Earlier this year I felt run down and depressed — like I was just existing. I’m a mom and was living in California with my 7-month-old son, Forrest. His father and I had an extremely negative relationship, so I left and moved with my son to Arkansas, where I have family.

“I felt like I had to start over at 32 years old once I moved.”
I lived with my sister for a couple months to get back on my feet. I was questioning who I was  as a person. But when you’re a single mom, there’s no time for a pity party.

I had no balance in my life. I was working, studying for a degree and focusing on my son. Everything was challenging and I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was drinking coffee all day and eating pizza and burgers. When I found out about the Thrive Challenge, I was excited to start.

“I started making miniscule changes to build my self-esteem.” 

When I’m brushing my teeth, I say three things I’m grateful for. Each night I compliment myself out loud for things I’ve done well, for example: “Good job on not losing your patience when Forrest pulled your hair!” 

I’ve always been a hothead, but I am learning how to stay calm. I’m more patient and I don’t get so upset. I’m doing breathing and mindfulness exercises to relax. And instead of overreacting when my son pours cereal all over the floor, I count to 10 and breathe. I’ve learned that not everything is serious!

I stopped ordering out and started cooking with my son, who’s now 15 months old. One recipe we love: bell peppers stuffed with ground turkey, veggies, mozzarella cheese, and brown rice. Instead of brownies for dessert, we’ll have yogurt with granola and fruit. Forrest stands on his little stool to help me prepare it. 

“The best thing that’s happened is that I am sleeping well.”

I’m staying away from technology in the evening and am reading bedtime stories to Forrest. It means the world to me: We’re bonding and creating memories. I used to be stressed out during the night and would wake up constantly. Now, I put my phone in the kitchen to charge an hour before I go to bed. I listen to relaxing music instead of going to sleep watching T.V. When I wake up, I have so much energy.

“Before, I didn’t feel like I was worth anything. Now I’m happier and I’ve been able to find my self-worth again.”

I know I’m a better mom, which is my most important job, and I feel like I can take on the world!

– Kyla Fleming, Distribution Center #6094; Bentonville AR; $5K Winner

Through the Thrive Challenge, our community is making Better Choices, seeing big results, and winning big.

Stories from past winners, such as Kyla Fleming, prove that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, sustainable changes and peer-to-peer inspiration.