Beeminder Forum

Extended Commitment Contracts / Atonements

Here’s an idea I had. What do you think about it?

The effectiveness of Beeminder can be enhanced by adding additional, non-financial consequences to beeminder derailments.

Beeminder uses a financial cost to implement the negative reinforcement or negative punishment. And, as the theory goes, a larger cost will lead up to a motivational point, which is a minimum-ish cost at which the behavior will be changed to an acceptable degree by the beemindee (aka beeminderer aka beeliever).

But that might not be absolutely true for every goal. So the question becomes, are there some other things that need to be added to my personal “behavioral change and commitment stack” that might help me to avoid derailing again?

The basic theory can be enhanced through an Extended Commitment Contract. Some additional atonement action that one must perform if one derails. (I got this idea from Michael Cohen in his video “On tracking commitment, quantified self”.) Atonement is not necessarily considered “punishment”, but it’s what to do when one has a setback.

Some examples of atonement might be, (1) generally consider the reason for the derailment and plan on how to avoid it in the future (2) talk to my therapist or accountability partner about it (3) journal about it (4) brainstorm other ideas how to better commit (5) an additional punishment, like doing a bunch of situps, or doing community service like cleaning up trash of the side of the road.

The atonement for a given goal could be specified in the goal’s fine details.

(I describe my entire post derailment strategy, which includes atonements, in my beeminder journal here.)