We Got Goals: Team aSweatLife Writers Are Giving Their All This Year


The #TeamaSweatLife writers are an inspiring bunch; everyone has their own demanding, full-time jobs and on top of those commitments, they are all individually passionate about their own health goals – and somehow make time for the asweatlife.community in their busy days, too. It’s not hard to get some inspiration for your own daily, weekly or yearly goals by listening to each one of theirs.

Ashley Aranha


“My initial goal for 2016 was to work out consistently throughout the entire year. I realized that in order for me to succeed, I needed to change my relationship with fitness overall. For the first time, I started writing my workouts on my calendar and I began to consider them ‘me time.’ I discovered that I have a huge passion for group fitness, specifically HIIT classes. I also met a lot of friends who would motivate me and hold me accountable to make each class.

My goal for 2017 is still to work out consistently, but I want to find more balance. I have never been drawn to cardio or yoga, and I now understand that they are just as important as strength training and HIIT. I want to strive to attend a yoga class at least once every other week and I want to incorporate at least one cardio-only day into my schedule once per week. I also want to learn to appreciate the importance of rest days. It is my hope that I can learn to balance my workouts and my schedules so I can have my strongest, injury-free year yet!”

Jamie Bacigalupo


“2016 was my third year in Ecuador, it was a bit more centered. I felt more settled. The first year was rocky, the second was getting more-so settled and the third year felt really good. I fell back into a fitness routine and I found how to take advantage of healthy foods and fresh produce in Ecuador. I got back in the kitchen and started making recipes again.

Now, having moved to China, my routine has been thrown off a little again. I don’t like getting up on that – it’s all part of settling into a new lifestyle. So I’ve been exploring a new culinary scene again, but my goal is to get back in the kitchen. For 2017, I’m focusing on getting back to what my body needs. I met up with a friend recently who wants to go paleo; I set up a list of organized meals for her, and I feel passionate about helping other people feel their best. It’s time to focus on that for me again.”

Emily Baseman


“After I got married in September 2015, I fell out of love with fitness; the combination of being so happy to be married/honeymooning and having been so dedicated to working out while we were engaged was detrimental to my routine. In 2016, I set a goal to appreciate exercise again, and I succeeded! Fitness is once again something I truly look forward to and one of my favorite parts of the week. I also learned to work out with friends, which previously made me uncomfortable. Now, I can’t get enough! Lastly, I’m super proud that I finally tried [solidcore], lived to tell the tale and continue to go back.

In 2017, I want to continue this love affair [with fitness] and work on getting back in running shape. When I lived in Chicago, I loved to run by the lake and ran several races including a marathon. Moving to Washington, D.C., I fell out of running regularly. Now, when I run at Orange Theory, it’s really difficult for me to run without my heart rate rising higher than I’m supposed to aim for. I’m planning to keep up with this and other running workouts to get my body back to where it once was – never fast, but certainly still built to run.”

Erin Dietsche


“2016 was a monumental year for me, primarily because my husband and I got married! Although it’s more of an event than a goal, it’s something I’m beyond happy about! One of my 2016 goals was to work on my body strength. As detailed in one of my previous posts, I’ve always been a runner. I did Cross Country throughout high school and my team never did any weight-based activities. I figured lifting was useless, especially for runners. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how beneficial lifting can be — yes, even for runners! — and how much healthier I feel when I lift. At the beginning of 2016, I wanted to get stronger and gain confidence while lifting weights. Throughout the year, I took steps to work on my leg, arm and abdominal strength. By using both weight-based and body strength workouts, I can confidently say I accomplished my goal. I feel stronger than ever before.

Even though it can be tough to find time for running and weightlifting, I plan on continuing to strength train in 2017. Additionally, I want to run a marathon in 2017. I ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2015, and as detailed in this post, it was a pretty spur-of-the-moment decision. This year, I want to train for and run a different marathon (stay tuned for which one I pick). The polls are currently open — I’m accepting advice on which marathon I should do!”

Michelle Grano


“The goal I’m most proud of for 2016 is taking both my physical and my mental health into my own hands. This past year, I sought out two new doctors to help me tackle some of my ongoing health struggles. It’s been so empowering to finally take the plunge and seek both the guidance and treatment I need to really start making progress along the road to ultimate wellness.

My goal in 2017 is to master the art of self-love, and embrace my body as it is, no matter what day, or size, it is. I plan on doing a lot of reading and meditating, as well as actively trying to change my inner dialogue, speaking to myself with love and kindness the way I would to a friend.”

Cass Gunderson

2017 goals

“I ran a trail 50K in Wisconsin this past September, and it was one of the craziest and most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. It made me realize that my body is so much more capable than I give it credit for. And I decided to take the plunge into home ownership. I made a commitment to a new home, new neighborhood and new (old?) feeling of being broke again. I spent a lot of meaningful time with friends and family (shout out to my parents for helping me with condo renovations) and was able to visit some close friends who moved away to cool cities.

In 2017, I want to take a more holistic approach to my fitness and nutrition. Instead of concentrating on endurance training for long stretches of time (months!), I want to incorporate more variety. I will still be running, of course – just not nearly as much. I also plan to introduce more stretching, yoga and mobility workouts into my regime. I’m in this thing for the long haul and I don’t want to burn myself (or my body) out. I am looking forward to hitting a stride in my career this year. Last year I was the new kid on the block, so I’m hoping that I can take it a step further now. The partners at my firm and I created a specific set of goals for me in 2017 so I can continue to learn and take on more responsibility, and I’m really excited about what I’m trying to accomplish career-wise this year.”

Cindy Kuzma


“In 2016, I’m proud to say I came back from a running injury to re-qualify for the Boston Marathon.

In 2017, I’m aiming to run my sixth Boston [Marathon] and have it be the best yet (and that doesn’t necessarily mean the fastest, though that would be nice, just the best executed on the day!). Also, to run my first international marathon in Berlin in the fall.”

Kelly Magnus


“I think I finally found my flow. I became honest with the places and people I wanted to see, and the things that I wanted to be priority in life. Rather than spinning my wheels, I managed to find a flow that worked – ultimately making my life work. I think the biggest success in this was recognizing and being honest with what my aspirational goals were: to train for a half ironman and continue to grow as a fitness instructor. That wasn’t going to happen if I kept up with 2 am nights out and eating unhealthy (try running after a day of bad eating; you’ll learn your lesson really quickly! No drinking before I teach a class the next day, ALWAYS get your training done in the morning and not waiting to do the hardest/longest training runs or rides on Sunday. Food needed to be fuel and sleep was priority. As a result, I got into a really good flow and I’m looking to grow on this in 2017.

In 2017 I want to get uncomfortable. I think the first few years of living in Chicago was about staying afloat (first job out of college, moving to a new city, figuring out life …). The last few years was sort of a “reinventing” who I am. Figuring out my life goals, passions and starting to pursue them. Now, I feel pretty confident I’m on the right path so this next year is taking everything a step further and getting a bit uncomfortable to really grow. I want to push myself that extra step which might take a little more energy and “guts, but that is where I need to go to continue to evolve, grow and reach for those goals I’ve been wanting – like a half ironman PR!

Kevin Martin


“In 2016 I set a goal to get back to traveling more and I successfully succeeded with trips to Clearwater, New York, Lexington (3x!!!), Indianapolis, Columbus, Colorado, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Nashville.

This year (in addition to continuing to travel) I’m trying to reduce my footprint. Given how unfriendly conservatives have been to science, I’m assuming a Republican-controlled House/Senate/White House won’t bode great for the planet. So, I’m trying to do my part: less waste, more emphasis on recycling (throwing away less – making sure to recycle batteries, electronics, junk mail, etc.), walking more, making more meals and ordering out less and remembering to bring reusable bags to the grocery store are just a few ways I can contribute.”

Tamara Rosin


“The biggest fitness goal I accomplished in 2016 was running a half marathon. As someone who typically runs between two and six miles at a time, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to train up to a half marathon. However, supportive friends and mild spring weather helped me do what I needed to prepare. On race day, even though I peed one hundred times before it began, obviously the second I started running I had to go again. I decided to stop at the first available port-a-potty, which meant I had to wait in line for four minutes. Aside from that, the race went really smoothly and I finished in one hour and 54 minutes (after subtracting my four minutes waiting to pee), beating my goal of finishing in under two hours. I was so amazed at all of the people who stood along the trail to cheer on their loved ones. It was truly touching, even though just a handful of those folks were there for me.

In 2017 I want to run another half marathon and do yoga at least once a week. Aside from becoming more flexible, I realized yoga helps remedy a lot of the lower back pain I occasionally suffer from. In terms of overall personal well-being, another important goal of mine is committing more time to my personal/creative writing. It’s really fulfilling when I actually sit down and write, even if I end up hating what I wrote. I’m going to continue to take fiction and poetry workshops and try to spend at least two hours a week writing (outside of my job, in which I am writing all day)!”

Kelsey Schagemann


“I’m proud of incorporating yoga more regularly into my workout routine in 2016. I could tell my balance improved, and I think my alignment was better in certain poses. Plus, I really loved how calm and centered I felt after each class. Another health-related goal was an easy one, even though it still took me six months to actually complete: get all my recipes into a binder! Now, everything is nicely organized (try some of my favorites from last year here and from 2015 here)! I also wanted to bike to a brewery in 2016 and I made it happen – times three! While on vacation in Sacramento, I biked to a brewery with friends, and I also biked 60-mile roundtrip trek to Three Floyd’s in Indiana, also with friends – twice!

Speaking of fun, I have an ongoing goal to make at least one new friend each year. Happily, 2016 exceeded my expectations in that regard, thanks in no small part to aSweatLife! I am so grateful to be part of this community. I started writing for the website in November 2015, and 14 months later, I have new friends who also happen to be awesome fitness buddies.

Another goal was to get serious about networking in 2016. I had some really helpful email, phone and in-person conversations with folks who were kind enough to take time out of their busy days to share their insights with me. It was energizing and also humbling to see how hard they have each worked to get to a place of personal and professional success. I hope to continue these fruitful conversations in 2017.

In 2017, my big goal is to build my freelance writing portfolio. I’ve been tackling it bit by bit during the past few years. In 2015, I had 10 new clients; in 2016, I only had three new clients, but I more than doubled my freelance income. So this year, I really want to get serious about my commitment to freelance writing. My goal is to pitch to 3-4 outlets each month and not be afraid to aim high! I’m looking for placement in alumni magazines, travel publications, regional magazines/websites, and health and fitness outlets, so if anyone reading this has any leads, give me a holler.

Catherine Toupin


In 2016, I told my boss that I got a job offer and that it was more than I was currently making. I said that I was doing myself a disservice if I didn’t ask for more. And while I hate doing that, this year I was stronger and said ‘No, this is what I’m worth’. And he listened, and I was shocked. I had Cass give me a pep talk because she reads all those books about standing up for yourself so she sent me an email with all the stats to make me feel like a badass.

In 2017, I definitely want to work on not taking things for granted – including relationships and time. I want make better use of time, spending it with people in my life that I care about. My grandmother in New Hampshire loves getting emails; she prints them out to re-read them. My goal is to email her once a week. And in general, I’d like to check in more and be more present with my friends.



It’s not too late to set your daily, weekly or yearly intentions. Use these stories – and don’t be afraid to ask around – for inspiration to make 2017 your best year yet.