Daisy chaining goals

I wrote about a thing I do with exercise goals a while ago where I have both continuous goals and a discrete goal that tracks “chunks” of that goal. e.g. I have both a pushups goal and get a point on exercise for every full 40 pushups I do.

I’ve noticed a useful psychological trick recently which can get me to push myself harder than I otherwise would, which is to use each of these goals to trick myself into moving forward: If I’m on a 40 pushups boundary, I can do “just another 5” and still be motivated because it counts to my pushups goal, whileas if I’m not on a 40 pushups boundary I “might as well just see if I could make it to the next goal. It’s OK if I stop before”. I also do the same for running.

This seems to be pretty effective at getting me to go above and beyond when I manage to apply it. I’m not sure how to apply it more generally, but it might be something to watch out for opportunities to use.


This reminds me a lot of how the bar-filling mechanic in a lot of MMOs and other rpg type games works psychologically. If you’re playing for a while you might think “I’ll just play until I get to the next level” if your xp bar is half full or whatever and getting to the next level seems within reach. As your xp bar fills you might have other achievement bars that fill up too. Then, once you reach the next level, it’s likely that you’ll look at those other bars and think “I’ll just play until I fill up that bar.” And so on.

It’s super-addictive. Employing it in the service of your real-world goals seems like an awesome idea.


A related thing that seems to work even in the absence of the parallel goal (e.g. I get an exercise point for 40 of any of a bunch of bodyweight exercises, even ones I don’t have an explicit goal for them) is stopping just before the limit. So e.g. doing 35. Then when I do the next set it feels stupid to stop after 5 so I’ll “just try to do 15-20”. At that point I go “Hmm I could try for one more exercise point”.

This feels like a childishly stupid psychological trick but it actually seem to work surprisingly well even when I know that it’s what I’m doing.


Yes, I use the same system and I agree a “personal best” goal based on another goal would be lovely!

Perhaps creating an IFTTT trigger which fires if a new minimum or maximum is reached, and then posts that value to another goal?

That seems straightforward to implement…

related: sorting by value in the “all data” view would be helpful. Currently you can only sort by date or entry order


Yet another fine example of goals-about-goals where it’s the interpretation of the underlying datapoints that differs.

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