From booze to bliss: 33-year-old replaces alcohol with 365 days of gratitude
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- We all come to a point in life when change is essential.
Some deem it the mid-life crisis with the stereotypical band-aid of a fast car purchase. Others head to the gym or attempt a new hobby. But when it came time for Kyle Bender to make a change, he decided on something a little different.
The 33-year-old was inspired after the real-estate company he works for asked employees to record a video saying what they were grateful for during the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday.
"During that process I realized that this was really cool and it makes you think about some smaller things in life that are really positive," Bender said.
The practice of gratitude stuck with Bender throughout the holidays. And when the new year rolled around, he decided on a resolution: taking a moment to be thankful every day.
"I came up with this next year if I can do this thankful/gratitude video and put it out there... it would keep me accountable of doing it every day."
But Bender didn't just stop there. He also decided to take a break from drinking for the 2017 year.
"I was becoming a person I didn't like," Bender said. "It wasn't me to my core, to my heart, it wasn't me."
Bender decided to set a separate resolution in addition to his daily moment of thankfulness. Little did he know how much the resolutions would connect.
"Drinking hides a lot of things, it numbs you and pushes things into the corner," Bender said. "If you don't do that, you have to find something else."
For Bender, those other things have been finding activities, events and simple moments that he gives thanks for.
"To me it's just what gives you that good feeling throughout the day and how do you hold onto that moment?"
Bender admitted that at first, he felt vulnerable when posting his videos. Now, at the halfway point of the 2017 year, he says it's been life changing.
"This year has been very eye-opening," Bender said. "(I've learned) that there are a lot of people that need positivity in their lives and encouragement, motivation, inspiration, and I think throwing that out there to people makes it more receptive and it comes back to me more."
Bender's moments of thankfulness have inspired others to start their own, with friends and acquaintances joining in on the "thankful challenge."
"You had the ice bucket challenge which I thought was neat, the push up challenge, and all of these little challenges that happen... for me I'd love to see people being more positive."
So... what are you thankful for today?