Like a few other forum members, I have decided to start a beeminder journal.
I’ve binged on beeminder a few times in the past and each time I would end up taking on too much and then, when I could take the pressure no longer, throwing my hands in the air and letting everything derail at once.
(“This time” he said “things will be different”)
A few guidlines I gave myself to avoid making the same mistakes again are:
Don’t beemind things you don’t need to
A hard and relatively unforgiving system like beeminder works great for creating external motivation, but this (for me) reduces my intrinsic motivation on the long term. I want to read, and I do read every day, so beeminding reading is not necessary of helpful. Writing is a perfect beeminder goal however, since while I want to have written, my mind for some reason abhors the idea of actually sitting down and shooting out 400 words a day. Beeminder to the rescue.
Don’t make the goal too hard
When setting the goal, I always imagine the perfect day: full of motivation and rich in free time. This means that I fail to meet this standard as soon as the inevitable imperfect day comes around.
To use the example of writing again, when I first started the goal, 800 words a day felt easy, since I had just started and had lots of ideas ready to go. A few weeks later it turned out that 800 was going to be possible, but exhausting. 400 was a much better sized goal, even if it feels embarassingly small. You can also do more and retroratchet!
I have some goals designed according to the book “Mini habits”: make sure you do the bare minimum every day, to create a solid habit, remembering that you can always exceed the tiny goal if you feel able.
Don’t add too many new goals at once
When getting back into beeminder after a break, I want to beemind absolutely everything. I have a list of ideas in a document of things I should be doing, that I should be doing, that if only I was doing them everyday, I would be happier/healthier/hricher. Unfortunately I find too many goals becomes unmanageable and stresfull, causing me eventually to break down and mass derail.
So, my goal with this journal is two-fold.
A. Public accountability. Make it harder for me to quit beeminder, more embarassing if I fail my goals.
B. Make me more mindful of the goals I add. By writing about what goes well, what goes badly, and why I choose to add each goal, I hope to avoid the above mistakes. My hard rule will be: only one new goal each month. Each month I will choose one of the goals I want to try. At the end of the month I can kill it if I don’t think it was worth the effort, or continue if it proved useful. The bar for ‘continue’ will be high, to avoid an ever growing number of things to do each day.
I will now immediately break the rule by creating two new goals today:
Meta Goal: To update this journal once a week
What? Write an update in this journal about how the experiment is going, any changes to my goals, etc.
Why? To make sure I stick with experiment, which should help stick with beeminder long term, which in that past has always been very beneficial.
How much? One post a week. Doesn’t matter how short or long.
January New Goal: Get rid of one object every day
What? Every day, I will put one possesion in either the bin or a box to be donated
Why? We have too much stuff, it makes me unhappy to look at, harder to clean up the house, harder to find things. I have had bouts of getting rid of things in the past, but a sustained process should keep our possessions under control, and reduce them down to a manageable level. At worst, I’m 30 posessions lighter by the end of the month!
How much? At least one a day, where ‘one’ might be a pair of socks, or a piece of furniture, or a broken bowl.
Next update in 7 days or less