As the year ends, we see lots of advice about resolutions for the year ahead — and how to make and keep them.

Six decades in, I wish I had a running list of every resolution I made (including all of those I didn’t keep).

Yesterday I was out for a holiday brunch with my 50+ “big sister” (metaphorical, not biological, although we could have been separated at birth). Laraine and I were gushing about how lucky we are to have found each other this year. We met cute, discussing dipping powder in the local nail salon. Turns out we both were power women of the 1980s in fintech, long before it was called fintech. And we remain bad-asses to this day. But enough about girlfriend power

We were talking about work and life and our goals for the year ahead. In the course of the conversation, I asked the question:

What are your five mantras?

A mantra is defined as: a slogan, motto, maxim, catchphrase, catchword, watchword, byword, buzzword, or tagline. We tech-types can even view it as a personal keyword or hashtag.

But back to brunch…We went on to talk about the five guiding principles we plan to live by over the next 12 months. We both lean more to the pragmatic, rather than the spiritual, so we don’t have plans to meditate on these words for hours on end. (If I were to sit on a pillow on the floor I’d have trouble standing up.) Instead, we will use them to guide our daily actions and choices.

For example, mine are:

  1. Detox: Avoid people and situations that will bring unpleasantness into my life.
  2. Inspire: Pursue activities that help others achieve their goals.
  3. Monetize: I tend to be overly generous with my time and ideas. Although I believe that if you do the right things, the money will follow, having a business plan and P&L is never a bad idea.
  4. Be Passionate & Joyous: Enough said. I was once told I have a 12-year old girl smile. I will never lose it. (And yes, that’s four words, not one. But I created the mantra method, so I can bend the rules.)
  5. Explore: Whether I’m simply dragging my aging butt off the couch to see a new movie, rocking-out to the English Beat, learning a new app, or (hopefully) heading to Italy and France for romance and adventure, stepping out of my comfort zone (and my apartment) is essential.

Laraine is working on her list too and we agreed to be each other’s Mantra Mavens, checking in periodically about how we’re living the words in our daily lives.

I haven’t given up on the more classic resolution-type stuff like, “lose 10 pounds” or “spin or hike once a week,” but I think that at the end of the day (or the calendar year) how we live is more important than what we achieve.

My mantras will be easier to keep because they are 100 percent within my control.

So, stay tuned throughout the year as I make my personal keywords come to life. I may not hit the gym every day, but as long as that 12-year old girl smile is on my face when I hit the pillow each night I think I’ll be doing OK.

What are YOUR words for the year ahead? If you write them down here, they will become more real! (Plus thousands of people will see them and you’ll have to be at least somewhat accountable.)


  • Nancy A Shenker

    The Silver Hair Playbook: How to Be a Bad Ass >50™

    Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. Over the course of her 40-year business and marketing career, she has been a C-level executive, an entrepreneur, and a mentor to hundreds of small businesses at all stages. Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, and publishes a women’s entrepreneur community (, as well as AI/machine learning/robotics site and travel and lifestyle site She also wrote a column for called Bots & Bodies (about the human side of tech) and is a contributor to a wide range of consumer and business media. She recently won the "Killer Content Award" for a major project for a fast-growing technology company.