If I were a psychologist, I would study what motivates people to take action. Something along the lines of “Why does someone – who has thought about exercising for years – finally get motivated to start going to the gym?” Or why does someone finally quit smoking? I would love to know what pushes someone over the edge of knowing something would be good for them to actually taking steps to make it happen.

I suppose the reason that I’ve thought about motivation – in between the usual logistical questions that occupy my brain such as “what are we going to have for dinner” and “when can I squeeze in a trip to Target” – is because in the month since we moved across the street, I have taken action about some of the small issues of life that have annoyed me for years, yet I could never find the motivation to do anything about them.

Let me give you an example: for probably the last five years, I’ve looked at the holes in the upholstery on the chairs of our kitchen table and thought, “That really looks bad. I wouldn’t want any guests to see that; I should really replace that fabric.” The reason the cushions were shredded in the first place was because the orange devil that we call Nigel, our cat, decided one day that he hated that blue plaid fabric and went after it with his claws.

I looked at those ugly cushions for years – but did I do anything about them? Nope – at least not until this weekend. All it took was a trip to JoAnn’s, $18 worth of fabric, a screwdriver and staple gun, and a couple of hours to cut and cover over the stained and slit seats. It made me so happy when the first thing that caught my eye in the room this morning was the fresh, red-and-white checked seat cushions.

If you could only see how bad they really were

So back to my original question of motivation. I can’t help but wonder about myself, what motivated me to finally take action to do something that I knew would make me feel better once I did it?

I don’t have a really good answer – the best I can come up with is that our move earlier this month to a better townhouse has shaken loose some of the stress that we lived under ever since the recession hit. Maybe I’m finally over the trauma of moving out of our house 18 months ago and ready to tackle making where we live feel like a home again. Pictures on the walls are next.