5 Most Helpful Self-Discipline Books

a girl reads a book about self-discipline

Up through high school, you had parents or guardians to keep you on track when self-discipline failed you. Now that you’re in college, it really is all about you (when it comes to getting things done, anyway). Your RA, hall maintenance staff, and even your roommates aren’t going to tell you to get out of bed and go to class or to quit looking at Tinder and start studying. We recommend that you check out at least one of these helpful self-discipline books. They’ll get you into action in no time.

1. Self-Discipline in 10 Days: How to Go From Thinking to Doing

Self-Discipline in 10 Days_ How to Go From Thinking to Doing book cover

Theodore Bryant’s book is targeted toward dreamers: people who have great ideas and intentions but often fail to act on them. If you often think about doing amazing things but aren’t great with the follow-through, this book is for you. This book addresses fears and limiting beliefs that may be holding you back in life. There are also exercises to work through to beat your habit of procrastination. With “Self-Discipline in 10 Days,” you’ll be getting out of bed, studying, exercising, and succeeding in no time.

2. The Skinny on Willpower: How to Develop Self-Discipline

The Skinny on Willpower_ How to Develop Self-Discipline book cover

Have you settled for a mediocre life? Bust through that wall to the extraordinary with this book by Jim Randel. The author uses examples and faux case studies to illustrate how to develop willpower and how to use that willpower to transform your results in any endeavor. Randel teaches you how to see the big picture and change your mindset so that you’ll come to appreciate how doing things you don’t like in the present is good for your future. You’ll also see how breaking down large goals into more specific ones encourages you to take action now instead of later.

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

The Willpower Instinct_ How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It book cover

Author Kelly McGonigal has a Ph.D. from Stanford, and it shows in this well-researched book. You’ll learn that willpower can be controlled — and not just with your mind. McGonigal tells you how the company you keep can have an effect on your self-discipline. (So if you know you’re drifting toward the wrong crowd, you might want to think twice about it.) She also shows you how to reach goals by working through exercises and addressing uncomfortable emotions like guilt and shame. This book is perfect for you regardless of what you’re hoping to achieve: weight loss, straight As, or anything else. You’ll go through 10 chapters in which the author bashes any ideas you had about what willpower is and tells you the scientific truth.

4. No Excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline

No Excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline book cover

Brian Tracy is a successful businessman and consultant, a renowned motivator, and the author of this very helpful book. Tracy reminds you that self-discipline is not a natural talent, a holy virtue, or a matter of luck. Each of the 21 chapters is power-packed with tips for a specific area of life. Exercises at the end of each chapter help you put the ideas into practice and stop making excuses for a less-than-stellar existence. Whether you feel like it or not, you’ll learn how to take those steps toward turning your life around and making it something extraordinary.

5. The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

The Practicing Mind_ Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life book cover

This book by Thomas M. Sterner is highly rated and widely read, and with good reason. Sterner reminds us of how persistent we were to learn new skills in our early years and explains why that willpower drops off later in life. He then teaches us how to apply the principles of effort and practice to adult challenges. Along the way, the author reminds you to enjoy the journey instead of focusing solely on the destination. The book stresses the importance of mindfulness and rejects today’s notion of multitasking, which is actually an impediment to real progress and mastery.

Don’t head off to college without an excellent self-discipline book tucked into your bag. After your textbooks, one of these personal growth books is the most helpful book a university student can read.

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