. 

It was the start of the new year, and I knew I needed to introduce some change into my life. I had been wasting my time online for too long. I once spent a good sum of money on tickets for a camping music festival, and I hate camping! I got lots of “likes” on all my pictures, but in reality I was miserable the whole weekend. Reading about the Thrive Challenge, I was ready to start spending my time improving myself. I started reading through some testimonials of people who successfully enriched their lives, and I was inspired to get started. 

My first step was deleting all of my social media accounts. 

I thought I would regret deleting all my content that I spent years curating, but instead I felt a sense of liberation! I did have a couple hundred pics on Facebook that I didn’t want to lose, so I printed them out and put them into a physical photo album. I kept the memories but I lost the distraction. 

My mood improved drastically without social media. 

With this improved mood, I felt more motivated to take care of myself. Now, I enjoy quiet moments and I frequently do yoga when I need a mental break, instead of instantly going online. I’ve been lifting weights a couple times a week and playing tennis. My goal is to start some competitive tennis. 

I’ve been cooking more at home, and I’m no longer wasting money on “Instagrammable desserts.”

I’ve been making high-protein meals, and I think my new diet has helped me build some muscle. I love low-carb tortillas. I put some rotisserie chicken and salsa on them for a snack. Plus, I am saving eight times what I used to save by cooking at home and spending less on things I don’t need!  I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. Before I buy something, I now ask myself, “Do I actually need this, or am I just buying it to fit in or impress others?”

I am finally focusing on myself instead of comparing myself to others. 

The Thrive Challenge was a much-needed reset for me. Not only did my screen time go from eight hours a day to just one or two, but I also learned to be kind to myself and ask myself why I want to change, instead of focusing on other peoples’ expectations. I’m grateful for the progress I’ve made, and I know that if I continue to take small steps, I can accomplish anything.

— Casey Tevonian, Walmart Home Office, Bentonville, AR; $5K Winner