Handling sick days

I have a “keep-me-fit” goal in which I enter 1 every time I train/excercise. The current rate is 4 per week, and the goal is rarely - if ever - in the green (not because I don’t like to excercise, I’m just terrible at prioritizing it).

Anyway, if I suddenly come down with a flu or similar such that I’m not able to (or at least it would be foolish to train) train as planned that day (today is such a day for me), I’m suddenly in danger of derailing. I don’t have any more safe days, so without further training sessions, I will derail tomorrow night, and as it is - unless I’m feeling a lot better tomorrow, I’m not likely to make it (and also because I have other must-do commitments tomorrow).

Now, if I derail (I haven’t pledged enough for that to worry me as such), then I can of course claim that I was sick in the legitimacy check, but I’d rather not have to do that.

So is there some recommended way of dealing with such situations (training and sickness is only an example really)? Presumably it is one that akratics get into regularly. It feels very wrong to enter a log entry “1 Planned to go footballing, but I’m sick today” :stuck_out_tongue:

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Edit: See @drmaciver’s post below for a much better answer.

My opinion: If you don’t exercise you have to derail and pay the fine. (Especially if you have other things you are prioritising over exercise.)

However your fine print might save you here: “A workout is a training session where taxing the body is the main intention” If you’re ill your body taxing threshold will be much lower than usual, so riding your bike down the block might count.

Hopefully this experience (and an increased pledge) will inspire you to build up more buffer for the next time.

P.S. Get well soon! Rest up and don’t overdo it!


I personally use the legitimacy check for these types of situations. The beeminder folks are pretty good at being a neutral third party about it.


It looks like I will derail. Yesterday I was definately not fit enough to excercise with headaches and flu like symptoms. Today I’m well enough to normally have done something light, but in the end I couldn’t. When the time went by with work, kids, dinnermaking and then a long meeting with the parents of my boy’s football team, I don’t really feel that I could have prioritized that differently. I sortof planned to suck up to it after the meeting, but it just lasted too long. Training too late is not for me conducive to a good nights sleep and a well rested start on the next work day.

Having a bigger buffer is of course nice and well, but my experience after 6 months of beeminder is that I need to balance the goal between ambition (more difficult goal) and realism (easier goal). The result of this is that I have few safe days on all goals where I really need the beeminding.

Thank you for your opinions :smile:


I just email support if I know I’m going to derail but I have what I consider a legitimate excuse for it (these generally are one of “I was an idiot and should have booked a break a week ago but forgot”, “I’m ill and can’t make progress on this goal” or “I have an injury that attempting to make progress on this goal would aggravate”) and ask them to put an appropriate number of days break.

This seems to be the intended approach. If your Beeminder goal requires you to do things you’re physically incapable of doing or that will be an actively bad idea to do, you shouldn’t do them. The objective is to limit Akrasia, not to have omniscient powers which let you foresee all possible obstacles.

ETA: Also, if you’re worried you’d abuse this for a goal you can always weasel-proof the goal. I haven’t found this necessary though - the step of interacting with and providing an excuse to a real person has been more than enough to keep me honest.


I hadn’t thought about this approach, even if I regularly mail support about other issues …

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Yes, we encourage you to nurture that sense of wrongness! (: For one thing, you want the graph to measure a meaningful metric, which it only is if all the datapoints represent what you actually did. So I think it’s much better to let the derailment happen and reply to the legit check email to explain the extenuating circumstances.

I had this exact issue. I simply emailed support and they flattened the road for that day (and would have flattened it for more days if need be) the result? No derailment, the graph is accurate and I only felt somewhat wrong for taking up the time of the support people.


Again, we 100% endorse this. We used to have an elaborate Force Majeure clause but it turned out to suffice to just let people reply to the legit check to say what happened. If that’s too much flexibility, check the “weaselproof me” box in settings! Then we’ll be more hard-nosed.

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