By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

As a coach, counselor and interventionist I am extremely passionate about helping my clients have long term, healthy change in their behaviors and their lifestyles. So many folks have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight, quit smoking, stop abusing drugs or alcohol, or other unhealthy behaviors. Some have short term success but very few have long term success.

Here are Five Keys to Making Changes That Last that I use with my clients and encourage you to use in your life.

1. Realistic Expectations–The first key to making changes that last is to have realistic expectations or goals. If we set unrealistic, unattainable goals, then we set ourselves up for failure, disappointment and eventually giving up.

It’s much better to set ourselves up for success by using SMART Goals. Smart Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Click here for more info on how to set SMART Goals.

If we keep it real, then we can make it happen!

2. Internal Motivation–Motivation is the activation of goal oriented behavior and is either intrinsic (internal-coming from inside) or extrinsic (external–coming from outside).

Doing an intervention is a form of external motivation that can help save someone’s life when drug or alcohol use is out of control. But for lasting change, at some point the person will need to find some internal motivation. This is because intrinsic, or internal, motivation is much more powerful for lasting behavioral change.

For optimal internal motivation towards achieving a healthy goal one must truly value the benefit of the goal or lifestyle change, have self-confidence in the ability to achieve the goal, and be in the appropriate social settingfor achieving the goal.

To value the goal it can be helpful to write out lists or reasons why the goal is important to you. It can also be very helpful to visualize achieving the goal.

To increase self-confidence it can be helpful to have a coach, counselor or sponsor on board to help give tools and encouragement that continually build self-confidence.

To maintain a healthy social setting we must remove triggers from our environment. This may even mean entering a treatment program for a more structured, healthy environment for a period of time. It also means having good stimulus control which is removing unhealthy triggers (such as foods, drugs, alcohol) from the environment.

3. Core Skills–These are the skills needed to help you make changes that last. It’s not about willpower, which can often fail us, especially if we get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT).

Core skills include the abilities to honestly observe and evaluate ourselves, then react and respond accordingly. For example, giving ourselves a form of reward or punishment based on how well we’re sticking to our goal plan.

Core skills also include daily disciplines, stress coping strategies and self care. As a coach I emphasize these skills in every session with my clients!

4. Action Plans–The action plan includes all the elements of the SMART Goals–that we have a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely goal in place. The action plan has a start date, a deadline, and a list of resources needed for success.

The action plan should also include regular assessments and consultations with one’s coach, counselor, and/or physician. Ironically, having structure can actually give us freedom from unhealthy impulses.

5. Social Support–Who’s in your tribe? Jim Rohn once said, “We become the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. To make lasting change we need to set boundaries with unhealthy influences in our life. This may mean terminating unhealthy relationships and deleting contacts from our phone. If you want a new, healthy life, then you will need some new, healthy friends!

When you assess and change your social circle, it is important to let your circle know about your new goals and values so they can support you on your journey to success. Healthy lives happen in healthy community!

So there you have it–the Five Keys to Making Lasting Change–Realistic Expectations, Internal Motivation, Core Skills, Action Plans, and Social Support. Put these keys into action and they will unlock the healthy lifestyle that will help you be the very best version of yourself!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

For info on counseling, coaching or interventions please contact me at or 949-303-8264, 0r visit my websites and

About Randy Moraitis
Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)

Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Newsweek Magazine once said about coaches that “They’re part therapist, part consultant–and they sure know how to succeed in business”. While there is truth to this statement, many important differences do exist between coaching and therapy.

Here are the Top Ten Differences Between Life Coaching and Therapy:

1. Coaching is about achievement; therapy is about healing.

If you want to set and achieve goals to move you forward in life, then you need a coach. If you have past hurts that you have not yet processed through, then you need a therapist.

2. Coaching is about action; therapy is about understanding

I recently had a client say that she got more out of one coaching session than months spent with a therapist and a psychologist. This may be due to the fact that I assessed her current situation, then gave her specific action steps to move her towards healthier behaviors, and held her accountable to take the action steps.

3. Coaching is about transformation; therapy is about change.

A good coach seeks to guide the client through a transformation in one or more areas of life including career, relationships, emotional wellness, finances, addiction recovery, spiritual life, and physical health and wellness.

4. Coaching is about momentum; therapy is about safety.

Every coaching session should result in specific action steps to move the client closer towards their goals. A momentum is then developed that keeps the client progressing towards the results they seek.

5. Coaching is about intuition; therapy is about feelings.

A coach is more interested in your behavioral choices than your feelings. A good coach will sense how to inspire and motivate you to be the best version of you.

6. Coaching is about joy; therapy is about happiness.

Joy is internal and may derive from one’s beliefs and accomplishments. Happiness is external, future oriented, and can rely on outside situations, events, or people. Coaches often find that their clients have profound joy from their new way of thinking and the goals they have accomplished.

7. Coaching is about performance, therapy is about progress.

The coaching relationship is typically much shorter than the therapy relationship and during this time the coach seeks to motivate peak performance from the client.

Often the coach’s job is to guide their client to a win. For example, I recently coached the director of a large organization through the termination of a toxic employee. The client said hiring a coach was “the best money the organization ever spent”. The client was guided through performing a difficult task the best way possible. The client had a peak performance, and now the entire organization is performing better.

8. Coaching is about synchronicity; therapy is about timing.

In the initial coaching sessions an assessment is performed on various aspects of the client’s life to not only assess current satisfaction levels, but also look for patterns. Later coaching sessions may assess the client’s values, past experiences, and talents or gifting to determine whether there is a common thread or possible synchronicity.

9. Coaching is about attraction; therapy is about protection.

Coaching leads clients into new ways of thinking and behaving that result in the achievement of goals and success.

Some individuals are not quite ready for coaching. They may need to seek treatment from a therapist to build a strong and healthy foundation where they can protect themselves emotionally before working with a coach.

10. Coaching is about creating; therapy is about resolving.

Coaching is about creating a new and exciting future through setting and achieving goals. I often tell clients, “your dream job doesn’t exist–you have to create it!” Coaching looks to the future, often through the coach asking the client a series of thought provoking questions.

Therapy is about resolving–trauma, conflict, past hurts, etc. Therapy is excellent for resolving issues from one’s past.

Hopefully this sheds some light on some of the differences between Life Coaching and Therapy. Both are great tools to help individuals, families, and organizations be healthier, happier lives and more successful.

For more information on coaching, or a referral to a great therapist, please email You can also visit my websites and

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

What’s your superpower? No, really, what is it? Your first thought may be that you don’t have one–that real people don’t have superpowers!

But I encourage you to give the idea of a superpower a little more thought.

My theory is that many of us have superpowers without even realizing it.

But probably not the kind of superpower you think. I’m not talking about the ability to fly, super human strength, or x-ray vision. Although having those powers would be fun!

I am talking about superpowers that can enable us to accomplish impressive feats that, on first glance, may not seem like a superpower at all.

You see, there is great power in overcoming adversity. And there are many examples of folks who have overcome adversity and used that experience as a superpower to achieve success.

For example, did you know that Richard Branson, the billionaire founder and chairman of The Virgin Group, credits dyslexia for his success. Branson says he used dyslexia to his advantage and learned to delegate tasks to others so he could focus on the big picture.

Brandon’s not alone. Tom Cruise, Jay Leno, and Cher, just to name a few others, also had dyslexia. These superstars have all overcome their learning disability and have been empowered by the experience.

Another example of someone tapping into their superpower is renowned psychiatrist Paul Meier, MD. Dr. Meier was diagnosed with ADHD. But he never let that stop him from achieving his goals. On the contrary, Dr. Meier actually credits much of his success to his ADHD as he claims to have leveraged the ADHD to increase his accomplishments–which are many (co-founder of clinics, author of numerous books, multiple masters degrees in addition to his medical degree).

How about you? What have you overcome?

  • Addiction
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Learning Disability

If you have overcome any of the above, then I truly believe that you have a superpower! Perhaps your have the superpower of compassion, or focus, or patience, or tenacity.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to have a superpower. In my roles working with those impacted by mental health and addiction issues I encounter folks with amazing superpowers everyday. True everyday heroes!

I encourage you–take a moment right now to look inside and tap into your superpower–your inner-superhero. Then consider how you may use it for your success, and like a true superhero–for helping others.

About Randy Moraitis: I am a pastor, counselor, lifecoach, interventionist and consultant living in Orange County. I am also the president of the nonprofit foundation CarePossible which provides mental health and addiction care to low income and military families. My wife Kim and I have a blended family of five and have the superpowers to prove it! Contact me at Websites: and