My current goals, for context: https://www.beeminder.com/nepomuk
I’ve been trying to put a number on where I fall on the ideal Beeminding
personality scale and have been struggling with it. I’ve gotten great
results from Beeminder over the last few years and have trouble imagining
what my life would look like without it, but it seems like I don’t seem to
use it quite as intended. For one thing, I quickly realized that I needed
to have nine goals – no more, no less. Something about that 3x3 grid just
makes me feel like everything is under control. When I achieve a goal and
there’s a gap in the grid, I have to find another one to add in. When I
want to add a new habit, I have to wait until one of my other goals reaches
completion so I can archive it and make a space. Sometimes I’ve been
tempted to have more than nine goals going at a time, but every time I’ve
tried, it’s quickly gotten too overwhelming and everything has felt like
it’s thrown out of balance.
Also, I usually have only one (or at the most two) high stakes or high
derail-risk goals going at a time. The rest are usually set at either a
flat road or a very gentle road with plenty of buffer built up, and I’m
very hesitant to retroratchet. I think of Beeminder as 90% tracking, 10%
motivating. Now, the tracking itself is often very motivating on its own,
and frequently when I archive a goal that I was only using for tracking I
often find the good habit I established with that goal fading very quickly,
sometimes causing me to reinstate it. But I’ll only assign challenging
weekly numbers to goals that are very high priority, like the marketing
assignment for the business I’m helping to set up or the 260 word per
minute stenography certification test that I had to pay $170 to attempt
each time and was only able to attempt twice a year. (Finally got that one,
with the help of Beeminder! Woohoo!)
So I feel like Beeminder is crucial to keeping my life in order, but from
the outside it might look like I’m being ridiculously easy on myself,
setting goals that are practically impossible to derail from. I dunno. It
works for me. Even though I’ve got an 82-day buffer on my “achieve an empty
reply-to inbox once a week” goal, being able to check that box is a huge
boost to my day, and I’ve been able to do it several times a week for the
past several months, which has meant a big reduction in stress compared to
my previous habit of keeping a reply-to inbox that would languish at 20 or
30 emails for months at a time.
Does this make me a bad Beeminder user? Arguably. Would my life fall to
shambles if I had to stop using Beeminder? Almost certainly. So I don’t
know what number that makes me, but I’m incredibly grateful to have it.
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