Let’s say that we had a 7-day initial buffer to add progress in Beeminder. My own tendency is to only take actual action when emergency day is close. When this happens in a consistent basis (when every single day is emergency day) I tend to get really demotivated with the goal itself as well as it an anxious feeling on not doing progress but just-trying-not-to-derail.
Instead, what I could do, is to try to maintain always a 7-day buffer emergency fund on my goal. To whatever number of days I do have, I could mentally be like X-7 days. This could work, for example, with a reading goal, because I could read more for a few days and “accumulate” a Buffer.
Benefits: no anxiety on derailing and paying + actually taking action even though having a great buffer.
I only find a problem with things that can only happen once a day, for example, as a morning routine. This can only do +1 a day, therefore I cannot add more than once a day and if I have an emergency day on this one, I cannot add any buffer.
If I keep track for 7 consecutive days, add +1 extra.
Do the routine two times a day, do it and repeat. It doesn’t make any sense, but it would be a reminder to myself like “you have to do it”.
Ironically, this is one of the failure modes for Beeminder. Your ideal may be to do something every day but, as you’ve noticed, committing to 7 days a week means that you can’t ever get ahead or ‘earn back’ any missteps.
The solution is to set yourself a slightly more lenient slope:
6 per week lets you screw up once a week (and earn your way back at the same rate)
6.5 per week is every 2 weeks
6.75 per week means about one per month
The biggest hurdle to this is the psychological “but I want to do it every day!”. And the unfortunate fact that the current default implementation means that you’ll be told that you need to do fractional amounts (like 0.96) of your morning routine today…
[EDIT: Somehow I’ve typed an equivalent reply before seeing @apolyton’s… Leaving it here for future searchers…]