7 Best Books on Willpower and Building Self-Discipline

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Willpower is an important skill that we can harness and use to our advantage.

It is a key ingredient for success, and the foundation for building good habits and avoiding or breaking bad ones.

When we’ve harnessed our willpower, we experience more happiness in all areas of our life.

If you’re looking for resources on willpower, you can check out a couple of posts here and here.

In addition, you can read today’s article for our recommendations of the best willpower books to help you understand the science and art of this life skill.

These books are a cut above the rest, and full of information backed by science. Many have actionable strategies that can help you reach new levels of personal improvement.

Here are our top picks for today.

1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

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If you’re looking for a book to help you understand how habits are formed, why it’s hard to change your habits, and how habits can deeply impact your life, this is the title for you.

In this book, you’ll learn that habits have three main parts:

  • Cue
  • Routine
  • Reward

When we are able to recognize these three parts, we are also better equipped to master our habits (especially bad habits) instead of allowing them to take over our lives.

Throughout this book, Charles Duhigg presents a helpful thesis that explains how we can form habits that benefit our personal development and get rid of those that hold us back.

2. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven

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This book is a blueprint for applying self-discipline in all areas of your life to maximize success.

Admiral McRaven was the key speaker at the 2014 commencement exercises at the University of Texas at Austin. His speech became the foundation of his bestselling book.

Within the book’s pages are 10 guiding principles for overcoming challenges in life. McRaven learned these principles while training as a Navy Seal.

Written in an engaging style, the book features anecdotes from the admiral’s life, providing valuable lessons on teamwork, dealing with failure, taking risks, and having the willpower to go on despite the challenges that arise.

3. The Mental Toughness Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Facing Life's Challenges, Managing Negative Emotions, and Overcoming Adversity With Courage and Poise by Damon Zahariades

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This book explains the difference between grit and mental toughness.

It also provides actionable steps on how to endure hardships, function under pressure, and succeed in every challenge you encounter.

The book reveals the top seven traits of people who possess mental toughness, and also explains the close association between emotional mastery and mental toughness. It helps readers understand the significance of self-awareness in the development of mental fortitude.

Finally, it provides simple practices for developing self-control and reveals five habits that strengthen the mind and curb impulsive behavior.

4. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

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In this bestselling book, readers come to understand the far-reaching impact of habits.

The book is a blueprint for creating habits that nourish and propel you to success.

Furthermore, it provides great best strategies for breaking habits that hold us back from our highest potential.

Some key takeaways from the book include:

  • Better habits improve the quality of our lives.
  • Choose to be around people who exhibit the behavior you want to develop in yourself.
  • To achieve lasting success with your goals, you must first focus on your identity, making improvements as needed. Once you’ve achieved the improvements you wish to see in yourself, the rest will follow.

5. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

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Looking for a science-based book about willpower?

Kelly McGonigal offers insights from a number of different fields, including psychology, medicine, economics, and neuroscience, in this comprehensive book.

Here are some of the insights found in the book:

  • Willpower is actually a biological function that can be harnessed and improved in different ways, such as getting the right amount of self-care.
  • Willpower is a finite source, and that’s good, because being too rigid with ourselves has negative consequences for our health.
  • Mastering our own impulses is only possible if we give up the desire to be always in control.
  • It is important to find the right role models to help us master self-control and harness our own willpower.

6. Mastery by Robert Greene

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This book reveals how we can unlock our potential and achieve success in our chosen fields.

Robert Greene uses the lives of famous and successful people throughout ancient and contemporary history as examples and jumping-off points for discussing the principles and strategies for achieving mastery.

Readers will learn about the three behaviors of our minds, namely:

  • Original mind
  • Conventional mind
  • Dimensional mind

The book offers insights into what our tasks in life are. It equips us with what we need to make positive changes.

7. The Science of Self-Discipline: The Willpower, Mental Toughness, and Self-Control to Resist Temptation and Achieve Your Goals by Peter Hollins

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The first thing that readers will appreciate about this book is how easy it is to read. It provides actionable strategies on improving your self-discipline and successfully accomplishing your goals.

One important takeaway from Peter Hollins is that “self-discipline is not only the goal, but also the journey.

The book introduces the concept of neuroplasticity, where the brain adjusts or “rewires” itself in response to new stimuli.

He also shares the three executive functions that are prerequisites for achieving self-discipline:

  • Working memory
  • Impulse control
  • Cognitive flexibility and adaptability

Well-written and concise, this book is packed with useful information for building self-discipline and personal improvement.

Final Thoughts

There you have it—seven willpower books for building self-discipline.

Each one offers strategies and methods to help you achieve your goals and reach a new level in your quest for personal development.

We hope that these books enlighten and inspire you and that the information you’ll learn from them will help you create positive changes in your life.

If you are interested in more resources about self-improvement and willpower, feel free to check out any of the posts below:

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7 Best Books on Willpower and Building Self-Discipline