Honesty and commitment / manual beeminding

Hi all,

I had a look for posts about this - but couldn’t find anything exactly on this subject. Hope I didn’t miss anything, and thanks in advance for your help.

I want to start using Beeminder for more than just my weight (bee minded through Withings), and hit a snag with manual tracking - where each time I do something has to be manually input (in this case recording my diet in MyFitnessPal). This barely feels worthwhile, as it’s so easy to cheat. Even though I’ve kept this habit up recently, I’m struggling to see the value in using a commitment device to keep me on course. Does anyone have any tips on ‘manual’ tracking - i.e. keeping yourself honest? Or should I always be trying to use integrations that remove any temptation to cheat?

The automatic tracking from using Withings works a treat - I just want to extend this into other areas.

(Edited to remove question about Runkeeper, whereby I totally neglected that at the stage of setting up the pledge, you can specify hours/times/miles etc - I had asked if there was a way of doing it by number of times, but with only a certain number of minutes qualifying - I can now see I can change how the pledge is set up. Whoops!)

Thanks in advance again for your help!

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Well, it turns out that Beeminder users don’t cheat.

Not least because it’s such a powerful tool that you should only lie to your graph if you never want to achieve anything much. ever.

If you can automate something, say with IFTTT, then that’s the easiest way to avoid the hassle of manual entry. I do that for my gym goal, for instance, checking in on Swarm when I physically arrive, and letting that update my Beeminder goal.

One way that I use to reduce the temptation of weaselling, is to keep my pledges low enough that I’d rather not pay them, but it’s not anywhere near worth faking data in order to not pay them, if that makes sense. I even signed up to our Plan Bee subscription so that I could have lots of goals with no pledge whatsoever.

The other thing is to make sure that your goal slopes are achievable and sustainable. Get into the habit of never derailing, and it’s easier to never derail even after you push the slope a little. Make sure not to burn out as you add more goals!

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Thanks Philip - much appreciated!

I will read those links shortly.

For now, makes a tonne of sense that managing the pledges is the first step. And while I have no intention of being dishonest, I’m merely trying to anticipate what could happen in a different state. Higher pledges have worked for me in the past - maybe that’s where the automaticity works best.

Will come back if any further questions.

Thanks again!

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I have noticed a few situations in which I’ve not been able to stay honest with Beeminder FWIW:

  • Sometimes when I’m in the period where a goal is being archived I will lie. I usually don’t, but if the goal has proven particularly frustrating and I just want it done with I may.
  • If I turn off pessimistic presumptive on a do less goal (which for goal patterns where I’d have zero days far more often than not is really needed in order to make the goal not irritating) I find myself sometimes telling lies of omission. I’ve solved this problem by never using do less goals.
  • Sometimes I “fudge” data when I’ve failed at recording things properly in order to get back on track if I feel like I’ve done enough work but it’s failed to be recorded.

In general the thing that I’ve found is that it’s easy to be honest with Beeminder as long as a) It’s not hard work to do so (doing the goal can be hard work, but getting the data into beeminder shouldn’t be. e.g. it shouldn’t require detailed measurement) and b) Dishonesty requires me to actively tell lies rather than just omit some information.

My goals are 100% manual (because high-leverage activities tend to be very customized).

(a) I’ve got a tacit contract with myself. Whenever I fudge a number in any slightest way then I will hit archive on that goal, regardless how much it hurts not to make any future progress. Except I’m explicitly allowed to “pause” the goal by entering as many fake points as the yellow brick slope rises that day in case I’m sick, on a business trip, or something similar.

(b) At goal creation time, I make very clear rules what counts for how many points. This is actually quite important and takes some practise.

Forgetting data entry: Make it a habit. Give it its proper time and place in your morning routine / evening routine / commute.

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