The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Diary 2023


Designed for anyone seeking to live authentically, especially those engaged or interested in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the ACT Diary is a companion and guide for identifying priorities and moving toward the things that matter in life.


Life is often busy, demanding, and full of challenges that can cause us to lose sight of what really matters. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Diary 2023 is designed to help individuals focus on the things that are most important to them. It puts values centre-stage, where they can best guide actions and decisions, and is especially helpful for those engaged in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). However, the principles are relevant to anyone seeking to build psychological flexibility – the ability to connect fully with experiences, including difficult thoughts and feelings, and pursue an authentic life. Weekly short, accessible pieces discuss aspects of psychological flexibility, present helpful metaphors, and suggest exercises to identify core values, clarify issues, and record goals. Alongside these, reflection spaces offer regular opportunities to record thoughts, identify barriers and track progress.


NIC HOOPER is Lecturer in Psychology at Cardiff University. He was previously Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of the West of England (UWE), and earlier spent two years teaching at Middle East Technical University in Northern Cyprus. He has written many articles and book chapters, and he is the lead author of The Research Journey of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (2015). From 2015-17 he sat on the board of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), which governs much work in ACT and related areas.

FREDDY JACKSON BROWN is a registered and chartered clinical psychologist with twenty years’ experience working with children and families in the NHS. He has published a range of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on ACT, behaviour analysis, disability and sexuality, and is the author of Get the Life You Want (2013) and ACT for Dummies (2016).


Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd

Publication Date: November 2022



Table of Contents
Personal information
Authors’ welcome
What Do You Want? ⚫ An Introduction to Values ⚫ Valued Domains ⚫ Smart Goals ⚫ Values List ⚫ Exploring Domains ⚫ Managing Thoughts and Feelings ⚫ What Is Willingness? ⚫ Metaphor: The Unwelcome Guest ⚫ What Is Defusion? ⚫ Exercise: Having the Thought ⚫ What is Contacting the Present Moment? ⚫ Exercise: Breathing ⚫ What is Self-as-Context? ⚫ Metaphor: The Sky and the Weather ⚫ What is the Hexaflex? ⚫ Exercise: Writing a Eulogy ⚫ Introducing Self-Compassion ⚫ Exercise: Helping a Child ⚫ Personal Values Statement ⚫ Introducing Experiential Avoidance ⚫ Exercise: The White Bear ⚫ Experiential Avoidance: A Crucial Side Effect ⚫ Metaphor: A Ball in the Water ⚫ Giving You the Reins ⚫ Metaphor: Quicksand ⚫ Metaphor: Tug of War with a Monster ⚫ Exercise: Leaves on a Stream ⚫ Metaphor: Hands as Thoughts ⚫ Exercise: Body Scan ⚫ Exercise: Walking ⚫ Exercise: Fusion with Evaluations ⚫ Exercise: Taking Off Your Armour ⚫ Exercise: Heroes ⚫ Exercise: Waiting for the Wrong Train ⚫ Bringing It All Together: Passengers on the Bus ⚫ Ending the Year


  1. N Trenchard

    In some respects this was a hard review to write as I am typically someone who doesn’t read the blurb on the back of a book, only the first paragraph, then if that grabs me I’ll buy the book!

    With the ACT Diary 2020, I kind of knew what to expect because I have used the 2019 one up until now. What I didn’t expect was the neat change to the look and feel of the diary. I like the ring-binding as it makes the pages much more usable and given the huge amount of exercises to do and the space to write, it will be really comfortable to use each day.

    Values within key areas are identified early on and woven throughout the diary to help you focus on your goals for the week. Key questions aid reflections and further planning. Motivational quotes are dotted throughout but are choicely connected with the aim of this diary – to help you move towards the things that matter to you most. So in the words of Mary Shelley ‘ The Beginning is always today’, I would without hesitation recommend that you grab a moment today and get yourself a copy – you won’t regret it, this diary can only enhance your ability to enrich your life.

  2. Fiona Healy O’Neill

    A must buy for supporting meaningful change in your life!

    This is my third year to receive a copy of the ACT Diary and I was so excited to see it land through the letterbox!

    Everyone has times in life when things get tricky – those months or even years when it all feels like wading through treacle, no matter what you do. I’ve had one of those times this year in particular, and having the ACT Diary has been a reminder to keep the feet moving towards the things that matter. This really has made some very challenging times an awful lot easier to manage. How often can someone say that about something as simple and universal as a weekly diary?

    When I got the new, expanded version of this diary this year I immediately appreciated the work that has gone into making this even better than the versions I have found so useful over the last two years. I was excited to see so much more practical, useful, welcoming content on values and action. Even glancing through and briefly reviewing some of the self-assessment tools, I was instantly inspired with ideas of what I could be doing differently even now to help my life move in the direction I want. It’s not often that can be said about a resource such as this! It’s truly value for money.

    As well as knowing how it benefits me personally, I’ve recently started a new professional role – and I can already see how the exercises and assessments will be supportive in keeping me on track in my own work with vulnerable young people. The tools and tactics included are so clearly explained and laid out, I feel sure this would be true for anyone no matter what their work or role in life. There’s really something here that everyone can use to shape and move their life in directions of meaning and purpose, and it would be such a wonderful gift that could make a true difference to the person receiving it. Honestly cannot endorse it enough, and very genuinely. Get your hands on a copy now, and do what it says to do, and I am absolutely sure your future self will thank you for the investment.

  3. Dr Elaine Kasket, HCPC-Registered Counselling Psychologist

    Third year using this diary! And it’s improved this year.

    I became aware of this values-tracker diary in 2017 and have been using it ever since. What really matters to you can get easily obscured by the constant activity, distraction, and expectations in which we’re constantly immersed. For anyone who’s read Johann Hari’s Lost Connections, or who’s done certain types of psychotherapy, you may be aware that disconnection from values can contribute significantly to feelings of depression and anxiety. This diary is specifically designed to strengthen awareness and connection with one’s own values, enabling users to live a richer life by aligning their activities and life choices with the stuff that really matters to them.

    I keep the 2019 diary on my bedside table and do weekly planning, daily tracking, and weekly roundup of my values and values-aligned actions. I reckon that, along with exercise, it’s one of the most important things that I do to look after my well being and mental health. As a psychotherapist and coach who works a lot with values in the consulting room, I also often recommend the diary as a resource for clients – I’m thinking of buying the 2020 diary in bulk to help many of my clients start off the new year.

    The diary has always had various values-clarification and committed-action exercises scattered throughout it, but in 2020 the structure of the diary has changed. It takes you on an unfolding journey, a stepwise progression to learning more about values, gradually building your mindful awareness of what you’re choosing to do in life and why you’re choosing it. There is more variety week on week, with specific tasks to undertake – this helps build skills and awareness in multiple ways and is less repetitive than the previous versions. Because it starts from basic foundational building blocks, the 2020 diary may seem particularly suitable for people who haven’t done this kind of values-tracking before or who aren’t familiar with the concepts, but as someone who’s done this a lot, I don’t at all mind stripping things back to first principles at the start of the year and tackling things anew. I’m looking forward to trying this new format.

    All in all, a great resource with a thoughtful redesign for 2020, and one I’d heartily recommend on a personal and professional level.

  4. Louise McHugh

    A must get purchase for any ACT interested folks.
    The diary is a great way to keep your values as a guide for what you do day to day. Excellent tips and exercises throughout keep the reader on their toes throughout the year. What is particularly nice is that we can all set off a new year with good intentions but the diary can orient you back to those intentions all year long. The diary is a must for anyone with an interest in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) personally or professionally.

  5. Richard Bennett

    Great way to structure the use of ACT in your daily life.
    This diary has gone through different iterations over the last few years, and the formula is getting better and better. Really useful for those wanting to bring ACT practices to daily life.

  6. Anonymous

    Excellent companion to get out of a rut.

    Very clear and well laid out diary that will help me make the most of the year. Clear exercises to clarify the things that give purpose and meaning to life, and set goals. January 1st can’t come quick enough!

  7. Darren Edwards

    If you are like me, and need regular prompts to help enable you to connect to your values, then this ACT diary is definitely for you. This is the 3rd year I’m using the ACT diary, and like this one, loved the previous versions too. This newest edition has improved greatly with lovely ACT illustrations to help guide you along. It provides a really useful aid to help you identify and commit to meaningful action. That’s what life is all about peeps – meaningful action! I highly recommend this diary to help get you there!

  8. Dr. Sarah Cassidy, Founder and Director, Smithsfield Clinic. Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychologist and co-author of Tired of Anxiety

    This is my third year purchasing a large bulk order of these diaries for my clinic. We give these out every year in our clinic to help the adolescents and adults that attend for therapy make progress outside of sessions. We also give these diaries to all of our staff members. These diaries can be used as an add-on if you are attending for therapy yourself or they can be used just in a more general way if you want to re-focus your attention on the things that are most important in your life.

    Too often we spend our energy and attention on things we feel we need to do so that we avoid getting in trouble at work or avoid feeling uncomfortable in relationships. But I think it is much more nourishing, rewarding and stimulating to choose to act in ways that are consistent with our value system. Of course, we’re all so busy with our everyday lives that we forget what is most important to us or we just run out of time and then we can’t get it all done.

    I find this diary really helpful personally as it keeps me more aligned with my own values. I can still do all the stuff that I need to do, but this just helps to focus me and connect me with why that matters. Once I have found that purpose, my jobs don’t feel like chores. I find it invigorating to live with this kind of purpose.

    Professionally, this diary helps to keep my therapy clients on the right track because, like most humans, they often fall into familiar habits that just aren’t working for them or just aren’t getting them the types of lives they’ve dreamed of.

    We’ve had fantastic feedback from staff and clients every time we hand this out. So whether you are a clinician, a caring family member, a parent or if you want this diary for your own personal use, I wholeheartedly recommend it. I also find that the size is just right too. I can carry it in my handbag but it’s not too heavy. At the same time, its cool spiral bound edge has just enough support, strength and flexibility that I can write on my lap or wherever I happen to be. Highly recommend this diary!

  9. Aisling Leonard-Curtin, Peer-reviewed ACT Trainer, Chartered Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland and co-author of the Number 1 bestseller The Power of Small

    The ACT Diary does exactly what it says on the tin – it is a guide and companion to helping you learn and live the skills of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) on a daily basis. The weekly exercises to review and instill key ACT concepts will really help you to overcome the internal blocks and barriers that we all face when aiming to live a values-guided life. This is my third ACT diary, and I’ve recommended this and gifted it to many friends, family and clients alike.

  10. Dr. Ian Tyndall, Department of Psychology, University of Chichester

    The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Diary is such an innovative and marvelously effective concept. It is beautifully produced. Having taught and researched ACT and underlying theoretical processes for many years, the question always comes up: Just how do I do ACT? This diary asks you in a most encouraging way to reflect on who you want to be, what you would like to be, what you would like to stand for, and challenges you to make moves towards these aims. Are your actions bringing you closer or further away from the values you would like to live by? Doing is the most effective form of learning. It is very easy to read about ACT, be enthused by it’s promise, but never actually engage with any of the principles or techniques. The beauty of this diary is that it provides that spark you need, in really clear and simple terms, to be the change you want to see. It does this through short, sharp, easily digestible and accessible pointers to key concepts of psychological flexibility that help reduce rigidity in our behaviours and foster a broader range of emotional and behavioural responses as we navigate the complexities of life. It is packed full of effective tools and devices, sprinkled with wise quotations, and would make a really thoughtful gift.

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