Discover in this article, 20 best books on self-discipline and get inspired to reach your potential; put an end to your frustrations, bad habits, self-doubts, reach higher and higher.
If you ask people “What’s the one thing you’d like to change about yourself?” most of us say “I’d like to be more disciplined”.
There is only a handful of lucky individuals who are born disciplined; the rest of us must learn it.
You might think that someone insanely driven and motivated is (implicitly) also disciplined. That is not so. The most significant difference between driven individuals and those who struggle to find motivation are the thoughts they allow themselves to have.
A driven and motivated person can be equally all over the place as one that has no motivation at all. Therefore, the key to achieving success is to become more disciplined.
Willpower and motivation are states of mind that you can’t sustain for too long – especially willpower; it’s short-lived, abandoning you when you least expect. Motivation is like a beast that asks you “give me food, give me food, give me food or I leave!”.
The best way to happiness and success in life is to learn your own method of being disciplined.
How come self-discipline is much more potent than motivation and willpower? Once you learn how to be disciplined you (just) push forward; everything comes naturally; most things become automatic.
Yes, it’s true; being disciplined requires you to be less original and more on autopilot. That’s the reason why most people struggle with maintaining self-discipline. “I want something new! It doesn’t matter if [this road] takes me home the fastest; I want something new; I want something different.”
However, being on autopilot is not a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing only when you’re not aware (not conscious) of how you set the pilot to work. Mindless eating, drinking, getting angry are examples of an autopilot running on the background of one’s mind that has negative consequences; and that’s an autopilot set unconsciously.
Listen, not being original about your morning routine (for example), doesn’t take the fun out of the day. It gives it a good start, structure, and consistency.
Program your mind towards the things you desire in life, keep yourself disciplined, develop new habits driven towards self-improvement, and (in time) you will achieve your goals.
Check out the following list of the best books on self-discipline:
Table of Contents
- 1. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less – Barry Schwartz
- 2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg
- 3. Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers
- 4. Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results – Stephen Guise
- 5. No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline – Brian Tracy
- 6. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – Brian Tracy
- 7. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
- 8. Time Warrior: How to defeat procrastination, people-pleasing, self-doubt, over-commitment, broken promises and chaos – Steve Chandler
- 9. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sincero
- 10. The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day And Control Your Life – Craig Ballantyne
- 11. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy – Jon Gordon, Ken Blanchard
- 12. The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage – Mel Robbins
- 13. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness – Jeff Olson, John David Mann
- 14. Why You’re Stuck: Your Guide To Finding Freedom From Any Of Life’s Challenges – Derek Doepker
- 15. Self Discipline: 30 Days to Self Discipline (30 Days To Greatness) – Lucia Georgiou
- 16. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be – Rachel Hollis
- 17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R. Covey
- 18. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength – Roy F. Baumeister, John Tierney
- 19. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles – Steven Pressfield
- 20. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It – Kelly McGonigal
1. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less – Barry Schwartz
We start the list of best books on self-discipline with “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less” because, modern living, forces you to make countless decisions every day, offering you countless choices.
Discover in this book how to simplify your life, spend less time sorting out the multitude of choices you have, and feel happier.
We spent so much time on trivial things like what to wear today, what t-shirt to buy, what’s the best offer… We spend valuable time on such things; things that at the end of the day, can make you feel overwhelmed and frustrated; stealing from you your discipline.
Our mind doesn’t have unlimited capacity. Even though, being self-disciplined keeps your mind (most of the time) on autopilot, doesn’t mean it’s also stretching your time.
I’ve learned many things from this book; but what I love the most, it’s how relaxed I feel about setting my priorities list.
You see? How disciplined can you be when you struggle to find a place to fit in, instead of discovering what fits You?
2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg
Becoming self-disciplined is, in part, developing a cluster of good habits.
Discover in this book:
- First, what are habits
- Second, how you form them
- Third, what it takes to change unwanted behaviors (habits)
- Fourth, things that influence your habits and you may not be aware of
- Fifth, pressures you might be subjected to that can ruin your discipline and how to avoid or deal with them
This book may not be entirely suited to your needs; however, the most substantial part (part1) can change your life forever.
Learn how to develop your cluster of good habits that lead, undoubtedly, to self-discipline.
3. Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers
Can anyone be self-disciplined allowing their fears to dictate the path of their life? Not really!
We are born only with two fears: loud noises and the fear of falling. All the other fears you might have, are learned along the way.
How can fears diverge your journey towards success and kill your self-discipline?
Imagine someone suffering from Agoraphobia; (as an example) how disciplined can this person become about getting at work on time? They can’t even get out of the house without having a panic attack.
Yes, phobias are extreme and don’t affect a large number of people. Yet, many fears affect us all: Fear of failure, success, rejection, being judged, and embarrassment.
Any fear you have can ruin your self-discipline because, what fear knows to do the best, it’s to make you submit and surrender to it.
This book will not teach you how to cure yourself of phobias; it shows you how to trust yourself more; accept the fact that most new things make us feel afraid, but that’s not a good reason to stop exploring.
“Feel the fear…and do it anyway!” Do it, and you’ll (forever) be grateful to yourself. Why should you surrender or submit to a fair like being judged, for example? When you can learn how to live through it?
Learn how you can live through your fears, beyond your fairs, and march forward becoming the best version of yourself.
4. Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results – Stephen Guise
Freedom is an interesting thing. Most people want freedom above all else; few people know what to do with it.
The greatest opportunities you missed in life, most probably, you’ve let them pass by you in the name of your freedom. “That sounds amazing, but I don’t want to be tied up,” “This looks like an exciting experience, but right now, I just want to enjoy life, to enjoy feeling free.”
If you think about it, most people who declare feeling free, use their freedom to do nothing much. And this is where the book “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results” can make a difference in your life.
Learn how to use your desire of feeling free in a productive way. Instead of “free time” to do nothing, start feeling free to work on your deepest desires, one tiny step after another tiny step; one small accomplishment, after another small accomplishment.
The knowledge in this book can be your perfect ground on which to build self-discipline; small steps, after small steps until you’re at the top of the Mountain.
5. No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline – Brian Tracy
You’re lied to, almost every day. How? Don’t you often hear that if you work hard and dedicate yourself fully and completely to achieve a goal, that goal, eventually becomes an accomplishment?
Why is that a lie? Because most goals you have come with an expiration date. Plus, it happens to most of us, to put everything we’ve got into dreams that we never get to live. That can happen to us no matter how hard or smart we work. That is the reality of life.
How is that relevant in building self-discipline? It is important and relevant because knowing this fact about goals and achievement takes away the chances to end up blaming yourself when things don’t turn out as you expected, as hard you’ve worked.
Self-blame is the shortest way to start finding excuses to give up on yourself; give up on ever dreaming again.
Being self-disciplined leads your way to getting out of negative self-thoughts and feelings. Self-discipline is your trusted companion to get up and go. When you feel down, reassures you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; when you’re too excited and a bit reckless, gives you the patience to keep calm and put one foot in front of the other.
Self-discipline doesn’t allow you to jump ahead or leave yourself behind.
6. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – Brian Tracy
Apparently, “Eat that frog” is the best book of Brian Tracy. It will surprise you how fast you can get out of procrastination and enter into the domain of self-discipline.
This book is an easy and enjoyable read. Filled with a lot of valuable information, the book is ideally suited to your needs if you want to be more productive, master self-discipline, stay focused on your dreams, and reach your potential.
Procrastination is a deep hole we dig up and fall into. The more you procrastinate, the deeper and deeper the hole becomes.
Get inspired by this book and start moving towards your brilliant future.
7. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
Distractions are everywhere; it’s hard to escape them; it’s hard to stay focused on your goals and dreams… But let’s not go that far, to goals and dreams, and stay on everyday simple tasks.
Some people find it easy to disconnect from the outside world, but others need complete silence not to lose their train of thought.
Discover in this book:
- What is the “one thing” that can help you become successful and self-disciplined
- Six lies that can tempt you or derail you from your big plan
- Three simple truths about productivity
- How to unveil your real potential and take advantage of your power to stay focused
Don’t you get annoyed when people are late for your meetings? Isn’t it frustrating to be kept waiting not knowing when the “waiting” might finish?
You see? Your time is precious. You don’t want to allow others to waste your time, right? Yet, lack of organization, order, and consistency are doing just that! Wasting your time.
Discover in this book how to become the time warrior. Fight for your time to be respected by others and yourself.
There is no self-discipline without cherishing your time. Is there?
For some people, this book is a bit of tough love; for others, it’s an event that changes their life for the better (forever).
Do you know who’s the one person in your life (you can’t escape from) that may try to sabotage you? You’ve probably guessed it! It might be you.
Discover in this book, how to stop doubting, sabotaging, and putting yourself down.
If it happens that you know how to kick and poke yourself with mean words, that means you already know you can talk to yourself; you can have a relationship with yourself.
Ok! At this point, maybe is not the best one, but it can become. You can be your best friend. Learn how to love and accept yourself as you are. Be amazed by all the beautiful things you can do. Become self-disciplined and start living the life of your dreams.
If you care too much about what others might say or think, it’s like giving them (signed) permission to torture you.
Self-discipline starts with organizing your thoughts about yourself and continues with developing a cluster of habits that take you where you want to be.
10. The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day And Control Your Life – Craig Ballantyne
What is the perfect day for you? Because for many individuals, an ideal day is nothing more than one without adverse events; but, not feeling unhappy, doesn’t mean you’re happy. The absence of something negative doesn’t imply the presence of something positive (automatically).
Discover in this book how to organize your day, step by step, from dawn to dusk. Lead your life toward greatness, don’t wait to get there by chance.
I had clients that said “I don’t want to be self-disciplined, and well organized. Where is the fun in that?”
Listen, the shortest way to feeling overwhelmed, uninspired, and lost is never to know what comes next. Life is a rollercoaster anyway (with your help or without it); therefore, control what needs controlling and you can. Be present in your life; live your life to the fullest.
Getting organized has an incredible effect on your state of mind: Peace of mind!
When do you feel relaxed the most? When you know you have a structure, a procedure to follow. Right? Because no matter how fun surprises can sound, they are fun only now and then. If you’re hit with surprises every other 5 minutes, you might go insane. Is it not?
So, how would look like a perfect day for you? Chaos or order?
11. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy – Jon Gordon, Ken Blanchard
If you want to know how to bring order into the chaos that might surround you, this book is for you.
Learn from “The energy bus”:
- What makes you the driver and primary influence of your journey through life
- Things that can help you stir your life in the direction of your dreams (desire, vision, and focus)
- Must-have nourishments on your trip (develop a positive mindset)
- How to build your support system for the road ahead
- Keep your positive attitude safe from those who want to drag you down
- Discover how to be enthusiastic about what you want to accomplish and infect those around you with the same enthusiasm
- Become self-disciplined and always know where you’re going
Isn’t it life beautiful when you know where you want to go? When you take that journey with people you love and love you back? When, no obstacle, can deter you from your purpose?
12. The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage – Mel Robbins
Most of us grew up being pushed forward by other. When we reached adulthood, we were left alone to fight for what we want.
Yes, that is the natural progression of things; someone holds your hand until you cross the bridge; once you get on the other side, the bridge falls behind you and the only road to go is forward.
However, that “way forward” doesn’t come with a map. Does it?
This book is like a map you receive as a gift when you start your journey towards what you want. It’s a comprehensive and straightforward map, helping you to become self-disciplined, self-reliant, and self-assured.
The main idea behind this book is sustained with robust, actionable, and easy to grasp information.
We tend to complicate things instead of taking the shortcut (the obvious solution) to whatever stop you become the best version of yourself.
13. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness – Jeff Olson, John David Mann
Modern society is brainwashing us to think like a broken record that’s on repeat “go up, go up, go up; when you fall, despair; go up, go up, go up; when you stay still, despair; go up…”
Do you know what the most indicative sign you’re on the right path is? Surprisingly enough, it’s when you fail. You might say “Wait, what?!” but just think about it; when you have a setback that tells you “All you’ve done so far, to this point, was brilliant. How do I know? Because this point is less brilliant. Take a moment to breathe, give yourself a compassionate hug, then resume your journey.”
That is the reality of our life. When things don’t work, we become aware of how well they worked to that point. Is it not?
This book is offering you a break from society’s pressures; the permission to have that moment of self-compassion; helping you increase your self-discipline by understanding that running is an extreme solution when someone chases you. Most times, walking, putting one foot in front of the other takes you to safety, takes you to a better place.
Doing ten small things today, snowball into a great accomplishment tomorrow.
14. Why You’re Stuck: Your Guide To Finding Freedom From Any Of Life’s Challenges – Derek Doepker
One of the two innate fears we have is the fear of falling. That makes us do whatever to prevent hitting rock bottom. But, if you’re in a bad situation, not hitting rock bottom, can mean you’re suspended in mid-air, you are stuck.
What do you feel is the worse case scenario: suspended in a stuck position, or hitting the ground?
When you get to the lowest point in your life, there is only one way to go which is upwards. Is it not? When you’re stuck… you go nowhere.
Learn from this book how it might happen to you to get stuck and how to free yourself from being suspended in mid-air. Rise like the phoenix from its ashes by becoming self-discipline about how you deal with life’s challenges.
15. Self Discipline: 30 Days to Self Discipline (30 Days To Greatness) – Lucia Georgiou
Self-discipline is a life skill, and this book takes you on a journey of self-discovery that gives you all the tools you need to honor the precious gift of life.
Find out in this book how to get disciplined about:
- Knowing yourself better
- Avoiding being negative
- Never allow yourself to feel defeated
- How to choose your goals
- Powerful routines
- How and when to give up
- The importance of gratitude (including giving thanks to yourself)
- Making your future more appealing by visualizing it…and much more
Few books treat the subject of self-discipline (standing alone), and this is one of them. Many great life-changing books (like the ones above) incorporate self-discipline into other must-have skills. This book takes self-discipline as an independent must-have skill that you can attach to any other success and happiness skill.
If you’re interested only in developing self-discipline because you already know all the other skills you need for a great life, this book is for you.
Yes, it is possible that you’re asking yourself “What is this book doing in a list of self-discipline books?” The answer is simple. You must be disciplined to counteract the lies society tells about you.
Did the latest magazine you read told you “your hair is not shiny enough”? Or that you need to be more feminine to feel like a woman? What about “Look 10 Years Younger”? as if there is a problem with your age…
Listen, it takes guts and discipline to say “No! I’ll not listen to you, nor allow (you) to programme my life. I know who I am, and I like who I am; your opinion doesn’t count.”
This book can help you become disciplined about keeping up with yourself regardless of what the Joneses are doing.
This book is not only for women because the truths unveiled in it, apply (more and more) to men too.
Become disciplined about standing up for yourself; don’t ever allow others to define who you are or who you should become.
You know how it goes, where there is a gold mine, everyone comes to take something… You are that gold mine; keep it safe and unspoiled; keep it growing; you are precious and unique.
17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R. Covey
Self-discipline, at its core, it’s developing a cluster of habits that take you (and your life) to the highest mountain you can reach.
This book is for your self-discipline as is a cookbook for a chef. It gives you the knowledge that powers up your desire of becoming the best version of you.
Probably you hear a lot “happiness is a choice”; but what you don’t hear too often is how you can choose happiness. Because waking up in the morning and saying “today I choose to be happy” doesn’t (really) mean you choose happiness.
That is the beauty of self-discipline and developing positive habits – you choose happiness by regularly and consistently doing the things that lead to happiness:
- Being proactive
- Knowing where you’re going
- Designing wisely your priorities list
- Attracting and accepting only positive people in your life
- Improving your social skills
- Actualizing (periodically) what you want out of life
- Approaching things with an open mind and curiosity
Now, that we are close to the end of this article, take the time to congratulate yourself for reading it. Why? Because not many people understand the importance of becoming self-disciplined, you do.
Choose the books that you think can help you the most in your quest for self-discipline. If you have a hard time deciding what the best options for you are, maybe the video below can help you understand better what it takes to become self-disciplined and discover what you want to improve further.
And now, allow me to congratulate you, and thank you for reading the article and watching this video.
You, becoming more comfortable in your own skin, contribute to a better world.
You know now that self-discipline is the most powerful tool you can have to build on your brilliant future.
18. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength – Roy F. Baumeister, John Tierney
Willpower shares lessons on how to resist temptation, focus our strength, and redirect our lives for the better.
This book also teaches us that whatever our goals in life may be, we won’t reach them without learning to harness self-control first.
19. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles – Steven Pressfield
The War of Art is an absolutely great book on creativity and self-discipline.
If you have an internal urge to create something but cannot seem to do it because of fears, distractions, self-doubts, then this book is for you. It shows you the thing that’s stopping you from bringing out your creative potential and how to overcome it.
If you’re on the hunt of finding a good book that teaches how to build self-control, you might want to consider The Willpower Instinct.
In this book, you’ll learn what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters.
The author shows you how to strengthen your willpower and avoid wasting it in the first place. She points out that the more you use your willpower, the easier it gets in the future; it’s just like muscles, we can train our brains to get stronger at self-control.
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