Ahhh, self-discipline, that pain-in-the-a** success attribute that most of us wish were easier to wield. If I told you there was a pill you could take to increase your self-discipline, would you want one?
Hahaha, so would I.
Unfortunately, there is no pill.
But, I do have something for you that is far better than some easy peasy pill. In fact, I have 15 of them for you.
And I am confident you could benefit from them.
How can I be so sure?
Statistics. Statistically speaking, 92% of people who set goals at the beginning of each year, don’t achieve them (University of Scranton.) That stat alone, says so much about the state of our collective self-discipline.
It reveals that most people can’t stick to a simple goal they set out to achieve.
How is it that so many people fail to achieve what they really want?
I mean, nobody sets a goal they don’t think they can achieve.
Nobody sets a goal around something they don’t sincerely want either.
Yet, so many still fail to reach the simple goals they set for themselves, year after year.
And what about the big goals? Let’s not even go there.
Here’s the most likely culprit. When the results we go after don’t come fast enough, and we realize what we’re chasing seems like more of a hassle than we first imagined, we second-guess ourselves. And as we continue to pursue our goals, we slowly begin making up our minds that the pain of consistent self-discipline is a cost we aren’t willing to pay. The pain bests us.
So, what do we do?
We stop striving for our goal.
If that scenario sounds familiar, then you’ve had your own struggles with self-discipline. In short, self-discipline is likely hard for you.
But, you don’t have to feel too bad about it (just a little bad), because you are not alone. Self-discipline is painful for just about everyone. But just because it’s painful, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to find more of it.
Truth is, self-discipline is a pain that is good for you. It’s so good for you that it really shouldn’t be seen as pain at all.
Like Euripides said…. “Do not consider painful what is good for you.”
NO PAIN NO GAIN
My friend, self-discipline is a worthy characteristic to improve. It’s worthy because it has the power to lead you from where you are now, to where you want to be, faster than any other human quality.
Self-discipline is a force to be reckoned with. When it is strong, it will keep you moving forward, progressing towards your goals till you hit them.
On the flip side, self-discipline is also something everyone struggles with at some point in their lives. And when it’s weak your achievements will be meek.
So go big, keep going for those big goals, but make sure your self-discipline is strong before you do so.
Why? Because trying to achieve a goal without self-discipline, is like trying to ride a bicycle across a hilly countryside and expecting to get up the harder, steeper hills without peddling.
It’s just not going to happen. Which is why goal achievement without self-discipline is impossible.
Fortunately, you can build and craft your self-discipline to your liking. And you can do it in a short amount of time.
The more you build it, the more and more achievements you’re likely to see in your life.
And I have just the thing to help you begin building your self-discipline.
Here are 14 self-discipline books you should read to help you fortify your self-discipline.
You’ll strengthen your discipline just by reading them, because it takes discipline to read books.
But, you’ll also gain powerful self-discipline mindset insights, insights that will help you become the master over your very own.
So here you go my friends, 15 stepping stones to higher and better levels of self-discipline.
15 BEST BOOKS ON DISCIPLINE
[Each book featured has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links below, we may earn commission.]
1. The Compound Effect
‘The Compound Effect’ is like a manifesto for self-discipline. The author of this book is Darren Hardy, who is the former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, a serial entrepreneur, mutli-millionaire, and the author of a few other books. And you know what? This guy knows a thing or two about success and self-discipline.
Darren sums it up well in his book when he gives the formula for how to create radical change in our lives. The formula is this: “Small smart choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE”
Small smart choices come down to small daily self-disciplines.
This book is worth the read because it will help you realize that it is the small everyday choices you make, not the big disciplines, that determine the size of your achievements.
After reading this, self-discipline will seem less daunting, more manageable, and perhaps even a bit attractive. Get this book, and let Darren sell you on the power of self-discipline and it can do to transform the outcome of your life.
‘Mastery’ is a masterpiece. This book was authored by Robert Greene, and it covers a wide spectrum of ideas that coalesces around what it takes to become a master. A master of your craft, your profession, a master of your life.
Much of the material in the book is pulled from the author’s vast knowledge of historical and modern masters to help you realize what it takes to become a master, the likes of Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci, Goethe, John Coltrane, Marcel Proust, and many others.
He demonstrates that Mastery is a simple process that is accessible to anyone who is willing to put in the time, effort, dedication and sacrifice to create masterful work.
His reference to Leonardo Da Vinci’s motto, Ostinato Rigore, meaning stubborn rigor sums up what kind of self-discipline is required to achieve your life’s task (your purpose).
To strengthen your self-discipline and learn what it takes to become the master of your fate, this is definitely book you should digest.
3. The Willpower Instinct
‘The Willpower Instinct‘ approaches self-discipline and self-control from a more academic stand point. It’s a good self discipline book, but if I am honest, it’s quite boring to read.
If you are true student of self-discipline and self-control though, it will be worth it.
It’s worth your time because it will help you gain clarity on why self-discipline seems so challenging to master for so many people. The clarity gained from this book can lead to better decisions, and better decisions always leads to better results.
4. The Master Key to Riches
This book is a powerful book for building self-discpline. Every chapter provides insight upon insight on the habits and types of efforts that are required for you to achieve more in life.
The most important chapter though, is chapter 12, because it deals solely with self-discipline. Chapter 12 makes a strong case for why you should work on becoming self-disciplined, especially if wealth, success, and riches are things you are striving for.
And let’s be honest, money, success, and power are things we’re all striving for. So give this one a read, and learn why self-discipline is the master key to riches. Then put what you learn to use, and build the rich and abundant life you deserve for yourself.
5. The War of Art
In my opinion, out of all of the best books on discipline, this one is the best. However, this book is listed and #5 because it was primarily written for creative types who know the self-sabotaging challenges that come with trying to create great work consistently.
Even if you are not an artist, author, or entrepreneur, this book will help you realize the struggle to create is real, but that it can be conquered.
I believe this book is for everyone because we are all creators, creators and designers of our own lives.
Now the author doesn’t call out self-discipline directly through the book, rather, he positions it as “Resistance”. But, through his concept of “Resistance” clearly communicates how you must commit to your work, to becoming a pro, and how when you do, you’ll be applying the self-discipline you’ve needed to do what you’ve always wanted.
It’s a good kick in the pants that will help you deal with your self-discipline challenges in an effective way. So give it read.
6. The Practicing Mind
If you are looking for a new perspective on how to build your self-discipline, then this book is for you. Thomas M. Sterner makes a strong case for the importance mindset plays on how self-disciplined we are. He does a good job relating his personal experiences with mastering golf, piano lessons, and book writing, using the practicing mind process.
You’ll learn that with the right awareness and mindset, you can better master just about anything. His biggest urging is to learn to love the process of whatever it is you are seeking to accomplish, to do so, is to develop a practicing mind.
And when you’ve developed a practicing mind, the self-discipline and focus we all struggle with, becomes easier to wield.
A slow read, but it has some gems in it for sure.
7. Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength
Roy Baumeister is highly admired psychologists who teamed up with the renowned New York Times science writer, John Tierney, to create what is in a sense a self-control manifesto. Both authors do a great job of taking their vast knowledge of people and human psychology, to effectively sum up the power of willpower.
They give great examples of how we can refuel our willpower, and create effective habits that can actually make it easier for us to control ourselves. In short, you’ll learn the science behind self-control and many new and unique methods to help you master yours.
All in all, it’s a great book to read and an excellent building block to help you level up your self-discipline.
8. Think and Grow Rich
This book belongs in almost every self-improvement category, but it really shines when it comes to self-discipline.
When you read this book, you’ll gain a new awareness to success, gaining riches, and all that other achievement jazz. But most importantly, it will drill the point home, that no success, no great riches, no high achievements can be made if you have not mastered your thoughts.
And sure enough, the mastery of your thoughts comes down to your ability to discipline your mind on how to think, what to allow into your mind, and what kind of thoughts you should consistently be focusing on to achieve your goals.
This book is a must-read for the true seeker of success and self-discipline.
9. No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline
Brian Tracy has been around for a very long time, but his book on discipline, ‘No Excuses’ is still a great starting place if you are ambitious, just finishing up your schooling, or about to get started in the working world.
He’s a pretty much a ‘self-development guru’, since he’s been at this for so long. He covers many success maxims you’ve probably already heard, but he does a good job of tying them all together around the subject of self-discipline.
Reading this book will help you realize the value self-discipline plays in just about every area of our life.
10. The Power of Habit
Charles Duhigg does a great job illuminating the complexity of the science behind our habits and breaking it down into digestible insights.
You’ll learn that the bulk of what we does is governed by our habits, and how with a little bit of disciplined awareness, you can master the art of turning bad habits into good ones.
So, if you are have some bad habits you need to change, or some new habits you need to create, and want to ensure you have the discipline to see them through, get this book, it is the ultimate cheat sheet for mastering your habits.
11. The Warrior Ethos
This book not your typical book on discipline. It’s about an approach to life, it’s about an ethos.
It’s about an ethos that has become less and less apart of modern-day culture, yet, is the exact ethos most fit to help you embrace the struggles and toil of your every aspiration.
The tenets of the Warrior Ethos, directed inward, can inspire you to fight against and conquer the enemies that can be found within our own hearts and minds.
I highly recommend this book. It’s not a book 100% dedicated to self-discipline, so don’t expect a bunch of science and data. But, you can expect to be inspired and fired up to gain the discipline of a Spartan.
Read this book and gain the mental toughness you’ll need, if you want to have the self-discipline of a champion.
Coming in at number 12 on our list of books for building self-discipline is aptly named… ‘Self-Discipline’. This is a newer self-discipline book, but it deserves mentioning as it is jam packed with powerful principles that can help you build the mental toughness and tightened mental focus that lead to achievement. It is truly a simple and easy read, and gets right to the point on what self-discipline is and how anyone can get more of it.
Out of all of our best books on discipline, this book has been listed because it does a phenomenal job helping the reader learn that self-discipline is more than just a skillset, it is a lifestyle. And in my opinion, once you’ve accepted this fact and truly understand it… your ability to become the master of yourself and by extension, your fate will be transformed.
13. Make Your Bed
Make Your Bed is by far one of the more popular books on self-discipline and life improvement in general. It’s has garnered the prestigious title of a NY Times Best Seller, which we believe is a well deserved title. The author of Make Your Bed is Admiral William H. McRaven. And he wrote this book after giving a commencement speech that went viral. The message he conveyed it that commencement speech, and what he lays forth in this book, is about how the little things make a big difference in how our life turns out.
It’s is certainly not an academic book as it contains various short stories and anecdotes for life. However, it is a book that will at the very least inspire you to do the little things a little bit better and a little more consistently. And this will ultimately help you change your life. After all, that’s what self-discipline is all about, isn’t it? Consistently doing the little things.
14. The Science of Self-Discipline
Best-selling author and human psychology researcher Peter Hollins has created a one-of-a-kind resource with his book The Science of Self-Discipline. As someone who has studied high performance individuals for over a decade, Hollins really nails the psychology and science behind behind self-discipline in this book.
His book provides an 11 chapter road map that will help you understand everything from how your biology, habits, mindset, and environment can and will impact your discipline levels. As such, this discipline book comes highly recommended and should be added to your reading list as well, if you have yet to read it.
15. The Marshmallow Test
Walter Mischel is one of the world’s leading experts on self-control. His groundbreaking work on self-control (a.k.a. the famous marshmallow test) has helped him get cited more than any other psychologist when it comes to self-control, as he’s shown better than anybody else, the direct link that exists between delayed gratification and one’s ability to create a successful life for themselves.
With that said, this is a great book to study if you’re looking to master self-discipline and self-control, as Mischel provides countless antidotes and strategies that just about anyone can implement to gain mastery of both.
Bonus Self-Discipline Book: Discipline Equals Freedom
Sometimes, what we all really need to get the discipline we want is the cold hard truth. And that is exactly what Jocko Willink lays down for us in his book Discipline Equals Freedom. Hands down this is one of the best books on discipline.
This book is a must have for every discipline seeking individual, because Jocko speaks truth. No doubt, you may find what he has to say abrasive, maybe even a bit too straight-forward. But if you are truly seeking discipline, then you should be okay with his methods. Why? Because the ends justify the means.
This is a self-help book we all need to read in this day and age. And at the moment out of all of these books on discipline, this one is currently my favorite. It’s a book that will help you discipline your thoughts, which will then help you discipline your actions. So, if you’re ready to learn the simple truths about self-discipline, truths that will lead to disciplined action, then this book is for you.
GO FORTH AND BUILD YOUR SELF-DISCIPLINE
There you have it friends, the 15 best books on discipline that can help you improve your self-discipline and self-control. But don’t just let your learning lead to knowledge, let your learning lead to action. And for some bonus methods to discipline your thoughts, be sure to check out these highly effective discipline affirmations, and our highly popular discipline quotes.
Remember, all successful people are highly disciplined people. All unsuccessful people are usually undisciplined and unable to control their actions and appetites.
So, read these self discipline books, leverage your resources, and put what you learn into action, so when they talk about the 8% of people who follow through on their goals, they’ll be talking about you.
Till next time,
PS – These are the best books on discipline, no doubt about it! But if you’re looking for something to truly help you BE self-disciplined NOW, self-disciplined enough to actually achieve the big harry audacious goals you’ve set for yourself, then this is for you.
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