As explained on Discord, I recently felt like most of my beeminder goals have become disasters and scheduled them to archive.
I decided that to try to prevent this from happening in the future I should do as Ceph does and reflect on my goals as I calendial. So anyway, I will start off with post-mortems of a couple of my goals that were failures, and then move on to the goals I have decided to keep / start today.
Examples of failed goals
gtd-nextactions I want to use the GTD system. Thus, I thought I could form the habit of doing so by making a goal to complete a certain number of items from my “next actions” list per day. However in practice this was a complete disaster—instead of forming the habit of using the system correctly, I would just add items to my next-actions list immediately before doing them so that they counted, often frantically making up items before bed that could be completely quickly enough.
sleep: I had a goal to go to bed by a certain time. Details aside, it was just too easy to weasel—I wasn’t clear enough what counted.
In general, I fell into a bad pattern where I would often forget about beeminder until midnight and thereby derail on a bunch of goals—or if I did remember, just do a shoddy job of the things that were in the red so I could check off the goal. In general I think having too many manual-entry goals contributed to going numb to beeminder.
I probably need to form a habit of looking at my goals at a specific time. But for now I will focus on making autodata goals in the short term.
The goals I am keeping / making
Calendial This one works fine, although as is clear I think I need to make these posts to actually end up reflecting on the goals instead of just doing the basic function of asking if the slope needs to be updated.
weightloss: This goal generally works. It’s an autodata goal and although I don’t always make the betst eating choices even in its presence, you can’t fool the scale–it’s not really possible to stay under the line for long without actually losing weight for real.
Nonfiction: This is an aggregate goal which adds up the page counts from all of my nonfiction book-reading goals to make sure I don’t fail to start a new book eventually after finishing the previous one. These goals work perfectly fine—they are completely unambiguous so they are essentially weasel-proof, and they get directly at the desired behaviour, unlike the aforementioned GTD goal. I was a bit too ahead on this so I’m going to ratched it to 7 days every time I calendial. I do actually already have the next book picked out (and checked out from the library), but I need a bit of a kick to set up the beeminder goal for it.
A new sleep goal: I haven’t actually made it yet so I don’t know what it’s called. I will use sleep as android, with this script (or a modification of it) so I can’t weasel / it’s easier to enter data.
work-hours: Another new goal. In the long run probably my only productivity goal should be something that enforces using GTD well. But since I don’t know how to do that yet, and I am actually already in the habit of using toggl quite well at least for the time I work, this seems like something to play with for now.