Feature Request: Straight forward Yes/No goal option.

I’m loving beeminder. Prior to I used habit-bull, a don’t break the chain style program. I have 6 or 7 daily habits that the wise overseeing versions of me would like to do 6 or 7 days a week. I think growing financial incentive of beeminder plus the style of don’t break the chain would go great together. It’s double the motivation. I did read the blog post about it Beeminder vs Don’t Break the Chain, I just think they’d go great together.

Many goals are simply yes/no. I love Beeminder’s graph for my daily study time. I bet it’d be great for weight and calories and meditation time, etc. But almost all of my other goals are Yes or No. Did I avoid eating out? Yes. Did I do either cardio or weight lift? Yes. Did I wake up at 7am? Yes. Did I take my vitamins? No. I pay up and tomorrow I do better.

I will continue integrating my daily habits into beeminder. I think a separate goal system for yes/no goals (other than the current do more with 1=yes 0=no system) with an expanding chain would be great though. The graph as it is doesn’t feel like the best way of conveying yes/no integration, nor does entering a 1/0. Ideally there would be an option for number of days per week you’re supposed to do the goal. Maybe days you did it get a black X, days you didn’t do it but allowed to not do it get a Red X, and then days you skipped have the amount of money the user paid $10, for example, instead of an X.

Just a thought. If I’m the only one who thinks daily yes/no habit integration could be improved than I’ll suck it up and deal since it is functional in its current form. I just wanted to throw out an alternative and see what people thought. :smile:


I sympathize with you since the majority of my goals are yes/no. Something like 17 out of 24 of them.

My biggest complaint was always the integer / float issue which you can work around now by setting integery on the goal if you use the API. This will stop beeminder from asking you to floss your teeth 0.71 times today. :smile:

I’ve actually grown to like the graph. I agree it is less motivating than a cool unbroken chain thing but it’s a LOT more motivating than a broken chain. When you finally screw up and your 94 day flossing streak is ruined, I find the cumulative graph approach more motivating for getting back on the saddle.


I’m may play with that. I’ve never used the API, but not having to wake up at 7am tomorrow at least 0.43 times would be cool. I don’t know if I want to invest any more time “sharpening the saw” though when I could be sawing things!

I think even if the graph stayed, a Yes/No option specific for yes/no goals would be nice. The whole 1=yes 0=no feels like a very engineer/programmer/sentient robot type of thing.

I’m glad Beeminder has the options that it does, but I’d be willing to bet that if they made a ‘Beeminder Lite’ that replaced terminology like “Retroratchet” and “Akrasia Horizon” with titles like “Make your Goal Deadline Sooner!” and “Willpower Window (Changes do not take effect before this date)” then they would make bank because it would be more accessible to the type of people that want to use a program like this, but don’t want to spend an hour just learning how. Or they could just make a user-friendly version called ‘Beeminder’ and call this version ‘Beeminder Extreme’.

That said, it’s obviously not my program so I could be wrong. Maybe if there was a market for a user-friendlier version of beeminder, then it’d already exist. Stickk doesn’t track things daily, which I think defeats a lot of the purpose of this type of willpower tool. I wonder how many people who start beeminder because it sounds like something they want, stop because it seems too complex. I’d bet it’s a lot.


I’m not a Beeminder dev, but I do similar work trying to bring complicated
things to users who often don’t want to learn about the complicated things.

I agree that there are probably medium to large usability improvements to
be made, but they’re usually trickier to find than you’d think at first

For example, retroratchet. Not every goal has a defined deadline,
actually. Some goals don’t have defined rates, and other goals don’t have
defined goal totals, so "I tend to call retroratchet “throwing away safety
margin” when talking to people who aren’t Beeminder savvy.

There are already a few input shortcuts, like the caret notation for days,
and hh:mm:ss for time. I think yes being 1 and no being 0 is definitely
worth discussion.

Good ideas @lolernie!


You say that like it’s a bad thing!! Hahaha :slight_smile:

But yes you are probably right.


This is a very good post, @dreev should read it every morning.


This is such a necessary addition. All my goals are yes no type only; and I landed here only when I googled “beeminder yesno goal types” to know if there’s a natural way to do that.

Hey Beeminder! I vow to signup for a premium account if you implement this. A yes/no type Goal tracking is absolutely necessary and it should be natural and intuitive to do it - not some 0/1 hack.

1 Like

@shiviagg would it feel less hacky to slightly reframe your goal’s wording? Instead of thinking “Did I floss today? Enter 1 for yes or 0 for no”, track “Number of days in which I flossed”. Then getting a +1 is completely natural: you added one to your counter of days in which you flossed.


@rperce No. It is still the same thing to me that I was talking about earlier, a hack. A hack to fit in the language of the app.

How will I even get an idea to track number of days I flossed when the only thing that’s bothering me is whether I flossed today or not? The number of days is irrelevant here. I’ll explain with a better example here.

Goal: Did I check notifications or unlocked my phone only after breakfast today?

I can’t really translate it to tracking “Number of days I checked notifications or unlocked my phone only after breakfast” and start focusing on the cumulative number. That number doesn’t tell me anything. Nor am I going to report that number anywhere. Present moment is all that matters. The thing going in my brain actually is a “Question”: Whether I was successful in winning over my temptation to check phone or not today?. And the only answer I can hear is a Yes or No.

Maintaining a streak is an added bonus - an additional motivator to keep doing the right thing. But it isn’t the GOAL. The goal is about today - how many steps did I walk? how much time did I do exercise for? did I win my temptation? did I floss?

I hope I’m making sense here.

1 Like

Totally get where you’re coming from!

Luckily, one of the values of Beeminder is that it handles the cumulative-ing for you! I treat all my beenary goals (like binary, because I log 0/1 for them, but with a bee pun, ha ha) as “number of days I Did The Thing” but in the moment? All I care about is that the goal is orange and I want to make it blue by Doing the Thing and logging my +1. The cumulative-ness and streak value is all retrospective and automatic.

To be clear, I totally agree that first-class support for beenary goals would be awesome! Just sharing how I, as an experienced beeminder user, like to approach them at the moment :slight_smile:

All I want to say is, Who’s gonna tell every new Beemindee user that there’s an alternate but not so intuitive way to track their Goal. Power users can definitely figure out one way or the other but cannot be said same about everyone.

The number of days thing is a very good alternative and I’m happy its working for you :blush: but it may not work for everyone and for every such goal. Just like it doesn’t for me and I’m not an exception :stuck_out_tongue: I just can’t come to terms about rephrasing my goal to number of days, when I just wanted to track whether I missed today or not. Its a subtle change but powerful enough to distract me from the main purpose of committing to it.

So, I’m still using 0 - for no, 1- for yes kind of config, it’s a hack and required loads of brain power to internalize it. Not something a premium app should be subjecting me to.

1 Like

Ooh, this is interesting! @shiviagg you say your goals are yes/no: does that mean that any “no” is a derail? Obviously one of the major features of Beeminder is the slope - I can commit to doing something 6 days a week, or 19 days out of 20, or whatever.

Is your slope always 1, so “must do every day or derail”? And basically that’s what you want - you don’t want to be bothered about slopes or anything, just “did I do this or not, and if not then I pay the pledge amount”? Do please expand on this part of it!


Ah! You got that right, @clivemeister! The slope is irrelevant most of the time. If I miss today, it’s a derail.

However, I’d only want to pay the pledge if I derail twice in a row (as an added premium benefit). As James Clear mentions in his book “Atomic Habits”, you may derail once but never twice (in a row) - even when derailing once was justifiable (a variant of No-excuses mode - once but never twice).

Having such a feature (in fact, two) would be such a boon for people like me as future premium subscribers :blush:

A slope imagined differently can mimic what James Clear said in his book. Here’s how it goes:

The slope in the graph would be a straight line with a “Dot” for every day and colored as follows:

  1. Green for Yes
  2. Orange for No (derail once)
  3. Red for two simultaneous Nos in a row (derailed twice)

Such a graph will be truly aligned with how James Clear explains it in the book - derail once but never twice (even if the first derail was justifiable).


Ok, that seems like a reasonable plan! Is there a potential risk that you could just skip every other day - no derails twice in a row, but still only 50% hit rate? Or is there another rule to cover that?

1 Like

Haha, that would become another goal then!

If one can be consistent in skipping a goal every other day OR if I read it otherwise, if one is really good at completing a goal every other day, they might as well complete it every day!

Skipping once occasionally isn’t a big problem. Skipping twice in a row, however, is a beginning of habit reversal. And we want to prevent that.

1 Like

Ok, so with current Beeminder, you might have a slope of 0.8 (means you must to do 4 days out of every 5), and with the premium plans you could set autoratchet to give you a maximum of 1 day slack, so you couldn’t miss more than one day in a row or you’d derail.

On top of that, you would have a slightly different tracking view, to show the runs, and a different entry interface, with yes/no instead of 1/0.

One could write all that in a neat little app, and just use the Beeminder API behind the scenes. I’m almost tempted to have a go, but I have the UX training of a 3 year old child, so it would look terrible :slight_smile:


I think this is true for habits - but not all goals need to be habits!

I think for something where you’re trying to budget 50 minutes a week for doing something like solving coding interview problems, it’s far better to do two 25-minute sessions than five 10-minute sessions.

I personally have a few goals that suffer from this


I know this will never happen, but I would love this too.