How do I set a goal with a weekly rate?

We used to let you create goals with commitments specified as some amount per week (aka weekly rates) but users found this misleading, as the goals still derailed based on whether you were on track at the end of the day, not at a set point at the end of your week. We always calculated a daily rate, so for example a rate of 1/week was 1/7 per day, roughly 0.14 units. At 0.14 units per day, you'd meet your goal at the end of the week.

This is now explicit: you always set your goal in terms of units per day, and your first entry will be necessary the day after creating your goal unless you use the option to add extra leeway.

That said, a lot of people have successfully used Beeminder to complete goals like "workout out 3 times a week"! You just need to keep in mind that Beeminder is thinking of it in terms of a daily rate, and you have to do that daily amount each day on average.

Additional caveat: we always start by assuming your goal units are integers, so your goal will ask for +1 at first. That's normal, and we initially try to match the precision you use in data entry, so if you start using decimals in your units, we will too (e.g. if you enter 0.5, we'll start displaying how much is due per day to one decimal place). You can change this whenever you like from the Settings section of your goal, as well.

Example weekly goal:

  1. Head to create a new goal (also accessible through the New Goal link in the top menu).
  2. Click the + icon to start a new manual entry goal.

    Goal setup: "How will you track your progress?" with a button immediately below captioned "Add progress manually to Beeminder"
  3. You can select any goal type here, but we're going to choose the most straightforward and common goal type. Let's say we want to run six miles per week, in three sessions: we start by selecting a Do More goal, because we want to Do More miles.

    Goal creation: Select goal type. Shows all the current goal types (Do More, Do Less, Lose Weight, Gain Weight, Custom, Odometer and Whittle Down), with the Do More option in the top left highlighted.
  4. Enter the units you want to use and the amount you want to commit to. In this example, I'm aiming to run 6 miles per week, which I'm planning to complete via 3 runs of 2 miles each. That's the same as a goal to run 0.86 miles per day (3*2=6, 6/7=0.86). I don't need to calculate that out, though -- I can just enter 6/7, and Beeminder will automatically calculate what that means.

    GIF file showing how 6/7 gets converted automatically to 0.86 per day

    If you want to delay your goal's start a few days (maybe you're traveling this weekend), be sure to tick the Start this goal with extra leeway box. Enter the number of days you want to delay and press Continue.

    Goal setup: "Commit to at least" followed by a stepper/number entry box to set the amount per day. Below that you can set the units for the goal, and then check the "extra leeway" button to set things up so your goal doesn't start right away.

    If you want to start right away, but you don't want to get charged for missing your goal until the end of a week, you could start with 7 days of buffer. If you complete your six units by the end of the week, you'll keep 7 days of buffer going forward.

  5. Next up, give your goal a brief name. If you want, you can also write a short description with more information.

    "Give your goal a name", followed by two text entry boxes. The first allows you to enter a short slug which will name your goal and create a URL for it. The second textbox allows you to set a short description, and is optional.
  6. Finally, choose your initial pledge. This is the amount you will pay the first time you derail on the goal. After derailing, the pledge will increase by default — use the dropdown below to control how high it goes. In the example below, I have chosen to start at a $5 pledge, which will increase each time I derail, until it reaches $270 — the pledge cap. (To read more about pledges and payments, check out some FAQs!)

    Screenshot of the "Pledge your money" screen, showing the starting stakes (choosing between $0 and $5 using radio buttons). The text below that says "Your pledge will increase each time you derail until you reach your pledge cap", with a demonstration below showing the pledge progression: 5, 10, 30, 90... to the pledge cap, which is a set of stepper buttons currently showing $270.
  7. I'll step through the confirmations and preview sections... and now my goal is ready to go! I'll need to go for my first run in 4 days (or sooner) to avoid paying Beeminder my first $5!

    Example goal: shanaqui has to complete at least +1 mile of running in 4 days or pay $5
    But wait! I wanted to run 3 times a week, and this goal is asking me to run +1 mile in 4 days... Did something go wrong in setup? Nope! The way Beeminder works is that it calculates a daily amount, even if you want to do something weekly. Remember when we set the rate to 6/7 above? That means I need to average 6/7 per day -- but that doesn't actually mean I need to run every day. If I overachieve, I get safety buffer.

    For example, if I enter +2 before the deadline, I'll get more than one day of safety, so I get a day off before I have to run 2 miles on Wednesday, and so on. The "Amounts due by day" section in your goal's statistics will help check on this!

    The "Amounts Due By Day" table for the example goal, showing that +1 is due in five days, and +2 in six days, etc

See also our article, "How do I tell Beeminder what day my week starts?".

Keywords: daily vs weekly confusion, newbees, daily rate vs weekly rate

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