What's the best way to beemind ______?

This depends on a lot of things! Everyone is different, has different goals, and cares more or less about different metrics to accomplish those goals. It often takes a few false starts to figure out what you care about most, as well as what you can actually reasonably accomplish alongside the rest of your life. We absolutely encourage you to use that free delete in the first 7 days, and take as many tries as you need to get the goal set up in a way that works for you.

Having said that... we have some recommendations, of course, from speaking to thousands of users over the last several years and seeing which goals succeeded and which haven't (yet!).

All the things

Some users come to Beeminder and immediately set up dozens of goals that they want to do Every Day. Which is fine, and we're super-excited that they are super-excited! But... if you weren't already flossing your teeth, waking up at 6am, eating 6 servings of veggies, reading 50 pages, working 2 hours on a side hustle, watching 1 educational talk, writing 750 words, and saving $10 per day before you found us, it's probably not going to be easy to make all those life changes at once. (And if you were doing all those things before, you really don't need to beemind them!) You might make it a few extra-motivated weeks before you have a down day that turns into a festival of weaseling.

We recommend starting out with a few goals that you care the most about, and start reasonably with the rates! If you currently eat 0 servings of veggies per day, 6 per day might be an unsustainable transition. You can change your goal rate in the future if you want to make things easier or harder, and you can quit a goal entirely with 7 days' notice. When you've found a good balance with your existing goals, add new ones — but remember to start them small!

Losing (or gaining) weight

Creating a weight goal with no supporting activity goals is usually not a recipe for success. It's best to beemind things you have direct control over. Like how much sugar you're eating, or how many minutes you spend doing cardio, or how much water you drink. You don't exactly have direct control over your weight. And it's a huge bummer to do all the right things, but still end up derailing a weight goal because your body just wasn't losing as fast as the rate you set! But over time, if you do all the right things, it'll move in the right direction.

We recommend creating a weight goal with a super-modest slope. -0.1 or -0.2 pounds per week, even! (A goal to ensure that you step on the scale regularly is not a bad idea, either.) Then supplement that goal with some steeper Do More or Do Less goals for the activities that will cause you to lose weight: exercise more, eat less sugar, achieve a caloric deficit, etc. You'll always know what you need to do to stay on the road for these goals, and you have complete control over whether or not you do it. If you keep at it over time, the weight goal will take care of itself.

This is the most common Beeminder goal, so we've got a lot of relevant blog posts for further reading!

Reading books

Only use an Odometer if you're entering page number datapoints to track pages read (and if you're not tracking multiple books at one time). Otherwise, use a Do More.

Wake up (or go to bed) on time

Create a Do More goal and set the deadline to the latest time you want to wake up. The reminder start time needs to be earlier than your deadline, so you might want to set it to your "first alarm time" — Beeminder can send you your reminders as additional buzzes to get up! When you wake up, submit a 1 to the goal. If you don't submit the 1 early enough (e.g. if you sleep through your alarm...), your goal will derail!

The earliest you can set the deadline right now is 7am. Times before 6am will sort of work, but you'll be "off" by one day in your data tracking: a 5:30am wakeup on September 2nd will be logged in Beeminder on September 1.

Same applies for going to bed, but submit the datapoint when you're settling into bed instead!

Never do a thing

We recommend starting with a Do More goal to "not do the thing" with a rate of 7 days per week. Submit a 1 every time you have a day without doing the thing, and a 0 if you did do the thing that day.

Another approach is to create a Do Less goal to "do the thing" with a rate of 0 days per week. Submit a 0 every time you have a day without doing the thing, and a 1 if you did do the thing that day. Both are totally valid and will work fine, but the Do More goal is just a lot easier to beemind in Beeminder's current state.

(Whether or not we think "doing never" is the best idea in the first place is a different issue! Cold turkey really works for some and really does not work for others, so give your goal rate some serious thought before defaulting to "never.")

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