Discipline means freedom. Probably, many will not agree with this statement, as discipline can be identified, rather, with the lack of freedom. But, Jim Rohn said, “Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure.” or better said lack of balance in your life can lead to failure. If you are ready to start your new year with some self-improvement here are some of the best books on self-discipline and some easy advice in order to improve this part of yourself.

Let us start by understanding what self-discipline means.

How does a lack of discipline manifest itself?

For example, you suddenly lose interest in a project you started. Or, instead of going to the gym, you sit on the couch and watch TV.

Certainly, many people have poor self-discipline. Perhaps some cannot now do many things they would like to do (play a musical instrument, for example) because they were not disciplined at the right time.

The truth is that self-discipline can be developed. This can be developed in the same way as muscle mass. Maybe the results won’t show up in the first month of work, but along the way, you’ll see big, long-term progress. These books on self-discipline can help you gain a new perspective on what you can do in order to improve this area of your life.

The elements of self-discipline

1. Self-knowledge

Discipline is the ability to act on what you believe is right. You need to identify what behavior best reflects your goals and values. This process requires a lot of introspection, and the best way to do this self-analysis is in written form. Take the time to write down your goals, dreams, and ambitions.

2. Awareness

Self-discipline depends on being aware of what you know how to do and what you don’t know how to do. The key is to identify and understand your undisciplined behavior, which will give you the opportunity to make a decision that aligns with your goals and values.

3. Commitment

And..it’s not enough to just write your goals and values on a piece of paper. You must also make a commitment to fulfill them. You can start by making a conscious decision that you will complete what you set out to do. At the same time, they accept recommendations from disciplined people who have experience and have achieved many good things in their lives.

4. Courage

Know that there is nothing terrible in setting yourself complicated tasks. Do you want a successful career? Through self-discipline, you can get it! Find in yourself the courage to face any challenges and difficulties. You will find that as soon as you start making small progress, your confidence and courage will increase, and after that, your self-discipline will increase.

5. Internal dialogue

Talking to yourself can be a good thing. When you’re struggling, talk to yourself, encourage yourself and be zen. The internal dialogue will give you the opportunity to remind yourself of your goals, gather courage, strengthen your commitment and help you know your challenges.

I’ll present next the best books for self-discipline which can be very helpful when trying to improve yourself.

So here are the top 5 books you can read for self-discipline that I recommend

1. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

I can say that Atomic Habits is the best non-fiction book for improving your self-discipline. I hope to find more books that inspire me so much.

The central thesis of this book circumscribes the theory that most of the time, large-scale changes do not come from grandiose actions, but from “atomic” habits, repeated stoically, day after day. Clear aims to highlight how seemingly small changes in our routine can lead to remarkable long-term results. For this, the author refers to the life course of several outstanding personalities. For example, he talks about what helped Victor Hugo become such a famous writer, or how Benjamin Franklin changed the course of United States history to such an extent. Starting from such stories, which come with a strong inspirational infusion, the author offers pointed advice, in order to achieve excellence.

The first thing James Clear talks about in Atomic Habits is setting systems, not goals. If your goal is to lose 5 kg, sooner or later you will succeed. Then you’ll probably gain the weight back, or you probably won’t. But this will not radically change your life. In other words, what you need to do is not set a goal, but a system. One that represents you as a person and on which to base your future choices.

James Clear also says in Atomic Habits that the easiest way to form new habits is to join a culture where the habits you want to develop are normal behaviors. For example, it will be easier for you to smoke less if you become friends with a group where there are no smokers and you frequently meet at the house of one of them that does not allow you to smoke indoors.

This book is rated 5 out of 5 on Amazon and has more than 92 thousand reviews making it also one of the best books on self-discipline.

2. The Power of Discipline: How to Use Self Control and Mental Toughness to Achieve Your Goals

In this wonderful book, author Daniel Walter highlights strategies for becoming more self-motivated, mentally tough, and of course self-disciplined.

As the author said, “Self-discipline is like a key—it unlocks the door to personal fulfillment and opens the door to the life you have been dreaming of. With self-discipline, the average person can rise further than intelligence and talent alone will take them, and the ordinary person can become extraordinary. On the other hand, an educated, talented person without self-discipline will rarely rise above mediocrity.”

We may find it easier or harder to maintain self-control and this is based on the structure of our prefrontal cortex. As we can learn in this book on self-discipline, it’s a skill that can be mastered and strengthened by making wise and healthy decisions. 

Self-control can diminish when you make poor decisions. These decisions can negatively influence your physical and mental well-being. Therefore, we must put effort every day into the things that train our self-discipline, especially by delaying our gratification.

Self-discipline depends on your focus; as you focus more on your goal, it will become easier for you to perform the necessary tasks.

As can be seen, this second-best book for self-discipline is different than the first one bringing into focus 2 main things: self-control and self-discipline. This book offers a different perspective on this area and has 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

3. The third of the top 5 best books for self-discipline is: Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results

Mini Habits is a habit-forming book that comes with a simplified recipe and can help you on improving your self-discipline. If books like Atomic Habits appeal to the scientific side, talk about processes in the brain, and present complicated recipes, in Stephen Guise’s book things are much simplified. The author says, in short, that if you want to form a lasting habit, the easiest way is to start with very small steps that you practice daily.

The “recipe” from Mini Habits is interesting. I found the approach interesting. The author comes with many practical examples, but the book also includes the results of some studies. It’s something I look for in non-fiction books for more believability. Beyond that, it’s a light book (literally and figuratively) that’s perfect to read on the bus or subway.

Mini Habits is a book for those concerned about living in harmony with themselves and their bodies. Although it has many limitations, the book remains an interesting read. I would recommend it, especially to those not so familiar with non-fiction. If you’ve read a lot on the subject, it probably won’t come up with anything new, so you can skip it. But if you want to read more non-fiction this year (like me) put it on the list because it is a very helpful book that can help you in many areas of your life.

Mini Habits by Stephen Guise is rated 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon and has more than 2000 reviews which can further help you understand the benefits that this book can offer.

4. No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline for Success in Your Life

The book “No excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline” is a guide to learning how to be successful in life. The key concepts of this book are well defined and delineated in the idea of being understood by the reader in a very simple and easy way. These are:

  • Discipline
  • Self-control and self-mastery – this quality is paramount in everyone’s life and helps achieve achievements and reach one’s potential.

I can say that this book provides the experts’ answers based on his experience throughout his professional career, structured in a rudimentary form, just for the simple fact of being understood by everyone.

Through this book, you can learn how to take complete control of your life and how to effectively manage your time to achieve your long-desired goals. At the same time, the author addresses everyone who wants to achieve financial independence.

Brian TRACY, the author of this book is the President and CEO of Brian TRACY International, a company specializing in business coaching, personal coaching, and professional development.

No excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline has convinced me that it’s worth reading and can help you a lot in improving self-discipline. It has 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon and also more than 2 thousand reviews.

5. The last book from the top 5 books for self-discipline is: Mindful Self-Discipline: Living with Purpose and Achieving Your Goals in a World of Distractions

If you want to live a meaningful life, build good habits and achieve your goals, there is one skill that is more important than anything else: self-discipline. Self-discipline isn’t about being inflexible, it’s about living your best life. It’s the superpower of focus in a world of distractions – allowing you to overcome procrastination, excuses, bad habits, low motivation, failures, and self-doubt. With its help, you can stay on track with your values and goals even when you don’t feel inspired. This manual to develop your self-discipline contains:

  • Over 50 exercises explained step by step
  • Links to scientific studies on each topic
  • Many, many examples – to help you effectively apply all this knowledge

Cultivating self-discipline, the author argues, improves your focus and well-being and gives you the personal power you need to achieve your goals.

As a meditation teacher and self-discipline coach, Giovanni Dienstmann has helped hedge fund managers, CEOs, entrepreneurs, ambitious professionals, artists, and pro athletes to live a more focused and disciplined life. Since 2014 he has been successfully coaching people to overcome distractions, procrastination, self-doubt, fear, and other forms of self-sabotage. Whatever self-discipline challenge you face, whatever excuse you are telling yourself – Mindful Self-Discipline is a collection of all these years of experience, converted into a tool for you to use.

This revolutionary book is a comprehensive and practical guide for you to develop self-discipline in a balanced way – without beating yourself up. This book emphasizes the use of mindfulness and awareness as key components for building habits, rather than forcefulness and willpower. If you have tried other methodologies and failed, then this is for you.

Although it has just around 400 reviews on Amazon and a strong 4.7 out of 5 stars rating, this book convinced me that it’s worth reading and can offer a different perspective on this subject. Therefore the last book from this top 5 books for self-discipline that I recommend is Mindful Self-Discipline by Giovanni Dienstmann.

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