01/21/2014 12:13 EST | Updated 03/23/2014 05:59 EDT

The Key Ingredient Missing From Your Resolutions

There's a plague that comes as a part of new years resolutions, and I want to bring it to your attention.

What we are resolving to do, through one act or desire or another, is to be better versions of ourselves -- to expand into our potential. This is itself a magnificent aspiration: to dream, to desire, and to transform these ideals into concrete actions, calendared and actualized -- at least until the end of January.

For anyone who's reached a goal or manifested a dream, you know that it starts with figuring out what that dream or goal is. The rest is about applying your energy in the direction of your desire to make it happen. Running a 10k starts with a sweaty, breathless jog around the block; starting a business with a brainstorming session with your smartest friends and advisors; writing a book with opening the file and naming it.

It's the missing ingredient that leaves us with the silent plague. It carries over from year to year, spreads throughout communities, and keeps us from ever realizing the full effect of our dreams and desires. It's the plague of the-grass-is-greener. Of "I will be happy when..." or "life will be better when..." or even "I will start taking care of my health when...". Aspiration is what has inspired humans back into the far reaches of history. Perhaps that mixed with a hearty dose of desperation. But it is not what has made them happy, and let's face it, that is what you're going for when you goal-set or dream. A happier, shinier version of your current life. Or maybe another life entirely.

So let me make this part easy, because I am positive that missing out on it is getting in the way of who you are meant to be and what life you can create for yourself. Start with gratitude for where you are now. Right now. Regardless of aspiration, without a well-flexed gratitude muscle, you will never find that magic spot of satiation and delight with your life. I write in absolute terms because we face an epidemic lack of acknowledgement of the riches we enjoy in our lives right now, regardless of circumstance.

Going for your first 10k race this year? Start by thanking your legs for carrying you, your running shoes, that friend who made you go for that first run, the break-up that made you feel lousy enough to give it a try.

Time to transition to a new job? Start by getting really detailed about what you are grateful for with your current one. That boss who, while generally a dingbat, has made you hone your powerpoint skills to perfection. The paycheque that has whet your appetite for a bigger one. The podcasts you've listened to solely because of your commute. Dig deep.

Starting a new venture? Take stock of every circumstance and inspiration that brought you to the point of invention.

Want to lose weight? Thank every ounce of your body for the ways that it serves you: protection, warning, pleasure, convenience. Thank you belly fat, for alerting me to the effects of wheat in my body! Thank you, extra layer of tush for protecting me from the very chilly winter we've been having.

The fear is not that we will never actualize our dreams. We had a man on the moon! It is that we will seek and seek and never find, when all the while the epicenter of happiness was right here.