Sadly, those who are closest to us suffer the most when we fail to take care of ourselves. Our children become the ones we inadvertently snap at when stretched past our limits. Our spouses are the last ones to get our time when we are overwhelmed. When your time management priorities get askew, you can become a stranger in your own home because even when you are there, you don't have anything left to give.

I know this because I did this to my family. If you in danger of neglecting your family, I urge you to read this entire post even though it's long. I want you to see both the damage and the beauty that can occur depending on how well you manage your priorities.

Let's roll back the clock...

Almost 20 years ago, my daughter Ruth was a beautiful blond three year old. I was a young associate pastor working in a mid to large sized church in a small Indiana town. I had a hand in everything - Kiwani's, youth ministry, preaching, Sunday school, Habitat for Humanity, summer camp, community activities, etc. When you are twenty something and a people pleaser you think you can do it all. So you do.

I found myself burning my candle at both ends and in the middle too. I knew I was too busy, but frankly, I wore my busyness as a badge of honor. Trust me, there is no glory in that badge. I remember vividly the moment I discovered this harsh truth.

Late one evening I stopped by the church to get something. Ruth was with me. As we stood at the back door in the dark I fumbled with my keys in one hand and Ruth's hand in my other. Ruth innocently asked me, "Daddy, do you live here?"

Shock, pain, and guilt descended on me as I heard that question. What was I thinking? Where were my priorities? How had I gotten so far off track? I didn't have answers, but I immediately took a life course correction. All I could think was, "I am so sorry Ruth. I will change."

Fortunately, I learned and adjusted. Now I am blessed to have amazing relationships with my kids. My daughter doesn't really remember anything other than a fun loving father.

That was then, this is now...

One month ago, I visited my mother. She lives in the St. Louis area nine hours from me. She is 85 years old and losing her independence. She still lives at home with my older brother but is for the most part wheelchair bound. Her opportunities to go out are limited.

When I am home, we eat out as much possible. She really enjoys eating out. One afternoon as we headed home from enjoying lunch at one of her favorite restaurants, I mentioned I would love to take my kids to the St. Louis Zoo. She commented, "It would be good to go before the weather gets bad."

I got the impression from her comment she might enjoy going to zoo. Then, I thought, heck, why not just do it? Go right now. So, I asked her if she would like to go. She did and we went.

We spent two and a half hours ambling around the St. Louis Zoo. We watched tigers together. Went through the monkey and reptile house. And, saw a ton of exotic animals from around the world.

I really wanted pictures together but my phone died just before we got to the zoo. So as we explored I poked my head in gift shop after gift shop praying one would still sell disposable cameras. I finally found a camera in the fourth shop.

Repeatedly, I coerced people walking by to take our picture together. As we ambled along my mom shared great memories that I had never heard before. For example, she and my dad were dirt poor and lived in an apartment in downtown St. Louis when they first got married. I knew that, but I didn't know they often visited the zoo for dates because it was free.

Later that evening, we perused old photos together. I scanned and labeled many to preserve them for our family. Serendipitously, I discovered pictures my parents had taken of me at the St. Louis Zoo as a young boy. (Yes, that buck-toothed little boy in the plaid shirt and denim short shorts circa 1975 is me) I can't wait develop pictures with my mom because I think we snapped some in exactly the places I stood forty years ago.

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At the end of the day as I tucked my mom into bed, I leaned over, kissed her on the forehead and said, "Today was a special day for me." She smiled back and said, "For me too."

This visit with my mom wasn't happenstance. At the beginning of 2016 I set a goal to see her at least six times during the year. My dad died the year before and I want as much time with her as I can get. This was my sixth visit.

I set that goal because if I have learned nothing else from The 7 Minute Life it is this --- No one else will make time for your priorities. You cannot wait or hope for time with family to happen. You must make the time happen. No one will do it for you.

You have a choice to make. It's a choice between whether you live your life saying, "I am sorry" or "Today was a special day for me." The choice you make now will determine the legacy you leave. Your choice will determine whether you have regrets or great memories, estranged relationship or tight bonds.

If you don't know where to start, I suggest two steps you could take today:

STEP 1: Attend the free webinar on Tuesday

Attend our free webinar, "Setting Life Goals: Creating Your Happiness and Legacy.The webinar is Tuesday, December 20, 11am. (CST) and led by Allyson Lewis. Without life goals you will be rudderless. Let Allyson help you step back and determine the big picture of your life.

I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet, but we will also being doing an amazing give away that we have never done before. Some lucky person is going to walk away from this webinar very pleased. I will tell you why soon.

REGISTER FOR THE FREE WEBINAR

STEP 2: Take advantage of our weekend $1 trial offer to join our upcoming master class.

You can enroll in our new 7 week master class, "Improve Your Life, 7 Weeks to Freedom, Passion, and Purpose" with an initial payment of just $1, but only if you enroll by Sunday at midnight.

You pay $1 for your first payment and have 30 days to try the program. If for any reason during that period you decide the program isn't for you, you can drop the class and will not be charged more. After 30 days you will be automatically billed $97 per month for 12 months. We've created this payment plan to hopefully make the class accessible to everyone.

This offer only applies to Standard Master Classes without out coaching and you must enroll by midnight, Sunday, December 18th to get the $1 trial.

Again, don't wait because the classes are filling up. Normally, everyone waits until the last minute, but we filled up about 1/3 of class in just the first couple of days. I guess the word has gotten out about how effective these classes are at helping people change their lives.

Master Class $1 Trial Offer - Click Here

Lastly, thank you for reading this email in full. Don't make the mistake I made of ignoring my priorities. Please do something today if you are in a danger zone of neglecting your family. Also, feel free to share this email with a friend if you are concerned that they are overextended.

All the best,

John Arnold

PS: Like my moment at the back door, this may be your moment to choose to change. Let us help you with a proven 7 week path to freedom, passion, and purpose.