"All Green" meta-beeminding goal


I have a beeminder goal called “allgreen”. The idea is that on days where every goal other than allgreen is in the green (“outperforming the yellow brick road”), I get to record a point. The goal is set to 1.5 days / week (I’m considering putting it up to two, but so far 1.5 seems good).

It’s been running for a few weeks now and so far I’d describe it as an unqualified success. It results in a much more relaxing beeminder experience where I’m still getting stuff done but it feels less panic driven, and encourages me to look much further ahead with my goals. It also sometimes encourages me to put more than minimum effort in because it means I can plan on getting a second all green day the next day.

Don’t know how it will go long-term - for some unknown reason meta beeminding goals for me have historically started well and gone downhill over time - but in the meantime I’m enjoying the change and would recommend trying it out yourself.

Is this a weasely meta-beeminding rule change?

This has been huge for me as well! Turned Beeminder from an experience of negative reinforcement to one of positive reinforcement. Though I don’t have a specific goal for it; I just rely on the aesthetic pleasure of nine green goal widgets on my phone screen.


Yeah, there’s a huge aesthetic pleasure to having the wall of green, but I don’t find that’s enough to motivate me to get there, basically because akrasia. Fortunately there’s this thing called beeminder that is good at helping me avoid akrasia :smiley:


I’m curious what you do with goals which cannot be done more than once a day. Do they cause allgreen to derail or do you not have very many of them?


This is a fantastic idea! I’d read @nepomuk’s “all green” post about the satisfaction of seeing them all be in the green, but not taken the mental step of codifying that as a concrete goal. Like @drmaciver, I need that akratic butt-kick. So thanks!


I don’t really have any other than caffeinefree (which tends to stay permanently in the green due to structural reasons, and has been way in the green for the entire time I’ve had the allgreen goal on).

I have found I’m motivated to work on allgreen more or less as soon as it goes blue, so if these goals are ones that can go from red to green with only ~3 days of work that might not be a problem.


Heh no it takes weeks (the rate is 6/week, limit 1/day).


Yeah, no specific advice on what to do here then because I don’t have that problem. :slight_smile: There are a bunch of things you could try (e.g. exclude it entirely, or you get to count a point if you’ve got everything you could green and done maximum effort towards everything else) but I don’t know what would work best.


If you schedule a 3-day flat spot in any such goals and just keep doing the thing daily then at the end of the flat spot you’ll be in the green and will stay there as long as you keep on doing the thing daily.

Link: blog.beeminder.com/mirabai


It’s amazing that you posted this just a week ago because I was recently discussing the potential of a “master goal” meta-goal that can rule the the other goals in the land of Akrasia where the shadows dwell*. I must have got the idea through the aether (from you?) at about the same time.

So far, it is going great, my goals are all green, which hasn’t happened in months.

I know part of this could be attributable to the bloom of early goal-setting. That can often propel efforts that seem superhuman when looking back only a few months down the road of mundane tasks. It goes ever on.

So Akrasia behaviour experts - what do you say about meta goals, and why do they seem to be so motivating? Should this be something that is formally incorporated into Beeminder?

*Discussion over email with Beeminder intelligentsia pertaining to my blatant weaselly weaselling on a hated goal, for which I was only partly let off the hook. Fair, but strict.


Oh, you just reminded me that I’ve been sitting on an idea for years – http://expost.padm.us/metamind – about making an official Beeminder integration for Beeminder.

(Also, you’re cracking me up, @callumm :slight_smile: )


Then I just noticed this while creeping around your beeminders. It’s like when you grow a moustache and suddenly notice how many other people have moustaches.



Ha, but that’s not a meta goal in the sense of beeminding one’s beeminding. My so-called meta goal is just me beeminding my job (which happens to be working on Beeminder).


This is a fantastic idea! I’d read @nepomuk’s “all green” post about the satisfaction of seeing them all be in the green, but not taken the mental step of codifying that as a concrete goal. Like @drmaciver, I need that akratic butt-kick. So thanks!

So one week in, this has been a really cool thing. In addition to monitoring my in-the-red goals and making sure I did them every eep day, I monitored two steps into the future. And on Friday I was Kick Ass Incarnate (but in the much cooler Hit Girl incarnation). I doubled up on several goals (30 minutes of language study instead of 15, double the Kegels, etc) and powered through a few I’d put on my to-do list but had absolutely no desire to do (cardio, weights). And I got everything in the green by Friday evening. Yay, me!

It’s a somewhat heroic effort, and while the gamification aspect of making it happen was fun on Friday, it also reinforced the sensibility of having All Green be a modest once-a-week goal. It doesn’t feel like a sustainable level of effort, each day every day. But as a once-a-week push, it’s pretty great.

One week in, at any rate. :slight_smile:


Ironically, it should in theory be no harder to get all goals from blue back to green every day than it is to get them from red back to orange, ie, the usual akratic mode of beeminding where everything is always a beemergency.

But psychologically I like @grayson’s compromise of enforcing all-green once a week. It might even be a nice approximation of the (premium) weekends-off feature.


A neat side effect of having the All Green goal was that, even though I could have taken the entire weekend off (because everything was green), I found myself strategically adding three or four goals to my list each day Saturday and Sunday, in preparation for the coming week.

Yes—what made Friday a heroic effort was the push to move from eep-minding to all-green-minding.

It’s just really neat to see that

(a) the heroic push to get All Green was fun, unlike getting everything out of the red which is generally stressful;

(b) my planning strategy has now moved to the weekly level, staggering which goals I’ll work on each day to ensure All Green gets a point by next Friday.

Presumably, enforcing all-green more times a week would move my planning progressively closer to the daily level again. It also means that every day would feel equivalent to my usual beemergency day—only with different colors. I suspect I’ll be happier keeping it at once a week, as an “extra credit” kind of thing that feels like a fun challenge rather than a daily slog, and enjoying the greater relaxation that the extra buffer gives me in the intervening days.

(By which I mean “feeling less stress from beemergencies,” not “slacking off until things are back in the red.” In an average week, I may not see any red at all, anymore, but keeping All Green at a low rate means I have buffer should the week be non-average in some unexpected way.)


I basically second everything @grayson has to say here, and this has continued to be my experience about 3 weeks in.

I’ve done three sets of two all green days in a row. I find that I’m generally much on top of things than I have historically been. I went to a conference and didn’t have to email support to cry uncle, which basically never happens (though I do have two eep days today)!


I currently have 3 goals that are red, red, and orange, each of which is very hard or impossible to increase by >1 unit per day, and which have rates of 5 units per week, 6 units per week, and 3 units per week (weekdays only), respectively. In addition to these, I have 2 more goals which frequently go red and for which the realistic amount of safety buffer I can get in one day is >1 day but <2.5 days (where 1 day would be “treading water”), as well as 2 more goals which meet the same description except for the “frequently go red” part.

I like the idea of this “all green” goal, but can anyone suggest a way to make it work for me with these goals? It’s way too scary to commit to literally “all green” when having 6 red+orange goals is not infrequent for me, and some of these goals would take weeks to go green even at maximal effort.


@kenoubi, I have three goals that are 7 units a week, and I got them into the green last Friday by doubling up. That strategy works well when it makes sense to double up—for example, studying topology for 2x30 minutes actively contributes to my goal. It sounds like doubling up in one day doesn’t make sense for your goals, however. In that case, @dreev’s suggestion would be the way to go:

Of course, if you subsequently miss a day (unexpected stuff happens, you get sick, …) then you’d have to explicitly schedule another flat spot to be able to get these goals back into the green.


I don’t really like the flat spot idea because that would get my goals green, but it wouldn’t get me in the habit of keeping them green. Right now I treat red as must do (I don’t actually derail that often), orange as advisory, and blue or less as irrelevant.

I think I need to change that for all green to be a useful goal, but I don’t think I can change it all at once. So what I think I need is a goal that rewards me for progress towards all green (or staying there, if I already am). I’m struggling to figure out how to quantify that usefully, though.