I’m 23 and I have a degree in computer science. But when I graduated, I got a lot of job rejections, and I struggled with depression and anxiety. I couldn’t find a job in my field. I was happy to get my job at Walmart, but I wasn’t motivated to do anything outside of work. I was bad at time management. I live with my parents and I’d just hang out in my room all the time watching T.V. I wanted to build my skills and do the activities I’d always enjoyed, like hiking, building a website, and designing 3D models on the computer. I wanted to improve my mental health. 

Jimmy Miller, a co-worker, encouraged me to start the Thrive Challenge.

I began by going to my calendar, mapping my days out when I was off work, and writing down what I wanted to do that day. So at 10 o’clock, I walk our dog, Odin, and get some fresh air, then I’d watch a little T.V., get some lunch, and work on my website and my app. Tracking my progress helps me feel accomplished.

Putting down my phone when I’m working on a project helped me focus. 

It stops me getting distracted. At first, it was hard and I’d go back to my phone, but soon I built a new habit. Now I check off Microsteps and I feel more competent.

I cut out junk food and I’m buying food to cook at home.

I’ll make pasta or chicken with veggies. I’m trying to balance my meals and eat better so I don’t feel sluggish.

The Thrive app has given me new perspectives on life.

Every night I write down all my worries in a journal. I write about why I’m stressed and ask myself what I can do to change the situation. I feel less anxious and I’ve realized that some things are out of my control. 

I get stressed about money.

But I’ve found that keeping track of my spending helps me to save more. I don’t need to eat out. I’ve stopped buying posters for my room and tech stuff like parts for my computer I don’t need. By putting away a couple of dollars here or there I can see my money growing in my savings account.

Motivational affirmations are helping me stay positive.

I’ll say, “Hey, I’m doing the best I can,” or, “Hunter, you’re doing great.” Sometimes I’ll say them out loud and sometimes I’ll write them down. I’ve started to think about things a little differently. I know there are some situations that are out of my control and I’m less anxious. 

When I feel stressed I’ll do some sit-ups.

I set aside time to walk the dog around the block. I started jogging around town, gradually increasing the distance and now I’m up to a mile or two.

I’m more sociable.

I go fishing with my grandpa which is a bonding experience. He’s very knowledgeable. Every now and then we catch bass and trout. I’m hanging out with my sisters, Hanna and Temperance, and my brother, Isaac. We do a lot of stuff together like yard work. I’ll mow the lawn and do the weeding. I’ll go to my uncle’s house. He has a garage and loves fixing up cars, so I’m learning a lot from him. 

Sometimes I hang out with friends. We have a campfire in the firepit in the backyard.

We’ll play video games and listen to country music like Jelly Roll or Toby Mac. At work, I’m talking to people instead of sitting alone in the breakroom. We’ll go to lunch and it makes the work day more enjoyable. 

I’m meditating, which clears my mind and helps me calm down.

I just close my eyes and breathe. At first I thought it was silly and stupid, but it has grown on me and I try to do it every day. I also like the breathing exercises on the Thrive app. And I read the Bible and pray when I’m overwhelmed. 

I’m more confident. 

My goal is to become a software engineer, so I’m improving my skill sets and looking into career possibilities at Walmart. I’d also love a relationship. And I’d like to move out of my parents house and get a house of my own. I’m making progress, and I’m proud of myself.

— Hunter Goller, Walmart Supercenter #1765, Somerset, PA; $5K Winner