The science of self-control

53 tips to stick to your diet, be more productive and excel in life

"If you end up integrating all the tips in this book on how to get things done, you'll become an unstoppable version of yourself."

Mike Israetel

PhD, professor & professional athlete

The Science of Self-Control Book Amazon Bestseller
The Science of Self-Control book by Menno Henselmans

"If I could go back and give my younger self 1 book, this would be the one by a long shot. Whoever is reading this, do yourself a favor and pick up this book."

Jordan Galida

Competitive powerlifter & bodybuilder

THe science of self control amazon rating

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Have you ever intended to get some work done but ended up on Instagram?
Have you ever intended to stick to your diet but ended up microwaving a pizza?
Have you ever intended to get to bed early but ended up seeing your laptop clock hit 02:00 AM?

Then I have good news and bad news.
The bad news is you lack self-control.
The good news is you’re human.
My goal is to make you superhuman.

In this book you’ll learn how to take control of your body and mind by drawing on cognitive neurosciences and behavioral psychology. Afterwards, you’ll have higher work productivity, better diet adherence and ultimately more success in life.

The Science of Self-Control Book Amazon Bestseller

After over 3 years of research and writing, I’m pleased to announce my book is finished.

The knowledge of 542 scientific references distilled into 53 practical tips to improve your willpower.

In 6 chapters I cover the essentials of how the human mind works, what willpower is, how to be more productive, how to stick to your diet, how to make your workouts less effortful and how to motivate yourself.

It’s almost all completely new content and the few people that have read it so far have said it’s possibly my best work yet.

One person said it’s too much value for 1 book and I should spread this out over at least 3 books.

If I could go back and give my younger self one book, this would be the one by a longshot. Whoever is reading this, do yourself a favor and pick-up this book.

Jordan Galida // Competitive powerlifter & bodybuilder

This book by Menno has been the best book I have read all year. The takeaways and tips for being productive have already been implemented into my daily routine. I feel like I have all the tools and knowledge necessary to make sustainable lifestyle changes.

Amazon customer

I really enjoy this book.
I have read a lot of "self help" books, and I can honestly say this is one of the best I have read. Too many self books are devoid of effective information, serving less as a conduit of learning and more of a flagrant self promotion of ones brand. This book breaks that trend by having effective, research-backed information that helps one make improvements in a short time.

Mathew Denton

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The science of self-control

The Science of Self-Control

"If you end up integrating all the tips in this book on how to get things done, you'll become an unstoppable version of yourself. Even with a casual read, you'll be sure to pick up a few tips that will instantly make a big difference in your life, such as the use of the Zeigarnik effect. Yep, this book is that useful. Enjoy it!"

- Mike Israetel, PhD, professor & professional athlete

Table of contents

Click here to see the table of contents


Chapter 1: 2-system theory

Chapter 2: thy will be done

  • The evolution of self-control

Chapter 3: how to be more productive

  • Why willpower is not like a muscle
  • Productivity tip 1: A lethal illusion
  • Productivity tip 2: The locus of control
  • Productivity tip 3: Framing for self-efficacy
  • Productivity tip 4: How to use the Zeigarnik effect to stop
  • Productivity tip 5: There’s no sin without temptation
  • Productivity tip 6: How to do more work while working less
  • Exercise
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Work hard, play hard
  • Power napping
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • The imaginary break
  • Productivity tip 7: How (not) to incentivize yourself and others
  • Productivity tip 8: Vary up your stimulus modalities
  • Productivity tip 9: To multitask or not to multitask?
  • Productivity tip 9.1: “Do not disturb”
  • Productivity tip 9.2: No peeking
  • Productivity tip 9.3: Batching
  • Productivity tip 9.4: The right number of projects to take on
  • Productivity tip 10: How to optimize your to-do list
  • Productivity tip 10.1: Beware of overuse
  • Productivity tip 10.2: How to structure your to-do list
  • Productivity tip 10.3: How to set deadlines
  • Productivity tip 10.4: The most important time to consult your to- do list 
  • Productivity tip 11: Wipe the bureaucracy from your mind
  • Productivity tip 12: Schedule your work in line with your circadian rhythm 
  • Productivity tip 13: Why Obama only wore 2 colors of suits
  • Productivity tip 14: The optimal work environment
  • Productivity tip 15: The Yerkes–Dodson law
  • Productivity tip 16: Mens sana in corpore sano

Chapter 4: how to stick to your diet

  • Diet tip 1: The flesh is strong, but the mind is weak
  • But what about blood sugar?
  • Postprandial somnolence
  • Diet tip 2: Hustle
  • Diet tip 3: Why ‘trying harder’ doesn’t work
  • Diet tip 4: The best macros for adherence
  • Diet tip 5: How to interpret your personal preference
  • Diet tip 6: How empty rewards can help us stick to our diet
  • Diet tip 7: How not taking breaks can break your diet
  • Diet tip 8: “Don’t bind bacon to the cat’s back”
  • Diet tip 9: Make a meal plan
  • Diet tip 10: Eat in line with your circadian rhythm
  • Diet tip 11: Constant macros
  • Diet tip 12: Projection bias
  • Diet tip 13: Don’t try to be a robot
  • Diet tip 13.1: Failure is a learning experience
  • Diet tip 13.2: Adopt a sustainable lifestyle perspective
  • Diet tip 13.3: View your calories as a budget
  • Diet tip 13.4: You don’t always have to spend everything
  • Diet tip 13.5: Think outside the lunchbox
  • Diet tip 14: How to stop food cravings
  • Diet tip 14.1: Mindfulness training
  • Diet tip 14.2: Episodic future thinking
  • The forbidden fruit effect
  • Diet tip 14.3: How to teach yourself to like healthy, low-calorie foods
  • Diet tip 15: How to cheat your diet
  • Diet tip 15.1: IIFYM
  • Diet tip 15.2: Think about food like an economist
  • Diet tip 15.3: Learn to prepare low-calorie comfort foods
  • Diet tip 15.4: How to fit indulgent cheat meals into your lifestyle
  • Diet tip 15.5: Eat out
  • Diet tip 15.6: Take a lesson from Japanese sushi etiquette
  • Diet tip 16: Do this before every meal
  • Diet tip 17: Do this after every meal
  • Diet tip 18: How to manage your appetite
  • Diet tip 18.1: Eat more, not less
  • Diet tip 18.2: More protein, but not too much
  • Diet tip 18.3: How much fiber you need
  • Diet tip 18.4: Eat mindfully
  • Diet tip 19: Minimize decision fatigue
  • Diet tip 20: How to build activity habits
  • Diet tip 21: Use action triggers
  • Diet tip 22: How to change bad eating habits
  • Diet tip 23: Get a standing desk
  • Diet tip 24: Use availability effects
  • Diet tip 25: The most useful skill that nobody regards as a skill
  • Diet tip 25.1: Shop satiated
  • Diet tip 25.2: Your grocery list is sacrosanct
  • Diet tip 25.3: Stay in the safe zones
  • Diet tip 25.4: How to organize your grocery list
  • Diet tip 26: Umami preloads
  • Diet tip 27: Learn how often to weigh yourself

Chapter 5: how to make exercise less effortful

  • Workout tip 1: Use caffeine (more) strategically
  • Workout tip 2: Listen to the right music
  • Workout tip 3: Intra-workout drinks
  • Workout tip 4: Optimize your training frequency
  • Workout tip 5: Optimize your training intensity
  • Workout tip 6: Use free weights

Chapter 6: how to motivate yourself

  • What is motivation and how do we get it?
  • Motivation tip 1: Cultivate competence
  • Motivation tip 1.1: Research
  • Motivation tip 1.2: Tracking
  • Motivation tip 2: How to set goals
  • Motivation tip 3: How to become more autonomous
  • Motivation tip 4: Connect
  • Motivation tip 4.1: Find a community
  • Motivation tip 4.2: How purpose motivates us, even when it’s nonsense



Author Menno Henselmans The Science of Self-Control

Menno Henselmans

Menno Henselmans is a former business consultant turned international public speaker, scientific researcher and educator. His works have been published in over a dozen languages and his website was ranked the #1 fitness website by The Huffington Post.

I’ve always been particularly interested in 3 things: fitness, happiness and productivity.

Since I graduated in behavioral economics at Warwick with a Master’s degree with distinction, I’ve always been particularly interested in 3 things: fitness, happiness and productivity.

This book ties those 3 topics together under the overarching theme of willpower with a no BS approach. My tips are very practical and as concrete as possible.

Not your typical self-help vague advice like: “Be more positive.” I tell you how to organize your day, how to build good habits and how to break bad ones; I even go into how to write your grocery list (yes, it matters).

If you care about your diet, your productivity or your wellbeing in general, I’m confident this book will add value to your life. In fact, I believe objectively this book is easily worth over a thousand dollars. Just calculate it.

If the productivity advice alone increases your average lifetime income by 3%, over the next 20 years that’s a net gain of 18.000 dollars on a 30k yearly income.

Not to mention the value of being leaner, having less stress over your diet and being happier.

Honestly, what are you still doing reading this page? Go read my book!

Get it now

Paperback version


eBook PDF Version

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Frequently asked questions

The book has sold out on my Amazon. Can I still buy it?

Yes, Amazon should print on demand. I know the book has sold out in a few Amazon stores, but it should become available again very soon.

How do I order the book if I don't live in the US?

The book's available globally. If you don't have an Amazon in your country, you can order the book from another Amazon. Shipping costs will be lowest for the closest one obviously:



You can also use the UK Amazon if you're in the Netherlands (DE also works) or Norway.








United Arab Emirates:

Can I purchase the book in India?

Unfortunately, Amazon KD Publishing does not support the Indian market. It's not possible to get the book on the Indian Amazon, and it seems like other Amazon marketplaces don't like to ship to India. 

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