Beeminder Forum

Beeminder vs CBT

No, not at all. I mean “goal” in the same sense that you do. My point (in response to dreev) was that this includes so-called “systems” - for instance, a goal to spend an hour a day doing X is still a goal.

The whole message of the Goals Suck book is to use intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic motivation. You were intrinsically motivated to build the swing.

To be clear, I don’t totally agree with the book. The author thinks that if you need a goal to motivate you, then you don’t really want to do the thing. Whereas I really do want to do some things, but struggle to start them, and find that creating a structure helps me get started.

Based on that and on reading the summary and some comments from the Amazon page (so I don’t have a fully educated opinion!), it sounds like the author is lucky enough to have a brain that actually lets him do things he loves without irrational interference, and is probably lucky enough to have enough money and/or support from other people to get other things done without effort from him (housework, taxes, etc).

THAT is more familiar to me! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: :+1:


Hi there,

I rarely participate on this forum, but I found this conversation interesting.

I am on my quest to outsource my self-discipline. So I use a lot of tools for that. Mainly ColdTurkey and, sometimes I try Habitica, sometime Beeminder. But also RescueTime, WakaTime. And various tracking app for health and fitness sush as Strava or MyFitnessPal.

I also have a weird system to prevent myself to spend mindlessly. I have a traditionnal bank account but no debit card, and N26 as a debit card that I refill manually. As the transfer takes 2 days it prevent me from compulsive buying.

In the end, all those tools are very specific and can be a burden to manage. But I a going off topic here.

So, I stopped using Beeminder lately because it relies on motivation and fear, which is mentally exhausting. It’s not exactly guardrails. You can easily give up and think “I’ll just pay the fine this time” and get use to it. It comes as a punishment.

It’s less motivating than a reward. How about getting a reward once you’ve reach your daily goals ?
That’s why I contacted web blockers such as ColdTukey to suggest them to connect to all those tracking devices as you do. Then we could have scenarios like "If you reach you 8 hours of productivity, tracked by RescueTime or WakaTime, I unlock YouTube for the rest of the day as a reward.

Maybe for Beeminder it could come as a form of Cash Back. I don’t know, maybe paying the “fine” upfront, but getting a daily redeem every successful day, and losing it on failing days. Or something around it.

Just sharing my thoughts and experience.

Cheers, Arthur.

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Love your thoughts! But I also completely disagree :smile:

IMO the power of Beeminder is that you can choose to pay and derail. Beeminder takes a small percentage of the ambiguous future costs of not doing X and brings it into the present in concrete form for your present self to grapple with. For example, it converts the ambiguous cost of being sick and out of shape in five years and turns it into the concrete cost of “go for a run in the next hour or pay real money!”

The fact is, that, if your stakes are set appropriately, saying to your self, “huh, actually, I’d rather sit on my butt today and lose the money” does not break the system at all! Beeminder has still done its job–it’s forced you to consider the costs of not doing X before you decided not to do it.

This way of looking at Beeminder goals indicates that what you cap your stakes at matters:

  • If you cap your stakes too high, you won’t be willing to eat the loss and derail even when circumstances warrant it. This can lead to excess stress and ultimately resentment toward the goal and/or Beeminder. It isn’t sustainable.
  • If you cap your stakes too low, you won’t be adequately motivated to consider the trade-off between your short-term desires and long-term goals, and may choose to derail too often. Doing so limits Beeminder’s ability to motivate you toward your goal.

In essence, your stakes represent the value you place on making regular progress towards your long-term goal. Misrepresenting this value in either direction leads to problems.