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

by Kelly McGonigal


What is willpower, how does it work, and how can one achieve it? All these questions are answered in The Willpower Instinct, a book about harnessing, training, and applying your willpower to boost productivity and, in turn, your health and happiness.

The science and advice in this book have been broken down into several concrete actions you can practice daily to rejuvenate your mind and refocus it in the area you want to improve upon. Pick even one habit—you’ll notice the difference in your quality of life soon enough!

About the Author

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, an award-winning science journalist, and a leading expert on the mind-body relationship. Her teaching and writing focus on the applications of psychological science to personal health and happiness, as well as public policy and social change. 

Great ideas from this book


1. Identify and describe the inner conflict that keeps you from being productive.

2. Develop self-awareness.

3. Meditate every day.

4. Plan your day according to the timings that your self-control is at its peak.

5. Watch your diet—eat foods that keep your mind healthy, energetic, and focused.

6. Train your mind to have lasting self-control.

7. When things get tough, remind yourself of your motivations.

8. Reward yourself appropriately.

9. Forgive yourself for your failures.

10. Fight temptation.

11. Commit yourself to achieve your goals by getting rid of temptation.

12. Fight being negatively influenced by others.

13. Follow your role model.

14. Stay motivated with the help of others.

Stress Management

15. Boost your mood, de-stress, and get into the right mindset to be productive.

16. Discover healthy ways to combat stress.