Threshold refers to the line that needs to be crossed for change to take place, in coaching terms if a client hasn’t reached or will commit to breach their threshold they won’t follow through and take action to make the life changes that they need to make.

A threshold can be a real step or a mental decision that needs to be made,
it can take time or it can be instant, the sad fact is a threshold can also be crossed too late, in my line of work I see many patients who have finally reached their threshold and decided to stop smoking, but alas only when they are on long term oxygen or have a diagnosis of lung cancer.

Crossing that threshold is the most important point of the change process, a therapist can help but it’s you that must push yourself to make the changes you need.

Change has to come from within, if we are desperate enough we will push ourselves over the threshold, if we are inspired we will pull ourselves forward over the threshold and with hard work and a bit of perspiration we can also doggedly push past any barrier that falls in our way.

1. Get the ball Rolling.

Sometimes threshold is crossed mealy by starting what you need to do, and once you get going you build momentum to succeed, here procrastination is the big enemy and the old doctrine of ‘the first step is the hardest’ rings true. You just need to decide here that YOU have to do it and it has to be NOW, besides once you get started you are much more likely to keep going (this is called the Ziegarnik effect).

2. Identify the key steps.

Threshold is a specific step that must be made, this is not too dissimilar to chemical processes where in chemical reactions there is a step in some processes known as ‘the rate limiting step’ here this step needs to happen for any reaction or change to take place. In life by having positive goals and with good planning and perhaps a bit of coaching we can look at all of the important steps we need to make and identify any key steps to achieve effective change.

Identifying the key steps is all about preparation and setting yourself up to win. 

3. Put in the effort.

Sometimes a threshold is only crossed when there is enough ‘activation energy’, this energy in coaching terms refers to the amount of commitment, and action necessary for a threshold to be breached and for change to happen. Perhaps it’s worth trying to figure out whether you really do have the energy and commitment needed to get what you really want, in real terms you should ask yourself can you really commit to putting in the necessary effort.

4. The Mass Effect.

‘Taking massive action’ and by making a huge commitment will give you the momentum you need to keep on going that will tip you over the threshold and for change to happen. When was the last time you made a huge commitment in your life so big that nothing could stop you, great examples of massive action are; posting those applications, telling everyone you are going to do something, throwing all your junk food in the bin or entering that marathon you always wanted to do.

5. Improve your environment.

Just like trying to light a fire with soggy matches and wet logs, there’s time when even with the best intentions we fall flat, here for us to cross a threshold and ignite a fire we need to change the ‘conditions’ in order to decrease any resistance to change.

To cross your threshold perhaps you also need to look around you and let go of anything holding you back and by thinking about how you can make your life just a little easier if you do commit to change.


The threshold is the line you need to cross for something to happen, it’s the barrier that needs to be crossed, it’s that last step that off the plane before your parachute jump.

Experience has shown me only too well that coaching and therapy can act as a catalyst for change it can reduce the resistance to change, it can make the change process easier but what is needed every time is for your client or patient to reach that point when they decide that change must happen, when they decide that only they can do it, and when they decide that it has to be now, and this is when they cross their threshold.

‘a coach gets you to the start line but remember it’s YOU that runs the race’.