I needed to lose weight, but I didn’t have the motivation. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was eating fast food, and drinking a lot of soda. I‘d skip breakfast and then I’d snack all day long. I’d go to work tired, then come home feeling exhausted. I’m 19 and I weighed 210 pounds. I wasn’t feeling confident. And I wanted to go into my 20s with a healthier lifestyle and a better attitude.

A co-worker told me about the Thrive Challenge and I downloaded the app.

I’d check in every day and say to myself, “If you want to see a change in yourself, start now.” First I decided to cut down on sugar, so I gradually began drinking water instead of soda. Microsteps have helped me think about what I’m eating before just grabbing anything. l still have a sweet tooth, but if I have a craving for sugar, I’ll eat high protein yogurt or fruit like strawberries.

I’m eating three main meals a day. 

I’ll make eggs for breakfast and I might buy a chicken Caesar salad for lunch. I live at home with my mom and dad, and my mom does all the cooking. She’s been making salmon with a side salad and homemade pasta with steamed broccoli. My parents are so supportive; they’re with me every step of the way. 

I started paying attention to movement Microsteps. 

Scheduling daily walks helped me to be consistent. At first I didn’t feel very motivated, but once I got into a routine, I found I was enjoying my walks. I listen to hip hop — music gets me in the mood to move. I also go to the gym a few times a week; I run on the treadmill and work out with dumbbells. 

On my days off I sometimes go for hikes.

I like to be on my own with my thoughts, looking at the ponds and trees. Just being in nature helps me have clarity. And as basic as it sounds, it’s bringing me joy. I sometimes listen to a motivational podcast like Rob Dial’s The Mindset Mentor.

Every day I visualize the person I want to become. 

I picture myself six months down the road looking and feeling strong and confident. It may sound weird, but it’s made a big difference to my progress. When I keep seeing small changes in how I look and feel, I know the bigger changes will happen slowly.   

In the evening, I hang out with my family, instead of staying in my room.

I’m more open and sociable, and I have energy to connect. We play board games like Game of Life and Monopoly. And I set up an evening routine: I spend less time on TikTok, I shower at 8 p.m., and get to bed by 9:30 p.m. I get eight hours of sleep a night and I feel ready for work the next day. 

Now I feel better about myself, I’m hanging out with my friends.

We’ll watch a movie or play mini golf. I have a very close friend group and we don’t judge each other.  

Over the course of six months I’ve lost 18 pounds.  

I have more stamina and I’m more confident. It’s a feeling I haven’t had in years. I never used to like the way I looked in jeans, and now I have two pairs and I think they look good.  

Starting to focus on my well-being at my age was important to me, instead of putting it off until I’m older.

Building good habits now will make my life easier later in life, and I’m going into the next chapter of my life with a new mindset. I know life isn’t easy and there are always going to be challenges, but I’m not going to give up on myself. I’m planning to go to college and get a business degree. I’m learning more about who I am and I know what I can achieve.

— Josh Fink, Walmart Supercenter #2146, Amsterdam, NY; $5K Winner