“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” ~Charles Swindoll

I’ve recently dealt with numerous challenges that range from the ridiculous to the life-threatening. I’ve had friends telling me they “can’t bear to hear any more” about illness, financial loss, and an array of physical and emotional accidents that have broken parts of me, but not all.

Every aspect of our lives can change: career, relationships, health, and beliefs. We have to make the most of every situation and here are a set of rules to keep us focused and to remind us that all will be well.

If you’re dealing with a challenging times, these guidelines may help you.

Rule 1: Assert your goals.

When everything seems to have fallen apart, realize you still have options, and then assert exactly what you want for yourself.

I want to live my life using my natural gifts. I want to create, write, teach, paint, and inspire, and to use my skills to generate the energy to live and love well. I’m working toward my goals, but I understand they might not all come to fruition. If things don’t pan out exactly as I hope, I know I can deal with it positively.

Give myself a break, discuss it with a friend, and do whatever you need to do to get clarity, and then you’ll re-assess.

Where are your instincts guiding you? Assert it to yourself, the people who support you, and the world.

This is the first step in creating a life you’ll feel passionate about.

Rule 2: Focus on everything that’s working.

Don’t dwell on everything you think your life lacks. Instead, pay attention to what’s going right.

I have the life that I want: I write every day. I take risks. I seek opportunities to use my skills. I’m sowing the seeds. Other people might not recognize the abundance in my life because on the surface, I have challenges—but I recognize it.

You use your natural gifts and enable all that you have to grow, strengthen, and come in to light. Focusing on lack is not an option. Negativity is not constructive. The important thing is that I know what I want and I can make it happen.

We don’t have to live in the shadow of what could have been.

Rule 3: Take action.

“Do all that you can do in a day.” Simple and pro-active. You repeat this to yourself during highs and lows.

This doesn’t mean setting unrealistic expectations about what you can accomplish in a day, and ultimately feeling dissatisfied. It means using the time you have well—and more effectively with each passing day.

You’ll find it helpful to start the day with a prioritized to-do list, and aim to complete at least five important tasks each day.

Rule 4: Create balance.

Do something for your mind, body, and soul every day. Read, solve a puzzle, or learn another language. Get air, light, and space; walk, run, dance, stretch. Meditate, listen to soothing music, and laugh with friends. Attend to all of yourself on a daily basis.

Take time to do things just for you, whether it’s going to a gallery or singing loudly. Make time to do things for people you love. And leave a little time to do something for the universe.

Give and enjoy it. Remember in the times when we feel that we have very little, we can still give in some way. You’ll feel better for it.

Rule 5: Embrace fear.

Do something you fear every day. It can be as small as phoning someone you don’t want to talk to or as big as speaking in front of a crowd. Let that fear become a positive energy that moves you forward.

Be bold. You are capable. You are brave. Don’t allow other people’s fear to bog you down, and if it does then find a way of letting it go.

Don’t hold onto fear.

Rule 6: Release.

If you feel restricted then ask yourself in what way.

Explore what you can do to change the situation, and see who or what might be able to aide you.  Sometimes letting go and redirecting your attention elsewhere can be the most useful action to take.

Seek. Ask. Share.

Rule 7: Practice Gratitude.

Look back on your day and highlight five things that made it brighter—people, treats, realizations.

If it’s been a testing day do a Gratitude A-Z. Write something for every letter and see how you feel after you look back on twenty-six things you’re grateful for.

Remember to thank the people who have supported you.

Rule 8: Improve on yesterday.

Do something that will make today better than what’s come before.

What do you feel you missed out on? Can you do something about that now? Yes? Do it! Re-affirm verbally, physically, mentally, creatively, and socially all that you have and energize it so that it continues to develop.

Present tense and positive communication leads to progress.

Rule 9: Don’t give up.

You might stumble but know that you’ll be okay as long as you learn, act, and remember that you already have all that you need.

I have felt guilty, desperate and exhausted. We all do sometimes. But I know it’s getting better. I also know that my present experience will ultimately enrich my life.

Live in the now. View yourself as other positive people view you. Recognize what you’re doing well,