Beeminder Forum

Giving me a reward to motivate me to Retroratchet!

Hi Beeminders,

Sometimes (which is really rarely) I make good progress and one of my graphs will be way above the yellow brick. This will make me work less in the following days since I am safe for pretty long time (e.g., 1 month?).

The obvious solution is to Retroratchet. However I feel pain in my heart doing so. For all those precious safe days that I have earned with my extra efforts will just vanish by a simple click and returning back, being me just like any other procrastinator (next day orange and then red!).

Beeminder is all about rewards and punishments. Rewards by seeing your lovely blue color or even better the green, which works really well for a lot of users (I saw topics here in this forum, for how is the red color and the orange color made a psychological attachment to our brains of fear and motivates us by merely seeing an orange task). Color and safe days is all what motivates me and many other users I think.

Please give me some incentive to Retroratchet. Make me feel happy doing it. I cannot lose my efforts and throw it in the sea. I know the whole system is just a trick to my self to make me work and that is the point which is achieved by the current Retroratchet system. But that color trick works and makes me feel that the safe days are my bank account.

I suggest to make a rewarding trick for Retroratchet. Let’s say introduce another measure (other than the safe days and the graph), like let’s say the ‘Health of this goal’. This should be points specific to each graph, and represents how healthy I am. And it reflects my long term habit on that task.

Health points awarded depending on how many days I am safe and to how extent. Green colors gets every day more health points than blue and blue more than orange. And red points are unhealthy and deducting from the health of the graph for everyday in red color. Green colors even gives you everyday health points in flexible amounts depending on how many safe days you have. Retroratchet gives you way more points than the current retroratcheted days (to dismiss the feeling that those safe days that we have lost by Retroratchet will give you a daily health points income by leaving it there).

Another good health habits can also be rewarded and other bad habits can be punished by this health point system. May be you can suggest what else that can enhance this idea. It is very versatile and can manipulate us in our habits in many different ways.

You can even make a general overall health point metrics for all graphs by averaging or something of all health points for all graphs.

Just brainstorming with you guys!
What do you think?

Edit: Now I have reread my writing of the post and just realizing that I am reinventing the HabitRPG (with few tweaks to make it sensitive to Retroratchet) which I have never used, since it did not make sense to me to see a game character that moves slowly in the stages of the game. Just did not see the motivation to let it progress. Progress in the game and so what? Maybe I am a little bit more math oriented and see the value of bank accounts, numbers, points and graphs more, which is definitely, I think, works well for a lot of users here more than HabitRPG game characters.


self-promoting my own past thread here! not exactly the same request, but i totally feel you on not wanting to throw away hard-earned safety buffer :slight_smile:


Yep I’m with you!

Here’s my old thread: Detecting auto-retroratchet in the API?

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I have opened your post and once I read the title I wanted to click the like button. However, it turned out that I liked your post before. When I read it, I remembered how was your idea perfect for me too…

I think your idea does make sense. Everything important works like a store process to compensate when it needed in emergencies like banks, batteries, …etc.

I think your idea is even better than mine… I cannot like RR… It is cheating against me… I need those extra hard earned safety days for my doom days… It is my savings… And if I just displace them into a safe away from my eyes I can assume psychologically that it is not there… So it worked just like RR…

Come on, all of you are saving money in a way or another… For retirement, for emergencies , for kid’s universities …etc.

By the way, are you Chelsea who replies our emails? You are staff, right?


Hmm, I do use HabitRPG and this sounds interesting. What would be the best way for me to use HabitRPG to promote retro-ratcheting?

A +habit that I click once for each day RR’d?
A Daily that is “RR any Goal with >week of buffer”?
Or should I increase the slope of goals that I find myself getting large buffer on?

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My problem with HabitRPG was that the rewards led to leniency in doing tasks. Telling my dentist I’m not flossing because I’m level 68 and have enough mana to ignore it doesn’t work out very well. :slight_smile:


I stand by my reply in @chelsea’s thread. tl;dr: my reward is down-pledging.

I also love the idea of introducing a visible congratulatory signal that reflects how very very far above the goal line you have achieved. I don’t think that it should ‘bank’ the safe days or otherwise change the incentives of the yellow brick road. But retro-ratcheting is a brave and future-oriented thing to do, and so should be recognised.

Aside: I also use HabitRPG, and it’s surprisingly nice to dress up the little avatar and to make sure that he doesn’t die. I don’t make use of most of their ‘game’ mechanics, just the task/habit check lists. It’s a different way of tricking yourself that will work for some people on some habits.



You are using HabitRPG with beeminder. So you know better than me.

Is my idea fully applicable in beeminder-HabitRPG integration?

It is much better if everything in HRPG is updated automatically from beeminder. But if not possible , I think I can bare a manual input.

Aside: I am impressed with several power users’ input here. Definitely you are one of the champs in this forum.

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A +habit that I click once for each day RR’d?

I use +habits to ‘reward’ myself for things. +1 for pressing retro-ratchet? That’s a good idea.

A Daily that is “RR any Goal with >week of buffer”?

A Daily would be an overkill for me. But you could create a Beeminder goal to remember to adjust your Beeminder goals. That’s an excellent use of Beeminder, btw, to keep tabs on your use of a system.

Or should I increase the slope of goals that I find myself getting large buffer on?

Depends on the goal. If you want to do more-and-more over time, increase the slope. If the slope is right but you occasionally or frequently build up too many safety days, that’s why we built retro-ratchet.

I signed up to our Plan Bee subscription plan so that I could automate retro-ratcheting. That lets me set many slopes at the minimum that I’d like to keep doing, without risking that I’ll forget about my intention.


I moved 2 posts to a new topic: Complementary Tools: HabitRPG

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Thanks so much for this proposal, @hayder78! I’m still disentangling how much of my reaction to @chelsea’s idea applies here.

That’s the @chelsea, yes! (And meta tip: @-mentioning will bring replies to the person’s attention.)

(I have to start by admitting that I haven’t read all of (most of) the thread, so this may have already been suggested, or it might not really fit.)

Instead of “storing” safety buffers, which I’m not totally sure I get (I guess that’s where reading the whole thread would come in handy), what about deferring it? By this I mean that let’s say you have a 2/day goal, and you’re 6 days ahead and you want to retroratchet to just 1 day ahead. In that case, you’re tightening your road by 10 units ( (6-1)*2/day) ). What about retroratcheting, and then using “take a break” to regain those 10 units at a later time? That way you could decide “This week I want to commit to not using my buffer, but I’ll ‘forward it’ to next week, in case I want it then.” That way there’s no screwing around with datapoints or “I have them, but I don’t, but I do” features. You get to keep the points and keep watching them build up just past your horizon, and then you get to decide, on the day you catch up to them, whether you want to hang onto them for a little while, or forward (some or all of) them down the road again. You could even bank a bunch of units this way and then try a much harder rate sometime past the time you catch back up to them once you’ve banked enough to feel safe about going for something more intense (maybe even something like a maniac week) or take a week off from that goal, or whatever; I can think of lots of other ways to use them.

(Just remember, when using the take-a-break feature, that if you intend to have them all reappear on a given day, you’ll need to set the break for [day before you want them to appear] to [day you want them to appear] and if you have a weekly rate, you’ll need to multiply the units/space you want to add/subtract on that day by 7. So, as with the above example, if you wanted to defer the 10 units of safe space to the Fourth of July on a do-more goal with a weekly rate, you would enter a break from July 3rd to July 4th for -70 units, and then you’d have -10 that day. (And if you wanted to be more precise, you’d probably want to add your daily rate (2) to the change before multiplying by 7, so that it wouldn’t buy an extra freebie that day. -10+2 = -8 * 7 = -56 ))