Goals where datapoints take time to generate


I have a couple of training related goals that I derail on from time to time. Sometimes I have good excuses, but often enough not (very often this comes down to planning - when I’m in orange, I have a day of buffer! But in reality I know that the next day is one where I may not have actual time to do it …)

Anyway, another issue is that I have deadline at midnight or such. This is because I may start training as late as 9/9.30pm and depending on what it is, I may not be finished home until 11. Bu conceivably I could also start after 10, or even 11 for a short session, and still make it by midnight. But typically it is a bad idea for me to start that late, as that disrupts sleep. I really want to track the actual training (what I did, and how much - my rowing goal is in kilometers for example), not when I started it, but actually starting the training is the issue that I want beeminder to solve.

I can see that an additional goal tracking the start of a session probably will work, if I put the sting there, but it feels ineffectual and not entirely right. Any thoughts?


Tracking the start time sounds like exactly the right move from here! It doesn’t feel ineffectual or wrong to me.

Beeminder has a way of really highlighting what, precisely, a particular metric actually tracks, rather than holding you accountable for the underlying activity that all the metrics are a proxy for. It seems like a normal part of making a Beeminder goal, to me, to discover that the metric and the underlying activity have a gap between them which incentivizes the wrong behaviour; a “supporting” goal is a common way to close those loopholes.

If you have internet access at the gym, you could make a goal that is just “start-training” with a deadline of, say, 9:30pm, and input a 1 when you’re at the gym about to start. Or there are ways to get snazzy about it and make it more automated, but I like to start fairly simple.


I don’t have any advice for the general problem, but if your routine is pretty stable then I would consider just moving your goal’s deadline to be at a time when you’re pretty sure your routine isn’t in progress. See https://help.beeminder.com/article/14-deadline


I think you nailed it–“actually starting the training is the issue that I want beeminder to solve”. You can bring the deadline down to what’s right for you, so you aren’t disrupting your sleep.

I don’t mean this in a rude way, but there have been times that I have been thinking about Beeminder, and I know the right goal and yet I don’t want to start it, mostly because I am partially pushing back on doing the root goal in the first place. Maybe that’s what your “not entirely right” feeling is?


I’ve changed most of my fitness goals to have a deadline of noon rather than midnight. That makes it super-clear when something has to be scheduled in.

Downside (for me) is that there are now often goals ‘in the red’ that are ok, rather than being a don’t-go-to-bed-yet signal…


With “not entirely right” I think I mean that I’m almost as much sold on the quantified self part of Beeminder as on the “get me to do stuff” part. With this type of goal, they become rather disjoint things. One option, is to enter dummy datapoint when starting, then edit the comment (and possibly values) afterwards, but editing is not available from the main dashboard making it less elegant.


Well, no, I can’t say my routine is very stable, for that there is too much unscheduled things going on, but generally (weekends excepted) I’m almost always train in the range 7-9pm.


I don’t understand how that would work? Also, In general, I never excercise before noon (weekends are occasionally an exception).


Automating it using location wouldn’t be terribly easy, since what I do tend to be fairly varied. Starting or committing (e.g. packing bag, drive, dress up, whatever) can be tracked either manually or I suppose via a button. But my point is that from a datapoint entering point-of-view, tracking the start of an activity is much less interesting than tracking the end result.

I’ll probably end up setting up such a goal though.


I use noon because it’s a time I can remember. Maybe for your purposes a 10pm finish time (or whatever) would work.

An earlier deadline should encourage you to exercise (and finish exercising!) earlier in the day.

Between the deadline and your bedtime, the goal will go red if you need to plan in a workout the following day.


As for physical excercise, I guess this is a kind of commitment too … - https://www.redbull.com/no-no/events/red-bull-400-norge


Me nearest to the camera there, only 100 meters to go! Beat my own expectations with a finish time of 7 minutes 16 seconds. Already registered for next year’s event. Will do better then, not the least since a broken rib hampered preparations this time around.