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5 Stages of Grief

greif

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

I recently lost a very dear friend to an unexpected and sudden death and have naturally been grieving her passing. I also currently happen to have several clients that I am counseling and coaching through seasons of grief. So this seems like an appropriate time to share about the 5 stages of grief.

We can experience grief with any type of serious loss. In addiction to the death of a loved one, we may experience grief from divorce, a hard break-up, even from getting fired from a job we liked.

We all deal with grief in different ways. Some may cry for days on end and completely neglect their own self care. Others may even laugh because they cope with pain using humor. While still others may just feel totally numb–perhaps even judging themselves for not crying or laughing like other people.

There is no right way to grieve. Grieving styles vary from person to person and culture to culture.

The most well known model of grief is from Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and is well known as The 5 Stages of Grief. Here are the stages in order, but remember, someone who is grieving may go through these stages in any order, and may even return to previous stages.

1. DENIAL–This is where a person may say, “This can’t be happening.” They can refuse to accept the hard fact that a loss has occurred. They may minimize or outright deny the situation. It is suggested that loved ones and professionals be forward and honest about losses to not prolong the denial stage.

2. ANGER“Why is this happening to me?” When an individual realizes that a loss has occurred, they may become angry at themselves or others. They may argue that the situation is unfair and try to place blame. They may be angry at God, at another person, or even at themselves.

3. BARGAINING“I will do anything to change this.” In bargaining, the person may try to change or delay their loss. For example, they may try to convince a partner to return after a breakup, or search for unlikely cures in the case of a terminal illness. They may even try to bargain with God.

4. DEPRESSION“What’s the point of going on after this loss?” At the stage of depression the individual has come to recognize that a loss has occurred or will occur. The individual may isolate themselves and spend time crying and grieving. They may have trouble sleeping, lose focus at work or school, or lose bodyweight. The good news about this stage is that depression is a precursor to acceptance because the individual has come to recognize their loss.

5. ACCEPTANCE “It’s going to be okay.” Finally, the individual will come to accept their loss. They understand the situation logically, and they have come to terms emotionally with the situation. At this point the person is more able to move on with their life.

If you are currently experience grief of any sort, I strongly encourage you to seek support. Even though you may feel like isolating, processing through your grief with wise and healthy support is highly recommended and may actually reduce the length of your grieving process.

Many hospitals and churches offer free grief support groups. There are also many wise counselors and therapists who can help you process your grief in a healthy way. Be sure to ask if they have experience with grief recovery. There is also an organization called GriefShare that can help you find local grief support groups. You can also sign up for a daily encouraging email on their website: https://www.griefshare.org/.

Special thanks to GriefShare and TherapistsAid for info used in this post.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Call me at 949-303-8264
Email:       randy@randymoraitis.com
Websites:  www.carepossible.comwww.randymoraitis.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RandyMoraitisCoach/
Twitter:     @rmoraitis

About Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC, CIP

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 and individuals affected by addiction and/or mental health issues through counseling, coaching and interventions. 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 leading groups, individuals and families to mental, physical and spiritual healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

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Refresh Your Life

refresh your life

As a counselor, coach and interventionist I am passionate about moving people in a healthy direction in every area of their lives. Here is a fun and easy tool for you to quickly assess how you’re doing and come up with some action items. So grab a pen and piece of paper and take a few minutes to Refresh Your Life– you are worth it!

Now that you’ve made your list, the final step is to enter your action items into your calendar so you are sure to follow through!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or what one of your action items are.

Call me at 949-303-8264 or email me at randy@randymoraitis.com
Websites:
www.carepossible.com,
www.randymoraitis.com
Facebook: facebook.com/RandyMoraitisCoach
Twitter:     @rmoraitis

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 and individuals 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.

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Top Daily Habits of the Ultra Successful

Habits of Highly SuccessfulAs a counselor, coach and interventionist I am fascinated by the habits and disciplines that help people live healthy and successful lives. That is why I just love this infographic that I found on success.com. Here is a link to their original post: 13 Daily Habits of Highly Successful People.

The bottom line is that one is wise to have a disciplined and focused daily schedule, be a lifelong learner, exercise regularly, and maintain a positive mental attitude

What works for you? Is there anything you would add to the list?

I would love to hear your comments!

Call me at 949-303-8264 or email me at randy@randymoraitis.com
Websites:  www.carepossible.comwww.randymoraitis.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RandyMoraitisCoach/
Twitter:     @rmoraitis

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 and individuals 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.

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I Exercised Everyday for One Year–What Did I Learn?

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

At the beginning of last year I set a goal to exercise everyday in 2016. I am happy to report that I achieved that goal and I learned a few things along the way that I would like to share with you.

There were two main reasons I initially made the goal. First, I wanted to set a good example for all of my counseling and coaching clients. My system of counseling and coaching includes a strong emphasis on health and wellness and I wanted to ensure that I was practicing what I was preaching!

Second, I have three little grandkids that I adore and I want to not only have tons of energy to play with them, but also be around for many years to see them grow up. Being physically fit gives me the best chance at accomplishing both of these intentions.

In order to stay healthy and avoid any overuse injuries I did a wide variety of fitness activities and workouts. This allowed adequate recovery time for any soreness from a particular workout and it also prevented any boredom from setting in.

The workouts I did included weight training, cardio (elliptical and stationary bike), kettle bells, martial arts, and walking. I also did yoga everyday–several days per week at a studio (You and the Mat) and other days at home. I kept a daily fitness log to track my training and ensure I was having a balanced approach.

Here’s what I learned from my yearlong exercise journey:

1. Mornings Are Best–By exercising in the morning I ensured that nothing and no one could chip away at my workout time. This meant getting up a little earlier, but it was totally worth it. When we work out later in the day there are so many things–work, family, emergencies– that can pop up and take away from our workout time. Get the workout done first thing in the morning–and if you have extra time in the afternoon or evening you can actually do another workout if you like. That’s what I did!

2. Weight Loss is More About What You Eat–If your goal is to lose weight (reduce bodyfat), then exercise is a great adjunct to that goal, but the amount and type of calories that you take in is very important. During my year of daily exercise I lost a total of 10 pounds. My fitness routine inspired me to eat healthy 90% of the time, but I still enjoyed treats on holidays and special occasions without worry because I knew I was working out so much. If my goal had been solely focused on the weight loss I would have had a stricter diet.

3. Physical Fitness is Good For Your Health–During this year of exercise I had fewer colds, flu or other sickness than any year I can remember. And the couple of times I felt like I was coming down with a cold, the sickness had a much shorter duration than previous years.

4. Exercise is a Great Stress Reducer–I have a very busy schedule. I am in private practice doing counseling, coaching and interventions, I run the nonprofit foundation CarePossible, and I lead the recovery program Lifelines that meets Fridays at The Crossing Church. Each of these pursuits means I am often dealing with individuals or families in crisis which can be stressful. Gratefully, the regular exercise leaves me feeling calm and relaxed everyday, even in the midst of stressful situations. If you are stressed out, I encourage you to add regular exercise to your routine!

5. Exercise Provides Opportunities for Other Healthy Growth–I love a good win/win situation and fitness activities provide a lot of opportunities for win/wins. While on cardio machines you can read books or watch TED Talks, while walking outdoors you can listen to audiobooks or lectures from The Great Courses, while taking fitness or yoga classes you can make friends and get healthy social support and connectivity.

Bottom Line–Regular exercise is great for both your mind and your body in so many ways. So, no excuses! If a busy, old guy like me can workout every day for a year, then you can work out at least a few times per week. I urge you to make this a year of health and fitness so you can reap all the rewards of a fitness lifestyle. If you need help getting started I love to do wellness coaching and would be honored to work with you. And will I exercise everyday in 2017? I’m not sure, but I haven’t missed a day yet!

Call me at 949-303-8264 or email me at randy@randymoraitis.com.
Websites: www.carepossible.comwww.randymoraitis.com.

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 and individuals 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.
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SMART Goals for Your Best Year Ever!

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

So the New Year has begun and most everyone is ready to go back to school or back to work. While on holiday break perhaps you had a resolution or two pop into your head. Or a thought about something you’d like to accomplish in the new year. But you’re already back to the grind and not really sure if you’ll really make your resolutions and goals come true.

Here are a few tips to help you make your resolutions a reality, to achieve your goals, and to make this year your best year ever. Everybody needs some coaching, even the highest level professional athletes and top level executives, so here is some coaching for you on how to achieve your goals.

Whatever it is that you’d like to accomplish this year, use the acronym SMART to help you shape and define your goals so that you have a much greater chance of achieving them.

S—Specific—Who, what, where, when, why! Goals should be written out in very specific terms. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight this year” or “I want to read more this year”, one should say, “I will lose 20 pounds this year” or “I will read one book per month this year”. By having a specific target we know exactly what to aim at.

M—Measurable—From and to! When setting a goal, how will you measure your progress? If weight loss is the goal, the obvious way to measure is with a scale. But some goals are more complex—like healing relationships or growing spiritually. Determine in advance how you will know you are accomplishing your goal.

A—Attainable—How will you accomplish the goal? It is really great to dream big and to stretch oneself, but it is important to set goals that are realistic and attainable. Is it realistic for you to lose 20 pounds a month or to earn ten million dollars in the new year? Setting unattainable goals really does more harm than good. Dream big, but keep it real!

R—Relevant—Is the goal worthwhile? Ask the question of whether the goal is really relevant in your life. Say I set a goal to ride a motorcycle across the country this year. While this would be a fun and memorable experience, the amount of time and energy it would take is not relevant or worthwhile at this stage of my life. Make sure your goals are relevant to your life, your family, and your career.

T—Time Based—When will you accomplish the goal? It has been said that a goal is a dream with a deadline. A goal must have a specific time frame in which it will be achieved. People work better with deadlines—goals do, too. Instead of saying “I will lose 20 pounds this year”, say “I will lose 20 pounds by May 1st”. Set your deadline to increase your chances of success!

Here is an example of a goal that meets all the SMART criteria:

“I will lose ten pounds by March 1st through exercising five days per week and limiting my daily calorie intake to 2000 or less.”

What is one SMART goal you have for 2017?

I’d love to coach you to set and achieve your goals and make this year your best year ever! You can contact me at 949-303-8264 or randy@randymoraitis.com for a free consultation. Websites: www.carepossible.comwww.randymoraitis.com.

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.

5 Tips to Stay Sober During the Holidays

5 tips to stay sober during the holidays

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Sober Holidays Tip #1: Take it easy! Get plenty of rest, watch what you eat, get your usual exercise, and take time for meditation. Maintain your recovery routine as much as possible.

Sober Holidays Tip #2  Don’t romance the drink or drug. If everyone starts talking about the “good old days,” leave the room. You don’t want to start thinking about your drinking or using days. That can lead to preoccupation and obsession, and then to cravings. Keep your focus on your life right now, your life in recovery.

Sober Holidays Tip #3  Be very careful about what you eat and drink. Alcohol doesn’t come only in a glass or a bottle. It can come in bowls and plates, too. And what you don’t know can hurt you. One reason, of course, is that even a small amount of alcohol can trigger a relapse. How much does it take? A tiny drop? A small glass? There is no definitive answer, so it’s best to avoid all alcohol and keep your risk as low as possible. Another reason is the psychological risk: the taste plus the “thrill” of knowing that you’re consuming alcohol could turn on a compulsion to drink. Remember, the addiction is in the person, not the substance; it’s critical to stay away from that slippery slope of guessing what might be risky for you.

Sober Holidays Tip #4 Practice TAMERS every day. Don’t let up on your brain healing activities. Practice TAMERS every day:

  • Think about recovery, Talk about recovery.
  • Act on recovery, connect with others.
  • Meditate and Minimize stress.
  • Exercise and Eat well.
  • Relax
  • Sleep

Sober Holidays Tip #5  It’s okay to tell people you are now in recovery. There is a lot less stigma these days to being in recovery. Nearly everyone knows someone who is in recovery and very open about it. It’s your choice whether or not you want to tell people. One good reason to be open about it: If your friends don’t know you’ve given up alcohol, they may lead you into temptation without intending to. Another reason: When you let it be known that you don’t drink, you offer support and encouragement to others who are thinking about sobriety but are afraid to take the leap. You just might be the catalyst that gets someone else started on recovery.

The above tips are from “The Recovery Book” by Al J. Mooney, MD, Catherine Dold and Howard Eisenberg which is a great resource for anyone in recovery or with a loved one in recovery.

As a counselor, coach and interventionist I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. My email is randy@randymoraitis.com and my phone is 949-303-8264. Websites: www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

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.

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How Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Affect Health

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs, are adverse or traumatic childhood experiences that damage a child’s developing brain in such a way that the effects can show up years later. ACES can cause chronic disease, mental illness and other serious issues.

“ACEs” comes from the CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study which showed that childhood trauma leads to the onset of adult of chronic diseases, depression and other mental illness, violence and being the victim of violence.

The ACE study has published 70 research papers and hundreds more research papers have been published based on the ACE study.

The researchers measured these 10 ACEs:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • A family member who is depressed or diagnosed with other mental illness
  • A family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • A family member in prison
  • Witnessing a mother being abused
  • Losing a parent to separation, divorce or other reason

The ACEs study is extremely significant because ACEs cause chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease, as well as mental illness and violence.

Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH did an amazing TedTalk on this issue which I highly recommend. Here is a link: TedTalk on ACEs.

As a counselor, coach and interventionist I find this research extremely interesting and helpful in understanding my clients. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. My email is randy@randymoraitis.com and my phone is 949-303-8264.

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.

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Social Support and Health

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Our social support system is truly a key factor in both our mental and physical health. Having a lot of friends on Facebook may be fun, but it is not a true social support system. Here is a quick look at what social support is, and why it is so important.

What is Social Support?

Definition of social support: social support is the perception and actuality that one is cared for, has assistance available from other people, and is part of a supportive social network.

There are four different types of social support, and each of these is very important. As you’re thinking about the health of your social support network, you want to think about the structure, but you also need to determine whether or not you have all four kinds of these supports readily available.

The first kind of support is emotional support. This is where you have someone who will listen to you and will give you a shoulder to cry on. We need those emotional support providers.

The second kind of support is informational support. Sometimes we need someone to bounce ideas off of or we need people to provide us with advice about our situation.

The third type of support is tangible, or practical, support. This is someone who might not be skilled emotional support or who might not be a good problem solver or advice giver, but they can at least help you cook dinner or do some chores or tasks.

The fourth type of support is companionship or belonging support. Feeling isolated is difficult and unhealthy. In this type of support this isn’t the individual that you necessarily tell all of your problems to, but it is someone who is willing and able to spend time with you. This is that person who calls for no reason, and you feel connected.

Social Support and Our Health

Numerous studies link our social support systems to our mental and physical health. When you think about it, it seems obvious that our social networks—the people we spend the most time with—strongly influence our behaviors. Behaviors with long term consequences like smoking, diet, and exercise.

Research shows that lower social support is related to greater cognitive impairment and disability in adults. Conversely, strong social support equals a much better chance of survival after a heart attack as well as lower mortality risk among women with breast cancer. In addition, during pregnancy, greater social support is linked to fewer labor complications and better birth outcomes.

Conclusion

Take a moment to honestly assess your current social support system. If you do not have people in your life that can provide emotional, informational, practical and companionship support then perhaps it’s time to get out there and join a support group, club, church, or class where you can connect with healthy people. My goal as a coach, counselor and interventionist is to help people be the healthiest version of themselves. You can only be your best with a strong social support system.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. My email is randy@randymoraitis.com. My websites are www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.com.

Special thanks to the work of Jason M. Satterfield, PhD for info in this post.

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Coping With Job Stress–Do You Have a Gas Tank or Solar Panels?

stress

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Job stress is both a real and a growing problem. Current research shows that 30% of U.S. workers are often or always under a lot of stress at work.

People who have a high level of occupational stress have up to three times the rate of back pain–usually lower back pain. Research also shows that high job stress doubles the risk of death from heart disease and was associated with increased cholesterol and body mass index. So it’s a big problem affecting millions of people and needs a solution.

One way to help combat job stress and prevent burnout is to do some perspective shifting, so let’s give it a try.

Start by making a decision about whether you have a gas tank or you have solar panels.

Gas Tank Mindset  

Imagine a person goes to work tomorrow and has a very busy day. They start the day dealing with their first task, it’s challenging but they succeed. This burns a little fuel from their gas tank. As the day progresses they deal with multiple issues, problems and tasks, each draining more fuel from their tank.

By the end of the long, hard work day they’ve completed all of their tasks and duties, but now their gas tank is empty and they’re exhausted. So they go home to their family exhausted.

Solar Panel Mindset 

 
The second option is to imagine a person going to the same workplace. They also start the day dealing with challenging tasks and duties. And they continue to have challenging tasks throughout the day. But they have the perspective that they are blessed to have a job, and privileged to have skills and talents, that can contribute to helping others and making a difference in someone else’s life.

In that moment where they focus on the privilege of connecting with others and making a difference, the thought radiates on their solar panels and they feel charged. They carry this perspective throughout the day and by the end of the work day they may be physically tired but their soul feels charged. And that’s what they take home to their family.

So you decide. Do you have a gas tank or solar panels?

I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences with job stress. Email me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Websites: www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

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.

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5 Keys to Making Changes That Last

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 randy@randymoraitis.com or 949-303-8264, 0r visit my websites www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

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.