Help me get back in the sting of things after a long beebreak

So I’ve been taking a long break from beeminding after making too many goals and getting overwhelmed.

So I want to start again. The problem is that right now I have like 40 or so goals that are all $0 and I’ve just been ignoring them. (I reduced them all to $0 after getting overwhelmed.)

So I think I should either just choose a few of them and bump them up to $1, or archive everything and start over. But I want to somehow preserve all the ones I have now in some fashion because they were part of my system, and because I may want to review them and keep adding more of them back in.

If I just archive them, they’ll get intermingled with my previously archived goals - is there some way to keep them separate but archive them? Is there any easy way to archive them all at once? Maybe prefix the goal names and archive them? Is it reasonable to ask Beeminder support to help with this?

Right now I have widgets for all the 40 or so goals on a side screen on my phone. I was thinking of moving the widgets for the goals that I want to restart to the main screen, and just leaving the rest on the side screen. But then the list widget will still list all the goals I’m not using, unless I archive them. Or maybe I could archive them but leave the widgets on the side screen.

But I have to make sure I know which ones are live and make sure I pay attention to them.

And how do I know how many goals to bring back to start with? Is it too much to bring back 7 of them?

And how do I get back in the habit of remembering to check my goals every day and pay attention to them? I’ve been ignoring them so long it’s become a habit.

I’m having a lot of anxiety about doing this right. Beeminder was the only thing that could actually get me to do things, and then it all fell apart on me, and since then I’ve been really struggling.

Any help you guys could offer would bee appreciated.


If I were in your shoes I’d try to start slow. I’d archive all but the few that had the largest benefit before I took the break. I know that I have a tendency to ramp things up beyond what’s sustainable, so I’m constantly trying to reign myself in.


I would archive everything. If you are worried about the current ones getting intermingled with the old ones, just write down the current ones. Easy peasy.


I’m currently on my second long time break after trying to get into it again.

I strongly suggest tabula rasa. Start with a single goal. Get into the groove with it. When you got it down, add another if you feel it’s worth it.


Really, just one? That really sucks.

I’m hoping it would be ok to do a few since many of the daily goals don’t take very long to complete. Like taking pills or locking my phone in the safe only takes a few seconds.

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Maybe let me rephrase that.

Do as much so it still feels easy.


I limit myself to adding 1 at most every week. If it’s one that takes extra effort to develop like brushing my teeth, I take more. Also I check all my goals every morning. The android app widget makes it easy to have a quick view.

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I would definitely start with one high-value goal (for me, that would be my “write a daily to-do list” goal) and keep it going for at least a day or two before adding more. If it turns out you’re not in the habit of checking your goals yet, or if your life just isn’t going to work with beeminder again just yet, better to find that out with $1 than with $10.

If, after a couple days, you’re back in the swing of things, add a couple more of the easy daily ones, and then keep re-evaluating every couple days. It’s always easier to add more than remove more, especially with beeminder. And that way you delay burnout.


I also fell into ignoring all of my goals, all of the reminders, etc, having set nearly all of them to $0 pledges.

I’m also on the path back. Here’s what’s working for me so far.

  • If a goal is at maximum pledge of $0, it must also have a zero slope and no reminders. (So, no do-less goals on $0!)

  • Conversely, all goals with slopes must have at least a $5 pledge cap and reminders set.

This means that the Zeno reminders I get all have consequences if they’re ignored.

It means that if I want to give a goal a slope, I also need to re-consider what that slope should really be, what the pledge cap should be, when the reminders will be most helpful. All in the context of my life as it is now, not back when the goal was originally created.

It means that my pledgeless goals never derail, never hassle me, and will fall to the bottom of my dashboard, rising to the top only as its end date approaches. It also means that I’ll forget to enter datapoints.

I started down this path back in July after a comment by @adamwolf (iirc) about pledgeless goals. I flattened my roads, removed the reminders, etc. and proceeded to ignore my goals even more than before. For me that was the first step, and then only in December did I start adding slopes to the important goals. Your journey back may be swifter


I’m not sure exactly what happened in these cases, but I’m keen to learn from it, and it sounds to me that the problem was not strictly that you did not have a pledge, but rather that you started to think of 0 pledge goals almost as inactive goals?

Why not set the rate to zero instead of setting the pledge to zero?

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I think you’ve described the solution I came to!

If you can be productive with $0 pledges, by all means, carry on. As soon as you start to ignore them or their reminders, watch out!

I remember seeing somewhere a rule-of-thumb to never skip two events. One is ok, but the second one should be treated as a bright line never to cross.


I heard about it in Matt D’Avella’s video.

@philip, @mufflon: What do you mean by “two events”?

It’s like the Seinfeld method “never miss a day”, but instead you can miss one day but never a second. That gives some flexibility with habits but the necessary rigor to keep doing a thing.

Kinda like a beeminder autoratchet of 2 days.



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Actually, that’s even part of my fine print for some of my goals – I’m allowed to miss one day at any time, no penalty (I enter a fake datapoint with a note), but I HAVE to then do it the next day, and also make up the missing data. This means that, for my journaling goal, if I skip a day, the next day I have to record journaling for the previous day as well as the current day; same with my anki goal etc.

I didn’t realize this was an actual strategy, it just seemed like a good way of giving myself some flexibility when I really needed it, without letting me get too far behind on my goals that benefit from consistency. (The two-day timing was a result of me realizing that I could usually remember journaling from the day before, but I had no chance of remembering journaling from two days ago.)


[fully body shudder] fake data for any reason is such a horribly slippery slope. i know you’ve been beeminding for years so you must’ve worked out a system that’s working for you but i think anyone trying to create rules like that is in real danger of breaking beeminder for themself forever (and it’s just so philosophically repugnant!). relevant blog posts:

aaaand you just inspired me to turn my “orange is the new red” beemail into a forum post – Orange Is The New Red – because i think that’s the sanctioned approach to maintaining flexibility. and i think it’s quite equivalent without tampering with beeminder’s beautiful gleaming bright line!


Yes yes, I’ve had many email conversations with you on this topic, and none of them have changed my mind in the slightest :stuck_out_tongue:

Orange wouldn’t work in this case, because many of these goals are “one a day”, so there’s no way to build up a safety buffer (what would I do, journal for tomorrow? :P) unless my slope was less than one a day. And if I did that, I’d have to set an autoratchet so I didn’t end up with more than one safe day, and once I set up an autoratchet I’d have to remember to turn it off/back on whenever I take a break, etc etc. And long, long experience has taught me that if I HAVE the safe day, I’ll use it even if I don’t really “need” it. Fake data just works better for me, I’m afraid.

(The irony is that my day job involves analyzing data, and bad data quality is the bane of my existence! Hence why I’m careful to leave accurate notes at least :stuck_out_tongue: )

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Curious if having a rate of .5 per day and setting max safety buffer to 1 wouldn’t be roughly equivalent?

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I don’t actually think it’s fake data. Essentially what you’re doing is giving yourself a free pass under certain limited conditions (must enter datapoint with note, do task the next day, make it up, only one at a time).

Then the beeminder goal is properly interpreted as “Did I EITHER do X today OR use my free pass if available?”

For a given day, if you used your free pass consistent with your rules, then you can ethically enter the 1 and it’s not fake data - it accurately reports that you used the free pass properly.

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