Feature idea: force me to talk to my past self

Here’s an idea: when I create a goal, I write out a ~200 words statement about why I want to do the goal. Something like:

I want to learn Spanish because it will expand my mind and allow me to travel in other countries and understand my own language better and finally talk to my sweet old great thrice-removed aunt from Chile blah blah blah

(but longer and more articulate)

Then, later, when I want to archive a goal before it’s finished, or I want to email support and ask them to let me weasel, or whatever other threshold-crossing events might happen in Beeminder land, I have to first perfectly type out the statement word-for-word. Like a captcha where you have to reason with your past self.

In order to disallow copy-and-pasting, the statement could be rendered into an image. But you can just run OCR on the image. So maybe the words should be flashed one by one in individually rendered images.

Or even better: beeminder calls your phone and reads your statement to you. either text-to-speech, or maybe even a voice recording made by your past self.


That is potentially interesting as an option – although you might as well skip the OCR since if you are willing to cheat you can also just add fake data – but I wouldn’t necessarily use it for that many goals. The goals I have archieved were either already achieved or working on them made me realize that they were not really what I actually wanted, or not worth the effort. Personally that has been very valuable for me to discover.

You already have to wait 7 days to archive a goal, so there is plenty of time for you to reconsider.


In my experience, making it hard for oneself to do bad things can be useful
as a nuclear option (e.g. with time-wasting websites + something like
LeechBlock or SelfControl), but as a general rule encouraging / motivating
yourself to do positive things is orders of magnitude better than
constraining yourself from doing negative things. The latter often ends up
being annoying (and hence even less effective) when it constrains you from
doing positive or neutral things in unforeseen ways.

With that said, writing a statement like this sounds like a great idea
regardless of whether you have to type it in later!