Complementary Tools: HabitRPG

Nothing in HabitRPG is updated automatically from Beeminder.

If your love is for data and automation, then HabitRPG may not work well for you. It’s fun and fluffy and great for reinforcing some kinds of habit for some people. (I don’t mean that as a pejorative; I’m a HabitRPG subscriber and, contrary to @drtall’s assertion, the Daily for flossing has worked well for me. (Supplemented by a +Habit if I floss a second time!))

Try them out with a few (very few!) high level meta habits. The visible health vs experience bars may be exactly the additional motivation you need right now.


Can you please elaborate more on what type of tasks you use in HabitRPG and what types for beeminder. I saw your beemider goal for HabitRPG and read the goal statement and it seems to me that there are tasks with the same goal on both systems by noticing that you have some similar goals in beeminder as well. Isn’t that make it confusing for you a little bit?

I began to think seriously to use HabitRPG because of your recommendation and maybe it will be the perfect system to fill the gap in beeminder in rewarding Retroratchet and perhaps other things that may popup in my mind that cannot be used in beeminder as I wish.

Just wanted your expertise to be shared with us to shorten the learning curve on how to complement beeminder with HabitRPG and how to distribute my tasks on both systems.

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There’s less overlap than the fine print might suggest. (Thanks for reading that; I sometimes wonder whether anyone but me reads some of my rationales!)

Beeminder is great for quantifiable goals and to enforce making progress on things that you’re really akratic about achieving. (I like the want can will test.) And many data sources can be automated.

HabitRPG doesn’t really do data. But it does give warm fuzzy feelings of progress, combined with the threat of your cute little avatar dying.

An example: for my real-life goal of speaking Italian, I have some things in both systems. Beeminder reminds me to use Duolingo and Anki, and to read Il Nome Della Rosa. I also have a HabitRPG Daily about whether I practiced any Italian today; it could be one of the Beeminded things, or it could be that I used Italian in some other context. So the HabitRPG Daily is simultaneously more general (it can accommodate chatting/email/news/etc) and more stringent (every day). That combination works for me.

Hypothetical example: Lots of people use Beeminder to enforce flossing their teeth frequently. Flossing 3 times probably shouldn’t count to build up safety buffer, but shouldn’t count for nothing. I’ve got a HabitRPG Habit set to give me credit for flossing more than once each day. Beeminder counts the number of days on which I flossed, not the number of times that I flossed. HabitRPG gives me XP for flossing beyond the Beeminder-enforced minimum.

If you haven’t seen it, I wrote an overview of my Beeminder goals in a blog post about how I use Beeminder.

There’s no substitute for trying something out and seeing how it works for you. If I’ve learned nothing else since starting to use Beeminder, it’s that I can’t always predict how I’ll react to my own goal-supporting system.

We’ve got other people who use both Beeminder and HabitRPG — thoughts, anyone?


A couple of points that I ask kindly for a clarifying:

Why you haven’t beeminded both? What’s wrong with having beeminding the two instead of committing to two systems which necessarily will add to the overhead for time and energy used to track your goals.

Just by thinking to use 2 websites (HRPG + Beeminder) in my desktop and 2 apps in my handphone and ipad and laptop will make me ask whether there is enough justification in splitting my tasks into two systems. What is there in HabitRPG that it is not in beeminder?

You gave me examples to show that (also to check my understanding for your previous post) :

Beeminder goals are for tasks:

  1. With clear cut deadlines and in specifically rigid amounts/rates.
  2. Important tasks.
  3. Desired to be seen as a graph and with quantifiable overall numbers.


HabitRPG goals are for tasks

  1. With fuzzy deadlines and in soft amounts/rates.
  2. Less important but still desirable to be tracked and to push me softly to do them.
  3. It is fine if there is no graph and no quantified overall numbers.

I argue that even with these differences between the two systems, we can change your HabitRPG goals to beeminder goals in a way to be featured as the 3 points of HabitRPG above:
Fuzzy goals can be changed to clear cut lenient goals. Less important goals can be as beeminder goals with lenient goals. Graphs can be ignored.
And you will have the peace of mind to use one system and only one app instead of two.

The other thing is that you have convinced me to at least just try and see HabitRPG:

Maybe I will understand the rationale and benefits more by experimenting. I am bothering you with my above arguements, just to make it more clear for me and perhaps convincing other skeptics to try both systems and enrich our forum with expert answers.

One last thing:

What do you mean by meta habits?

Thanks Philip!


[quote=“philip, post:3, topic:752”] We’ve got other people who use both Beeminder and HabitRPG — thoughts, anyone?
Yes, please!

2.Would love to see the opinion of Danny in HabitRPG and on this topic. If you have a few spare minutes, can you chime in Danny, please?

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Right, currently the official Beeminder+HabitRPG integration only auto-updates Beeminder when you do To-Dos in HabitRPG. I think there’s sufficient demand to do more so keep asking about this!

Better people to chime in here are @alys and @nepomuk

My first thought is that you should prefer HabitRPG for anything you can make it work for.

I’m embarrassed to say that I personally have failed to derive enough motivation from HabitRPG. I love them and the way they think and the way they run the company and have become friends with the founders. (More gushing in the intro to our blog post about Beeminder+HabitRPG integration.) But I just immediately fall off the wagon every time I try to track things there.

If I were motivated by the in-game gold and badges and social elements and keeping my avatar alive then I think it would be ideal for all manner of daily habits and To-Dos.

I think many of our hardest core users find HabitRPG and Beeminder nicely complementary. Try things in HabitRPG and anything you’re too akratic about, move to Beeminder.

PS: I mentioned the Beeminder+HabitRPG integration and I did stay on the wagon for months with a HabitRPG To-Do list that way, and their implementation is great but I ended up preferring another To-Do list tool (a topic for yet another thread) so I let the goal end when I finally beeminded my HabitRPG To-Dos down to zero.

My own personal take on Beeminder and HabitRPG: I love Beeminder for long-term goals that require a commitment device to keep me honest. I love HabitRPG for reinforcing me on stuff that I was gonna do anyway, but which I might do a bit more with the added incentive of getting a new pet or of helping my party defeat a monster. My dailies are all stuff I do every night, like washing the dishes and cleaning the catbox; I put them in there not because I needed outside reinforcement to do them, but because I liked being rewarded and acknowledged for it when I did. My habits are stuff like buy groceries, make a bento, cook dinner, cook breakfast, read – stuff that I do all the time on my own, but which I might choose to do on a particular day a little more often if there’s gold or eggs or hatching potions in it for me.

My to-dos, since they’re bound to Beeminder, are the exception to the “I was gonna do it anyway” rule. They’re all household cleaning chores. I originally had a “cleaning” goal on Beeminder, but I liked keeping track of what was specifically getting done, and I was frustrated with having to enter each cleaning task in the memo field after I did it in the Android app. It felt like punishment rather than reinforcement. Checking something off a list feels so satisfying; building a list after doing the task (especially on a phone keyboard) just feels tedious. Plus I was finding it hard to remember everything I needed to be doing. So I made a private guild on HabitRPG, wrote up a chore list challenge, and imported it into my to-dos, with the intention of re-importing it every two weeks or so, once I’d completed all the tasks. To be honest, that hasn’t worked as planned; it’s more than a month since the last import, and a bunch of those tasks are still lingering. Maybe I should crank up my weekly Beeminder goal to force me to churn through them faster.

It would be better if they could be dailies, because then I could have a specific “you cleaned the bathroom floor a week ago; time to do it again” prompt, rather than just seeing the whole red list in front of me and having to pick and choose which tasks to do based on how much I feel like doing them. That’s not ideal. If Beeminder starts supporting dailies, I’ll definitely switch them over, and will probably stop using to-dos. My non-cleaning to-do manager (work and personal) is Trello, which I haven’t linked with Beeminder, because I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of getting through them every day without reinforcement.

What I’d actually like most out of HabitRPG is a really chatty party that talks about everything they’ve been doing every day. I find other people’s productivity really motivating. The party I’m in right now is really nice (they’re all strangers; I found them via the Slobs Anonymous guild), but they hardly ever use the chat feature, so sometimes I feel like I’m just doing stuff in the dark. Being specific about what tasks I intend to conquer each day and then having to account to my party for what I did and didn’t get done would be more helpful, I think.


Yes, Beeminder is arguably the more general tool, so you can find ways of expressing most HabitRPG usage in terms of a Beeminder goal. It doesn’t always get you away from using another tool, because Beeminder doesn’t have a mechanism to tick things off a list, for instance. Folks use their HabitRPG, Trello, etc lists to automatically feed Beeminder.

Automation is a good criteria, particularly if you’re greatly increasing the number of Beeminder goals. I enter a lot of my data via some kind of integration — a quick count suggests that only 12 of my 42 active goals require manual data entry.

Habits about habits. (-:

Mostly, by meta goal I mean Beeminder goals that keep an eye on my use of some other system (or of Beeminder itself). A typical example is a Beeminder goal of doing a weekly GTD review. That goal would be ‘meta’ in relation to the GTD system.