It’s difficult to describe a room’s layout without showing an image — so if you’re really, really into following this column (which describes how the furniture in our living room is placed), you might want to draw a big “L” on a piece of paper. Then again, you probably aren’t that compulsive.
Anyway, a chocolate brown three-person couch comprises the vertical leg of the “L”. Perpendicular to it, forming the horizontal leg of the “L” is a recliner, with both facing the entertainment center, which would be by the top of the “L.”
Stick with me. It’ll all come together soon.
On either end of the couch is an end table, usually covered with the common odds and ends that collect over the day. You know, wallets, reading glasses, books, maybe a coffee cup or two.
The room has a picture window, which would be “below “the bottom of the “L” and behind the recliner. In front of said window, and behind the recliner, is a coffee table. That might seem a poor placement — unless cats reside in your house as they do at ours. Therefore, utilization of the table has been ceded to our two ginger felines who sit there, staring out at the street.
Okay, the stage is set. Here we go.
My wife and I sit on the couch to watch television.
I’m sure most couples — for that matter, most families — always sit in the same place. In our case, I without fail place myself at the “top of the L” while she sits on the other end of the couch. Motor, our younger cat, perches on the coffee table. Mini-Schnauzer Jack rests between the two of us on the couch.
Then there’s Tiger; our older cat, Alpha of the four-legged members of the family.
After everyone is settled, he makes his grand entrance, which he does exactly the same way night after night after night. Leaping upon the end table by me, he struts across my legs, skirts Jack (periodically slapping his tail in the dog’s face), climbs over my wife, over the other table (scattering what might be in his path), leaping on to — and over — the recliner, and finally commandeering the coffee table, forcing hapless Motor to flee.
We’ve never understood why he doesn’t just go direct to the coffee table. But, then, he probably wonders why we don’t walk on the couch. Different strokes and all…
The other night, not meaning to cause any problems, I sat on the recliner.
Motor fled the room completely. Although Jack remained next to my wife, as per usual, he could not settle down; glancing restlessly forth and back at me on the recliner and then toward the space I usually occupy.
Finally, Tiger arrived, first surveying his kingdom, and preparing for his pattern. He looked where I usually sit, then spotted me in a different location. Next he studied my wife; repeating this cycle for no short time. Finally, after several moments, ignoring his standard pattern, he leaped directly on to the coffee table, bypassing the entire standard regimen.
We didn’t need to buy new furniture, or even rearrange it to cause this cosmic cascade in animal behavior changes. All that was necessary was a simple relocation of four feet, from one chair to another. That insignificant variation triggered a ripple effect; causing everyone else to change, especially Tiger.
It was an appropriate reminder that it doesn’t take much to change a habit; all that’s required is to move your butt.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a motivational productivity expert and weight loss speaker. He is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com and founder of 21DayHabitChange.com, guaranteed to help you change a habit in just 3 weeks. He can be reached at 707.442.6243, firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/ThisTimeIMeanIt.