What was life like for you before the Challenge?
My wife, Mihiret, and I have a 10-month-old baby daughter, Sabaoth. I love her but when she arrived, I was not at all prepared for fatherhood. Sleep became a big problem. The baby wasn’t sleeping and we were up all night. Instead of enjoying having a family, I felt depressed. I’m 32, but had no energy and there was no joy. We weren’t eating well. We’d have microwaved frozen pizza or go to McDonald’s. The turning point was when a colleague, Moses Kimotho, a former Winner, told me about the Challenge. Something clicked for me and I decided to start. I wanted to be a better dad and build a positive environment for my family.
How did you begin?
I focused on sleep and bought blackout curtains to stop the light coming in through the window, which would wake us up. I bought a playmat with toys for the baby, which she loves playing with and then gets tired out. And I bought a device that plays soft music and soothing sounds like rain, to help her get to sleep. Soon, she was sleeping well so my wife and I started to sleep better too. I now get seven hours a night.
What other changes did you make?
With more energy, I’m cooking, which I love doing. We plan out meals on our kitchen table. I work in the deli so I know what to buy. I’ll cook fish like tilapia and serve it with fried rice and salad and I like making omelets with broccoli and shredded cheese. I’m saving up to $300 a month because we’re not eating fast food. I opened an account to save money for college for our little princess and bought a family car. I’ve also started running and doing push-ups. I bought an exercise bike so my wife and I can both work out at home.
How has family life improved?
My wife also works at Walmart. We do different shifts and take care of the baby between us. On the days when we’re both off, we’ll go for walks or a drive and take the baby to the playground, then play games at home. We’re having more family time and I feel joyful. When Sabaoth is asleep, Mihiret and I will watch a romantic movie together.
Having accomplished so much already, how do you feel?
Before, I wasn’t really engaged in my job because I felt depressed — now I’m awake, full of energy, and so happy. I tell myself, “I can be who I want to be” and I feel like I have a second chance. I took the Challenge, inspired by Moses, to make different choices for a lifetime and it’s a springboard for me. I have great determination and I know nothing and nobody can stop me from achieving my goals.
—Mintesnot Wordofa, Supercenter #5673; Sachse, TX; $5K Winner