Build your Willpower - The Science of Self-Control
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Build your Willpower - The Science of Self-Control

Learn about the science behind strong willpower. Raise your self-control and achieve your goals.
4.0 (46 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
3,163 students enrolled
Created by Manuel Kraus
Last updated 7/2015
Price: $200
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 8 Articles
  • 4 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • use a wide variety of willpower hacks
  • how to trick yourself into self-control
  • understand how willpower works and use this understanding to take control of your life
  • resist impulses more easily
  • build your willpower levels over time
View Curriculum
  • All materials and worksheets will be provided so no additional information is needed prior to starting this course.

Based on the latest research and cutting-edge insights from psychology, neuroscience and medicine, this course distills it all into practical lessons and tools to build your self-control.

Use self-control to improve your health, happiness and productivity

  • Learn how to train the brain areas in charge of self-control
  • Get a wide variety of willpower hacks that you can apply right away
  • Learn to switch from the emotional to the rational brain system
  • Increase your willpower energy reservoir
  • And much more

Willpower is a skill, not an innate virtue. This course will teach you how to build it

Self-control affects your life almost constantly. Whether it's going for a run after work, writing another job application or resisting the temptation of watching another episode Big Bang Theory. All of these decisions depend on your self-control.

When it comes to success, self-control is more important than intelligence. It's more important than the education you got or how ambitious you are. Research shows that your willpower affects your income, how successful your career is and how healthy you are – both physically and mentally.

This course will teach you to learn and apply the insights psychologists and neuroscientists have had over the last decades. And it will take you on a journey towards understanding and mastering willpower. To maximize your success, health and happiness.

One more thing: You have a totally unconditional money back guarantee. It allows you to study the course for 30 days and if you are in any way unhappy with it, you will get a full refund, no questions asked! Enrolling in the course is absolutely risk free.

Click the "Take This Course" button now and enroll!

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is about willpower. It covers scientific background information but at the core it's about applying the knowledge. That's why willingness to engage in the activities and apply the lessons is required. No prior knowledge is needed.
  • The course is well suited for people who want to change towards a healthier lifestyle (for example: dieting, exercising)
  • This course is well suited for people who want to get rid of addiction-like behavior (for example: smoking)
  • This course is well suited for people who want to be able to stop procrastinating
Compare to Other Willpower Courses
Curriculum For This Course
81 Lectures
Intro and Course Overview
5 Lectures 08:03

If you're still deciding whether to go through the course or not, do a quick risk-reward analysis.

Not sure about going through the course? Do this!

Risk-Reward Analysis
1 page

Focus on one self-control challenge throughout the course.

Choosing a Self-Control Challenge
Willpower Basics - Hot and Cool
7 Lectures 16:34

Self-control is the ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.

What is Self-Control?

Research show that self-control is a key aspect in human behavior. People with higher levels of self-control:

  • are more successful in their career
  • have better health
  • earn more money
  • recover better from addictions
  • and quite a bit more
Why Self-Control is Important

More than 40 years ago, the psychologist Walter Mischel had a pioneering idea: He wanted to study self-control in the laboratory.

His findings are our first stop in this course on self-control.

The Marshmallow Test

One idea is that willpower is two different brain systems. The cool system is cognitive in nature. It's our thinking system, incorporating knowledge about sensations, feelings, actions and goals. While the cool system is reflective, the hot system is impulsive and emotional. The hot system is responsible for quick, reflexive responses to certain triggers.

Hot and Cool System

The first and most important ingredient to shift from hot to cool system is self-awareness.

If you're not aware that something's challenging your self-control, the hot system will automatically take over.
Self-awareness for Higher Willpower

Understanding the obstacles, your usual points of willpower failure, is an important step towards more self-awareness and control.

Identify Willpower Obstacles

Going from Hot to Cool
The Willpower Muscle
8 Lectures 17:40

Back in 1996, Roy Baumeister conducted an experiment that involved chocolate chip cookies. Based on his findings, he developed a new theory that revolutionized our understanding of self-control.

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Your Willpower

When psychologists examined the factors that impact whether or not a judge approves a criminal for parole, they found out something interesting. Self-control is like an energy reservoir.

Preview 04:52

This video is about the energy model of self-control.

Willpower Depletion Explained

Whichever area you chose to focus on during this course, you'll find that every day you have to make decisions with regards to it.

Activity: Track Your Decisions for a Day

Focus on one change at a time

Reduce the Number of Decisions

Get a Sugar Boost
Your Brain in Control
11 Lectures 29:46

Neuroscience of Willpower

The Brain - Your Willpower Muscle

Mindfulness Meditation for More Willpower

Activity: Mindful Breaths for Self-Control

Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation – Resources

Surf the Urge

Activity: Surfing the Urge Meditation

A Few Thoughts on Mindfulness

Willpower Workout
Willpower Beliefs
13 Lectures 33:41

Beliefs about Willpower

Helpful Willpower Beliefs

Understanding Willpower Mindsets

Thinking Error: Low Frustration Tolerance

Rethinking discomfort

Using ABC-Sheets to Identify LFT beliefs

1 page

Activity: Exposure

Activity – Postponing Gratification

Identifying Self-Sabotaging Beliefs

Dealing with Self-Sabotage

Spend Some Time Before Moving On
Present vs Future Self
19 Lectures 43:55

Present vs Future Self – Two Different People?

Use this to talk to your future self

Jerry Seinfeld on future self-continuity

A Letter to Your Future Self

To email your future self

A Message from Your Future Self

Homer Simpson on his Future Self

Reward Substitution

Activity: Reward Substitution


Know Your WHY

Pause and Plan

Priming your Why

Trick your brain: Force a Start

Trick your brain: Postpone

Mental Contrasting + Implementation Intentions

Instructions: Mental Contrasting + Implementation Intention
1 page
Your Body on Willpower
10 Lectures 16:57

Willpower and Heart Rate Variability

What impacts your heart-rate variability

Increasing Heart-Rate-Variability: Willpower Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing

Physical exercise for more willpower

Better nutrition: The most ignored route to higher willpower

Sleep: The easiest route to higher willpower

Get Rest

Get Rest 2
Putting Self-Control in Context
7 Lectures 19:12

Remove Temptations and Distractions

Your Social Environment

Get a willpower buddy

Build Habits

Break Habits

Apps for Self-Control
2 pages
1 Lecture 01:48
Thank you and Good Bye
About the Instructor
Manuel Kraus
4.3 Average rating
130 Reviews
9,288 Students
7 Courses
Udemy Premium Instructor for Positive Psychology

Manuel Kraus is the founder of Pocketcoach, a therapy chatbot to support people with anxiety, and Good Life Foundation, an organization seeking to empower individuals and communities across the world to live happy and fulfilled lives by teaching positive psychology. He is also an expert in the field and one of only a few people in the world holding a master's degree in applied positive psychology. His main research interest focuses on the experience of meaning in life.

He teaches positive psychology in workshops and seminars, and is the author of a series of online courses covering topics ranging from building positive emotions and self-esteem to changing mindsets and overcoming tough times.

Positive psychology is the scientific study of life flourishing and optimal human functioning. It asks questions like these: What do very happy people do differently? How do the most successful people think and act?What makes some married couples stay together happily for many decades while others break up within months or years? And why are some people able to bounce back from failures while others succumb to them?

Happiness is not the absence of sadness and anger, and eliminating weaknesses does not mean we are really good at something. Many, many experiments, case studies, analyses and other forms of rigorous research have been conducted to provide insights into what makes our lives good and how we manage to live happily and successfully. Unfortunately, this science is not yet accessible to many people. That is why Manuel is committed to teach these findings and applications. His goal is to help create the foundations for everyone to live a good life by making positive psychology research accessible to everybody.

'I believe that the scientific study of what makes our lives most worth living can help people transform their lives. That is why I teach about topics like personal growth, building fulfilling relationships, goal-setting, mindfulness, self-esteem and realizing strengths. My personal mission is to make positive psychology research accessible to everybody, and thereby creating the foundations for people to live a good life and help build a better world.'