At Thrive, we believe in the power of Microsteps to help you make meaningful changes that will stick. We followed up with previous Thrive Challenge winners to see how they are continuing to make better choices that have a lasting impact on their well-being.

When I found out I’d won the Thrive Challenge last year, I was in shock. Byron Johnson, my General Manager, called me into his office to congratulate me on winning $5,000. I was like, “Are you serious?” When it sank in, I was on top of the highest cloud!  

A year earlier, life, to be honest, was a big struggle.

I was a single mom raising two kids, I was drowning in debt, and I wasn’t taking care of myself. I’d drink six or more Cokes a day, and at the fast food restaurants they knew me by name! I was a burger and nacho-eating kind of person, always on the run, taking my daughters to ball games. I’m only 5’1” and I weighed 160 pounds, so that’s a lot. My wake-up call came when my doctor said I was obese. So I downloaded the Thrive app, and got inspired by stories in the Thrive Book about people making Better Choices. 

Instead of Coke, I started drinking water with lemon or cucumber and eating more veggies and  fruit. We adopted a dog, Winston, and I walk him every day. I love kickboxing — the classes are just 30 minutes, but you quickly see results and get really toned.

At 52, I’ve never felt better. I’ve lost 30 pounds and kept it off.

I’ve encouraged over 20 co-workers to start the Thrive Challenge and we share ideas. Someone will say, “Have you tried Zumba? I think it would be fun.” I organized a 5K for my team and a New Years Day run.

Great things keep happening — like falling in love!

I met Billy shopping in Sam’s Club, and we got married this past summer. I finally found a man who really cares about me. This is literally the happiest I’ve ever been. We love being with each other. He owns a pizza truck, and has lots of healthy choices like a delicious naan bread pizza with veggies. Billy’s a great cook — he introduced me to asparagus. He makes an amazing grilled chicken salad with feta cheese and banana peppers. Wow, it’s so good! 

I’ve cleared all my debts and credit cards. 

Trust me, when Billy and I started dating neither of us had two nickels to rub together. Now we have savings accounts. It’s a huge relief knowing we have a back-up plan in case of emergency. We remodeled our kitchen, and we were able to pay with cash.   

We’re spending more time together as a family. 

We have dinners with my daughters, Dyana and Meghan. And recently Billy and I went to Dollywood with Meghan and her boyfriend to ride the roller coasters. We go for family bike rides, hikes, white water rafting, and camping trips. It’s so much fun.

I’ve been promoted at work, which is awesome. 

I love my job and always have a smile on my face. I have another job as a cleaner, and for seniors who can’t afford to pay I don’t charge anything. One sweet lady saw me in the lobby of her apartment building with my vacuum cleaner. I cleaned her apartment and she said to me, “God sent me an angel.” 

When I first started my journey, it was all about, “What can I do for me?” Now it’s about helping others, too. I teach Sunday School at my church. I also volunteer for an organization called Pearls Of Grace, helping girls in low income families apply to college or trade schools and get jobs. I arranged for a group of young women to come to Sam’s Club, where our managers talked to them about job opportunities.

As a child I was sexually abused and The Thrive Challenge has helped me heal.

I’ve been in therapy for many years, and I know I’m not a victim — I’m a survivor. On my Thrive journey, I’ve finally learned that your past is not who you are. I’m Patty. Everybody has a story and has been through difficulties. You can create your own new path in life and then help others by giving back. I volunteer for Childhelp, a wonderful center offering support for children who’ve been abused. Billy and I donated a thousand dollars to make sure children get Christmas presents this year.

I could go on and on about how the Thrive app has changed my life.  

I can’t imagine life without it. I’m feeling grateful and blessed. It’s so uplifting and motivating — I’m all in!