The Willpower of Instinct by Kelly McGonigal is based on a class at Stanford that the author teaches. This book breaks down willpower into three categories, “I won't”, “I will”, and “I want” powers. The “I won’t” power is what we already know, “I will” power pushes us to do what is uncomfortable to us, and the “I want” power is what gets us to keep striving for our goals. When we are faced with willpower challenges you activate your “pause and plan” response. This is the opposite of a fight or flight response where we will pause and reflect on our inner conflicts. To reach the full potential of better decision making we can start with basic changes such as a good diet, exercise, sleep, and mediation. Creating good habits to practice self-control, break bad ones, and motivate us to reach our long-term goals over instant gratification. Our past good experiences do not justify our present behaviors. Giving yourself a reward that drives you away from your goal is counterproductive to your success. For example, if you have a goal of saving money so you make a plan to only spend money on necessities, but the weekend comes around and you spend all the money you saved on things you do not need as a reward. Don't use your past success to fuel your failure.
The key message of this book is to learn how to get to our long-term goals, maintain and built our willpower, and gain control over our habits to live healthier more fulfilling lives. People will strong willpower tend to have long-lasting relationships, make more money, and are overall more successful.