At Thrive, we believe one of the most important ways to fight burnout is to find purpose and meaning in the work you do every day. Our partnership with Walmart enables us to see the power of Thrive’s behavior change platform in action every day. Through small better choices that build momentum over time, Walmart associates (and their friends and family) are able to make changes that drastically improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

Each month, we award 18 winners with a cash prize for their accomplishments in the Thrive Challenge. Reading through their stories and learning how each of them overcame everyday struggles gives us so much inspiration and passion for the work that we do. 

Below, read the stories of our 18 winners for the month of February. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Byron Harter, Distribution Center #6024, Grove City, OH

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“I was gaining weight and I struggled with slightly high blood pressure, and I had no energy to do anything with my family. I downloaded the Thrive app and started my journey with a Microstep: I swapped two out of three sodas a day for water. Soon, I noticed my energy climbing. We’re food prepping and eating better. We’ll have fish or chicken with rice and veggies. My wife Irene and I swim four days a week, and we bought an elliptical so we could work out at home. And in the evening, we wind down and relax together. When bedtime comes, I focus on long slow breaths, and I find my sleep has improved. I’ve lost four pounds, which may not seem like a lot, but it’s made a big difference to how I feel. I have more energy to spend time with my daughters and my young granddaughters. The pain in my knee has decreased and my blood pressure is in the normal range. My life is moving in a different direction.” 

Zulema Navarrete, Distribution Center #9153, Waco, TX

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“My husband, Jose, and I have three children, and life was stressful. We weren’t eating healthily. I weighed 200 pounds and I felt overwhelmed. I started the Thrive Challenge and began taking Microsteps, like making sure I always had a tumbler full of fresh water by my side. I meal prep for the family. Our favorite meals are chicken soup with vegetables and salmon with salad. I’ve lost 12 pounds in the last few months and I’ve become more active — I’m always on the go. Dancing has always been a passion, so instead of watching T.V. we put music on and start to move. And I take long strolls with the family. We go to a beautiful park where the views are magnificent. Lately, I’ve been feeling so much better. Who would have thought that making small changes like dancing or walking would have such a big impact on my life? The Challenge is helping me become a better version of myself.” 

Brittany Lucas, Distribution Center #7055, Gas City, IN

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“I began the Thrive Challenge because I wasn’t spending quality time with my kids. I’m a 34- year-old single mom with three children, and my youngest son is autistic. I felt very stressed. I started with connection Microsteps, having honest conversations with my two older kids. I told them I needed them to help around the house doing chores. We listen to each other and we’re bonding. It’s been great because now they both spend less time in their bedroom and more time with me — and more time playing with their little brother. I began giving the kids my full attention instead of multi-tasking. I put my phone down anytime they walk into the room. I take time to acknowledge and validate their opinions. We’re spending more time together. We do chores and play games — I’m becoming a better mother and role model. And I’m excited to make 2024 better for all of us. I’m keeping my feet planted in the present, but I’m also preparing for the future.”

Sanaita Higdon, Walmart Supercenter #5727, Bradenton, FL

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“I felt like I wasn’t being a good provider for my family. Finances were a big struggle. I’m 50, and my ex partner and I have an 18-year-old son, Devaun. He’s on the school football and basketball teams, and sporting gear is expensive. I started the Thrive Challenge and began by making a budget I could stick to. I put $100 from every paycheck into a savings account. And when I can, I buy my son’s sporting equipment in thrift stores or on Facebook Marketplace. I buy generic brands of food like cereal instead of name brands, which saves money. I like cooking; I’m food prepping and taking leftovers to work. And when we get together with family members, everyone brings a dish, which cuts costs. Devaun is learning to be financially responsible. He has a part time job and he’s saving a lot of his paycheck. He’s starting college soon, so I’m saving money for his education, which is my top priority. I still have financial concerns, but I’m feeling more secure.”

Shad Browning, Distribution Center #6014, Laurens, SC

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“My wife, Ginger and I moved from Utah to South Carolina for my work. But the move has been hard because we’re so far away from our two grown sons. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I was worried that I was failing my family. I downloaded the Thrive app and I started by doing daily meditations. Focusing on my breath for a few minutes helps me stay calm. Ginger and I are taking yoga classes. It’s a great way to stretch and lower stress. We’re cooking together, and when we’re having dinner we put our phones in another room. I’m grateful for my marriage. After 30 years together, Ginger and I still love being together. And when we spend time with our boys, we’re bonding more. We feel settled in our new home and at work. My goal is to become an assistant manager, and I know I’m on track. I’ve been aiming for small wins, and they’re starting to add up to bigger wins. I feel more confident and accomplished.”

Cody Wofford, Distribution Center #6858, Mebane, NC

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“I’m a single dad and separating from my wife was the lowest point in my life. My 8-year-old daughter, Natalee, is the biggest joy in my life, but I felt sad and stressed. I downloaded the Thrive Challenge and started by focusing on my sleeping habits. I moved my phone out of the bedroom so I wasn’t tempted to roll over and check messages. My next Microstep was starting  breathing exercises, which help to calm my mind. Exercise was a bit of a struggle. But I now go for a short walk after work on a nature trail. It feels peaceful in the silence. I have more energy and pep when Natalee’s with me. We go to the park and we go to museums. After my separation I was down on myself, but I’ve started reaching out to friends and spending more time with my family, planning trips to the lake, or just relaxing around a fire in the backyard. I remind myself that I’m doing my best, and things are getting better.” 

Laura Almanza, Distribution Center #9153, Waco TX

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“I’m a 25-year-old single mom with a 5-year-old daughter, Areli, and things have been hard. I was feeling unhappy and exhausted. I was eating fast food and I didn’t know how to stop. I joined the Thrive challenge and started cooking with my daughter. We love making spaghetti with homemade sauce. We hardly ever eat out now. I gradually started doing easy exercise, like using the stairmaster at the gym. Areli and I are riding bikes together, and we go to the park. We run around and play hide and seek and tag. One of the great things I learned on the Thrive app is to stop using electronics close to bedtime and to avoid social media when I first wake up. It has made such a difference. I don’t feel so tired all the time. I feel accomplished and I’m ready for more Challenges.”

Sheena Holland, Walmart Supercenter #4483, White House, TN

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“My biggest struggle in life was stress. I’m supporting my family, and life hasn’t been easy. I was eating badly and I weighed 240 pounds. I started the Thrive Challenge and began drinking a lot more water. For dinner, I might have chicken and salad. On my lunch break, I walk around the store. And recently, I’ve actually been jogging at the park with the dog. Years ago, l used to go line dancing, and I’ve started dancing again with my husband in the kitchen. Microsteps are helping me connect more with my family. There are more smiles in our home, more helping each other out — and more hugs and kisses. I have less anxiety and more energy, and I’ve lost 20 pounds. I have more self-esteem now; I tell myself that I’m enough.”

Anna Jordan, Neighborhood Market #2632, Phoenix, AZ

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“I was really struggling with saving money, and I didn’t feel physically good. My fiancé, Colin, and I have a 4-year-old daughter, Michelle Jean, and she is my biggest motivation to live a better life. I started the Thrive Challenge and began by saving money and budgeting. Colin and I write down all the bills we have to pay, like my daughter’s daycare, and we put that money aside. Then we put anything leftover into our savings account. I’m also watching what I spend. If I don’t need something, I just don’t buy it. I’m saving to buy a house for our baby to grow up in. Every day she says, ‘Mama, when we get a house I wanna paint my room pink.’ So that’s my goal: I’m going to buy her a house and we are going to paint her room pink.”

McKenna Grasser, Walmart Supercenter #1765, Somerset, PA

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“I’m only 25, but I was feeling mentally and physically drained.I wasn’t sleeping well, I had bad headaches almost every day, and I wasn’t eating well. My boyfriend, Jordan, and I would eat fast food five days a week. I downloaded the Thrive app and I began with food Microsteps. Jordan and I are cooking together and enjoying trying new recipes. We’re taking the Challenge together. We go for walks with our dogs; being in the fresh air makes me feel more awake and energized. I have a new nighttime routine. I shower and do my skincare, I leave my phone where I can’t reach it when I go to bed, and I don’t keep my computer in my room. My routine helps my mind unwind and I’m getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. When I wake up in the morning, I feel ready for the day and I’m more productive. I feel happier.”

Latwanya Noble, Walmart Supercenter #593, Douglas, GA

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“I had a lot of financial stress and I felt like a failure. I have two daughters and we went out to eat at least three times a week. I started the Thrive Challenge and I began writing down all the bills I needed to pay each month. I started stashing away half the amount in cash so I knew I’d have enough to pay everything at the end of the month. That makes me feel calm. I stopped buying things that we didn’t need. Instead of eating out all the time, we’re meal prepping. Just taking that Microstep saves me about $150 a month, and I’m much less stressed. We have more time for each other as a family, because we don’t have to worry about what we are having for supper. My dream is to buy a house in the country. This year I’m working on my credit score and I’ll start saving for a down payment. I’m hoping I’ll be able to buy my house in two to three years.”

Kimberly Mooney, Distribution Center #9153, Waco TX

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“Last year I was feeling a lot of stress. I help to take care of my 83-year-old mother who has health problems. One of my biggest challenges was trying to eat a healthy diet. I felt uncomfortable in my skin. I downloaded the Thrive app and started by cutting down on  processed food. My mother and I are cooking together, which is fun for both of us. We make a delicious Santa Fe salad with grilled chicken, black beans, and corn. I started doing squats while brushing my teeth. And at work, I take breaks from my desk and go for a walk. When I clean my house, I listen to country music which keeps me motivated. To lower my stress I take deep slow breaths. Reading helps me relax — anything from thrillers to historical romance. I’ve lost 15 pounds and I feel more confident. I’m much less stressed and I feel positive about life.” 

Jenesis Villalta Mejia, Distribution Center #6561, Colton, CA

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“I was feeling unmotivated and stressed. I’m pre-diabetic, but I rarely paid attention to what I ate. I’m a full-time employee at Walmart and I am also studying for a degree. I didn’t have time for myself or my family. I downloaded the Thrive app and began by starting a journal. I’d write about what I wanted to accomplish and what I would eat. It really helped me stay calm and organized. Now I also write about what makes me happy and what causes me stress. You’d be surprised at how much writing down your feelings can help you mentally. My wife Reina and I are connecting more. I share my feelings with Reina and I make sure I let her know that I appreciate her. I began cooking nutritious meals for the family and we all sit down for dinner and talk about our days. We walk the dogs and I’m stretching every day. The pain in my back isn’t as bad. I feel better physically and emotionally.”

Olga De Jesus Perez, Walmart Supercenter #2346, Toa Baja, PR

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“I was failing at the most important thing, which was time with my family. I always brought all the stress from work home, which made me miss the best moments. It affected me in what was most important, moments with my family that are not repeated and stages that we miss in our children because they grow up too quickly. At work we are focused all day on one area, and we need mental clarity to be able to provide excellent service to our patients. Situations occur in which we become tense and arrive home tired, and then work on household chores. I decided to participate in the Thrive Challenge since I needed help to give me the tips and advice to make the necessary changes I needed in my life. The change in my life has been incredible. I do my best to be present with my family, especially my children. I can enjoy all of life’s stages, which are moments that must be taken advantage of. I enjoy ball games with my son, I study with my children, and I am with them at their school activities. Definitely thanks to Thrive’s advice I can enjoy more time with my family and the most important people in my life, who are my children. For me, the Thrive Challenge means having an opportunity to achieve new challenges and achieve new goals in your life. If you put your mind to it you will achieve it!”

Kendra Lott, Walmart Supercenter #593, Douglas, GA

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“For years I’ve tried to lose weight, but I couldn’t stick to a healthy diet. I’m 32, and diabetes runs in my family. I weighed 278 pounds. I heard about the Thrive Challenge and downloaded the app. A big motivation for me was when my best friend, Brittany, said she was getting married and asked me to be her bridesmaid. Brittany is working on losing weight too, so we’re supporting each other. We go for walks together and swap recipes. And we tell each other we are not giving up. I’ve been cooking simple meals, like sautéed chicken with seasoned steamed broccoli. I’ve also been taking Microsteps, like cutting down on sodas and drinking water, and grabbing a banana instead of a bag of chips. I started taking morning walks around the park; I love being outside in nature. I’ve lost weight and I feel more confident. My bridesmaid’s dress for Brittany’s wedding fits perfectly and I’m so excited. When I look in the mirror, I like who I see.”

Amanda Walker, Walmart Supercenter #1828, Plover, WI

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“I went through a divorce, which was very stressful. I was eating a lot of fast food and I really wanted to lose weight. I downloaded the Thrive app and multiple team members have joined me. We’re all encouraging each other to take our Microsteps. I get my team to join me in walking around the building and stretching during breaks. Checking into the app encourages me and reminds me to make good food choices. I like to make chicken stir fries with mixed veggies or homemade sushi with crab meat. I’m eating lots of fresh fruit like blueberries. My 9-year-old daughter and I jump on our trampoline. We also love to make dance videos on TikTok. And to lower stress I’m doing breathing exercises. I’ve lost 25 pounds since October. When I got on the scale and saw that I weighed under 200 pounds, I almost cried. I know I’ll be around for a long time for my children.”

Josh Fink, Walmart Supercenter #2146, Amsterdam, NY

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“I needed to lose weight, but I didn’t have the motivation. I was eating fast food and drinking a lot of soda. I’m 19 and I weighed 210 pounds. I got started on the Thrive Challenge and  Microsteps helped me think about what I’m eating before just grabbing anything. If I have a craving for sugar, I’ll have high protein yogurt or strawberries. I live with my parents, and my mom is making salmon with a side salad or homemade pasta with steamed broccoli for dinner. Every day, I go for walks. I listen to hip hop — music gets me in the mood to move. Now that I feel better about myself, I’m hanging out with friends. We’ll watch a movie or play mini golf. Over the course of six months I’ve lost 18 pounds. I have more stamina and I’m more confident. I’m going into my 20s 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.”

Taliesa Olivares, Distribution Center #9153, Waco, TX

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“I recently lost the mother-like figure in my life, our family friend, I called Aunty Rose, who raised me. When she passed away it was devastating. I’m a single mom with three sons and  a 6-month-old granddaughter. I was feeling very stressed and sad, and I was doing a lot of emotional eating. I downloaded the Thrive app and got started. Instead of eating fast food I began cooking family meals. I’m making recipes Aunty Rose taught me, like spicy chicken and squash soup. It’s a great way to remember her. I’ve been attending a grief counseling group. Getting support has reminded me that I’m not alone. At home, I love to dance; I do 30 minute online dance classes, they’re great for lowering stress. Connection Microsteps are helping me spend more time with my family. We have weekly dinners, and we play cards or board games. My Aunty Rose will always be in my heart. And I know she would be happy that I am finding joy with my family.”