Acceptance and Commitment Skills for Perfectionism and High-Achieving Behaviors : Do Things Your Way, Be Yourself, and Live a Purposeful Life book cover
1st Edition

Acceptance and Commitment Skills for Perfectionism and High-Achieving Behaviors
Do Things Your Way, Be Yourself, and Live a Purposeful Life

ISBN 9780367369224
Published January 5, 2022 by Routledge
194 Pages

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USD $26.95

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Book Description

This book is essential for those who are prone to high-achieving, self-starting, and perfectionistic actions; people who relentlessly, persistently, and determinedly pursue their dreams, goals, and aspirations; people who hold their high standards, principles, and values close to their heart.

Chapter by chapter, you will learn acceptance and commitment skills to harness the power of perfectionism and high-achieving behaviors while living the life you want to live. You will learn how to be yourself, keep your fears in perspective, and do meaningful things without dwelling for hours on the different ways to make things right, postponing things because they aren’t ready, struggling for days with rumination, anxiety and stress, or wrestling periodically with harsh criticisms.

This book will show you how you can give your best, work hard, and push yourself when you deeply care about things without sacrificing your well-being, hurting your relationships, or compromising your health. You will learn when to engage in high-achieving actions in an effective, life-expansive, and skillful way. You will develop a new workable relationship with all those narratives about not being good enough and treat yourself with kindness, compassion, and caring. Most importantly, you will find that you can be yourself without losing yourself.

Table of Contents

SECTION I What’s Wrong With Caring Deeply?

1 Why Bother With This Book?

2 Doing Things Perfectly Makes Sense!

3 Others Are Wrong, You’re Right

4 Flipping the Coin

5 All Types of High-Achieving Actions

SECTION II Unpacking Your Personal History

6 How Come You Care So Much?

7 The Many Shades of Fear

8 Mistakes, Errors, Flaws

9 A Special Type of Fear

10 Mental Rubrics

11 Personal Narratives

SECTION III Harnessing the Power of High-Achieving and Perfectionistic Actions

12 The Future of Caring Behaviors

13 What Are Your Precious Values?

14 Does It Really Matter?

15 Important Questions, Important Answers

16 One Year From Now

17 "Doing Things Right" Is the Right Thing to Do, at Times

18 What Game Are You Playing?

SECTION IV The Workability Game

19 Learning About It

20 Playing It

21 Committing to It

SECTION V Pause and Play

22 The Great Escape

23 Fleeting Feelings

24 Seizing and Freezing

25 Overly Protective Friends

26 To Buy or Not to Buy?

27 Hold Them Lightly, Really!

28 99 Percent

29 This-Or-That Thoughts

30 Minding and Unwinding

31 Mini-Me Stories

32 Terrible Feelings

33 Pleased to Meet You!

34 Plus and Minus

35 Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole!

36 Daring to Be Kind!

37 Vulnerabilities or Liabilities?

38 Less Chasing, More Choosing

39 When-Then Thoughts

40 Tough Choices Need Kindness

SECTION VI Onward and Upward!

41 Messy Moments

42 Living With Not Knowing

43 Undoing Decidophobia

44 Tackling Procrastination

45 Tough Love!

46 Let’s Move

47 To Quit or Not to Quit

48 Finding Your Rhythm

49 Little Tidbits

50 Sweet Contradictions

51 Sugarcoating Moments


53 Doing Less, Living More

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Patricia E. Zurita Ona, Psy.D., "Dr. Z.," is a psychologist specialized in working with and creating compassionate, research-based, and actionable resources for overachievers and overthinkers to get them unstuck from worries, fears, anxieties, perfectionism, procrastination, obsessions, and ineffective playing-it-safe actions.

Dr. Z. is the founder of the East Bay Behavior Therapy Center, a boutique practice, where she offers therapy and coaching services based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and contextual behavioral science. Dr. Z. has been nominated a Fellow of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science because of her contributions to the applications of ACT to specific fear-based struggles.


"This book is an incredible resource for anyone struggling to balance their drive for high achievement with their wellbeing and relationships. Underpinned by behavioral science, Dr. Z. invites you to consider when to follow perfectionistic actions and when to disentangle from them. She shows you chapter by chapter how to play the workability game while building a fulfilling life. This is my go-to text for any person that wants to learn how to make their high standards work for them over the long term."

Jonny Say, ACT and Compassionate-focused Therapist

"This fabulous book teaches you how to live a vital and meaningful life while pursuing the high standards that you find important and without losing yourself in the process. Using Acceptance and Commitment skills, Dr. Z. provides you with a compassionate frame to make sense of your perfectionistic actions, keep them in check, and do what works. You will learn to lean into your values and make room for anxieties and fears of being a failure, without losing your drive to achieve."

Kim Rockwell-Evans, Ph.D., OCD and Anxiety Specialists of Dallas

"In a relatable, compassionate, and clear way, Dr. Z. deconstructs a complex topic. Grounded in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), she guides you through the nuances of perfectionism and teaches you how to go beyond the labels of good and bad or right and wrong, so you can create a values-driven and workable relationship with perfectionistic actions. A must read for anyone that wants to harness the power of high achieving actions while living a fulfilling life!"

Michael Heady, LCPC; Co-Director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland 


"This book is vital for anyone who has wrestled with holding themselves to high personal standards while at the same time drowning in the overwork and overwhelm that such high standards bring. It’s a practical guide that digs into why it’s so hard for high-achievers to step back and let go, and how to embrace progress over perfection to live a calmer, less anxious, and happier life. It’s a book that I will absolutely recommend to all of my self-confessed perfectionist clients, colleagues, and friends."

Ellen Jackson, Workplace and Coaching Psychologist, Podcaster


"If you’re suffering from the chronic stress and strain of perfectionism, help is at hand. But this not just any old help. This is wise, practical, realistic help, based not on pop psychology, but solid science. Within these pages, Patricia Zurita Ona will guide you, with great wisdom and compassion, in breaking free from the shackles of perfectionism, and building a life of freedom and fulfilment. You’re in good hands. Enjoy the journey."

Russ Harris, Author of The Happiness Trap

"This is another wonderful book by Dr. Z. It is really going to help many of my clients."

Dr. Treegoob