What is Beeminder?
- Why would anyone want to do that?
- Can't I just turn the goal off and go on my merry way?
- What types of goals does Beeminder work for?
- What does the name mean?
Is there anything you want to do, that you can do, that historically you haven't actually done? Maybe you want to start going for a 15-minute walk every day at lunchtime. Maybe you have a huge exam in a month that you really should start studying for now, not three weeks from now. Maybe you're trying to stop smoking. Definitely doable, really quite simple... and yet, you can't get it done, no matter how many sensible plans you make. It's always so tempting to do something fun instead, or find other things that feel more important in the moment.
That's what Beeminder is for. Beeminder lets you create goals like these and pledge money that you'll achieve them this time around. If you fall far enough off track, you pay us your pledge amount!
...And then of course we get your graph back on track, so you have to keep trying. By default, the pledge will escalate each time, but you can set the pledge cap anywhere you're comfortable with, from $5 up.
Why would anyone want to do that?
Well, the simplest reason is: because it works!
Setting up a commitment contract via Beeminder forces you to toe the line at least for a while, so that when/if you do fall off track, then the motivation it provided up until that point still seems worth it. Maybe the threat of losing $5 to Beeminder motivated you to run 5 miles a week for 4 weeks before your first derailment. $5/month is quite a bit cheaper than most gym memberships, just sayin'.
Everything we’ve worked on in building Beeminder has been with the objective of making people succeed. We’d have to be very myopic for it to be otherwise — if Beeminder isn't helping people, they'll stop paying, and we'll be out of business!
It’s very important to us that no one ever derail on a technicality (so you can reply to the legitimacy check explaining what happened if you feel that's the case, and we'll help you sort it out). We want to make money by making you more awesome, and we’re convinced that’s what’s happening. But don’t take our word for it. Try it and see — you can start with a $0 pledge, so there's no money at stake for your first derailment.
Can't I just turn the goal off and go on my merry way?
Nope! At least... not right away.
After the initial week during which you can delete a goal, it takes 7 days for your goal to be archived and stop requiring data. That's the akrasia horizon, which helps avoid your short-term desires getting in the way of your long-term goals. There's no getting out of it on the spur of the moment.
That said, you can always add breaks and adjust your goals if things aren't quite working out, subject to that seven-day wait. You can even set end dates well in advance, if you know when your goal needs to end. Beeminder combines the need for flexibility with the inability to just make decisions on the spur of the moment.
What types of goals does Beeminder work for?
Just about anything! If you can somehow quantify it, you can beemind it.
Goals with obvious numbers and metrics involved work great: workout minutes, calories eaten, hours studied, dollars saved, weight in pounds, miles biked.
But you can absolutely use Beeminder for "softer", more qualitative goals as well: if you want to "be a nicer person", you might create a goal to "give two compliments per day", for example. "Keep a cleaner house" might turn into a goal to "clean one room per week". "Keep my temper" might be "+1 if I didn't snap at anyone today".
We've seen a ton of goals over the years, all over the spectrum. No limits to what you can choose to beemind!
What does the name mean?
Beeminder reminds you and binds you. It’s Beeminder, the me-binder. It’s reminders with a sting. Mind your goals, and be minded. Oh, and our esteemed co-founder, Bethany Soule, goes by “Bee.” A lot of things!
Keywords: newbees, introduction to Beeminder