One day, Arianna Huffington was a guest speaker at a virtual work meeting, and listening to her story really opened my eyes. At the time, I was eating poorly, sleeping irregular hours, and generally felt like a candlestick that was burning wicks from both ends. I had previously downloaded the Thrive app, but I was transferred to a new store and received a new company phone. I had a lot going on at the time, trying to balance looking for a new home, meeting new people at work, and living in a hotel for a few months. I was given a copy of Arianna’s book Thrive and it sparked my memory of the app, so I decided to redownload it. 

One moment at work pushed me to get started. 

I was creating a training video for a new program that my store was piloting, and I was unhappy with the version of myself I saw on camera. That moment was what pushed me to start. I can clearly remember Arianna and Joey Hubbard discussing Microsteps, and one that resonated with me was about planning to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. As someone who always struggled with sleep, I was intrigued by the idea of “planning” to attain better sleep.

I changed my eating habits and started exercising more.

I begin my day with black coffee, water, and breakfast. Then, I will go to my living room and stretch with some resistance bands and either do 20 minutes on the bike or 500 kettlebell swings. After work I will either go for a walk, ride my bike, or do some strength training. I’m eating home-cooked food, and I’m making sure to eat my meals at my dining room table. I started at 320 pounds, and today I’m at 250. I have a co-worker who is going through a similar journey, and we check in on each other throughout the week.

I’m also saving money every day.

I started a savings account, enrolled in a stock purchasing plan, and diversified my portfolio. Since I make my own food and make coffee at home, I am saving a little every day. I consciously consider whether I need or want something before I purchase. I started saving for a home of my own a few years ago, and I am finally in a position where I can pick a home I want instead of simply choosing one based on the price.

I’m now sleeping around 7 to 8 hours a night.

I use an app that puts my phone in Do Not Disturb mode from 8:30 p.m. to 4:45 a.m. An added benefit is that the screen will only show the time while this setting is enabled, so it’s like an alarm clock!

I find it much easier to maintain a positive outlook.

I feel significantly less stressed on a daily basis, and I find it easier to focus on the things I’m thankful for. I don’t think my Challenge is over, but I am confident that I am now offering the world the best version of myself. I will keep going, continue to make better choices, and continue to find things to be grateful for. Continuously building on my small choices will make a solid foundation for me to continue my journey, with bigger and bolder choices in the future.

—Kody O’Benis, Walmart Supercenter #1034; Stettler, AB, Canada; $2K Winner