Slower is Faster-My New Year’s Mantra

mantra: slower is faster

Looking back

It’s hard to believe it’s the end of another year. Time seems to fly by so quickly. And so I’m looking back, thinking about where I’ve been, what I’ve experienced and accomplished this past year and anticipating a new year. What will this new year bring? (Frankly, some of it is totally outside my control.) But I also have an opportunity to decide. What do I most want to create through goal setting and intentionality?

And as I ponder this question I’m aware that I’m tempted to accelerate my speed. I want to cram lots into a short period of time. After all, I’m not getting younger and, frankly, my project list is growing longer.

Perpetual Dissatisfaction

But I also realize that cramming more tasks into each day or week may push me into a harried state of dissatisfaction. I can never enjoy the moment or look back with satisfaction on how far I’ve come because I’m driven to get on to the next daily task or goal. And to make matters worse, I feel stressed when I hit a roadblock (as I’m writing) or if I don’t get everything done on a particular day.

And so I want to slow down in this new year. I certainly don’t intend to give up on my dreams or the goals which fuel me and contribute to my sense of meaning and purpose. But I do want to pursue them with awareness of the natural rhythms of my life—my age and health, my mental and emotional bandwidth, my commitment to the people around me, and my desire to find pleasure and joy in the day-to-day journey.

My New Years Mantra

So as I anticipate this upcoming year, I’m adopting a new mantra: Slower is faster.

For example:

  • Rushing through my morning meditation can feel like checking a box on my to-do list. Taking time to immerse myself in the experience can be renewing and set me up for a better day.
  • Eating a quick lunch so I can get back to work leaves me feeling beleaguered and disconnected. Giving myself time to be fully present with my wife while enjoying a meal and engaged in a good conversation helps me feel connected.
  • Keeping my nose to the grindstone leaves me feeling harried. A short walk outside, a good stretch, pausing to find moments of stillness, or taking in a beautiful sunset or moment to really look at a memento or object on my desk help me feel centered and grounded.
  • Multi-tasking masks my anxiety and gives me a sense of making progress. Giving my full attention to one thing at a time makes me more thoughtful and efficient.
  • Pushing myself to finish a project in a rigid time frame begets frustration. Taking a break and softening my expectations is an act of grace and self-compassion.
  • Jumping into one more task produces a sense of self-mastery. Prioritizing relationships (family, friends or someone in need) reminds me of what matters most and why I am on this planet.
  • Seeing only what I have not yet done (or become) comes from scarcity and insecurity. Continually looking at my life (and self) with gratitude comes from trust and abundance and helps me feel whole.

Certainly there will be moments when I choose to live in fast-forward. I still have a lot I want to get done. But I believe that life can be not only more pleasurable but meaningful if I take it slowly and deliberately. So this is my New Year’s resolution, to ease up on the accelerator in order to find my own rhythm and move at a natural rather than forced pace.

The Benefits of Slower is Faster

In short, going slower will allow me to:

  • Be more mindful, deliberate, and present
  • Remain centered, grounded, and whole
  • Feel less harried and anxious
  • Savor life’s little moments
  • Focus my full attention and energy on the task at hand
  • Act more efficiently
  • Soften my rigid expectations
  • Honor my feelings
  • Prioritize my relationships
  • Act on my deeper (higher) needs

I know that learning to slow down in our fast-moving world will take conscious awareness and practice. But I also believe it will help me live from my deepest values and higher self. Indeed, I hope to look back on what I have done and, more importantly, become by the end of next year, knowing that slower is faster.

I’m interested in your thoughts.

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  1. Jan Mayer

    Thanks, Roger! Have you noticed that no one likes aging? Your thoughts provide a plan for being content with the inevitable slowing down we all experience. Great suggestions for any age.
    We hope you and Judy are doing well! We’d love to see you if you get up this way.

    • Roger Allen

      Thank you Jan! Life is about adapting to the inevitable changes and challenges. I’m glad you liked some of my suggestions. We are doing well and hope to see you guys again sometime.

  2. Cody Loucks

    This was an excellent read – thank you for sharing! Timely and helpful in my goal setting for next year. It made me think of something we do in music practice. To develop mastery, you practice exercises very slow – 50 beats per minute. I wish I understood the psychology, but my experience has been that by practicing this way, somehow I can play that exercise very fast; but also my ability improves in all other areas of playing. It feels like the mind and muscle has time to digest fully what I want to learn, and adds it to my character.

    • Roger Allen

      This is a very helpful insight, Cody. I hadn’t realized that it helps to practice music exercises slowly. It makes sense to me that it gives your mind and muscle time to digest what you’re learning. I certainly find that going slowly at something helps me remain more focused in what I’m doing and not only enjoy it but calm myself in my doing or learning. It helps me get beneath any anxiety that can interfere with living. Thanks for your comment.

  3. SP

    Happy New Year Dr. Allen, received your latest article on Slower…Yes, I definitely plan on that especially as I approach 50 this year. I just had a wave w/in the past 4 mths. & upon entering 2024 slower, allocation of time most definitely.

    • Roger Allen

      Great! It sounds like a good move for you, SP.

  4. Matthew Bowen

    Wise words and a much-needed reminder! Last year, someone shared with me this song containing a similar theme and I haven’t been the same since then: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EFe84U__kt8 . I’ve listened to it occasionally to help me slow down and stay grounded. It’s worth all six minutes!

    • Roger Allen

      Nice, Matthew. Thanks for the comment and sharing this beautiful song.


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