Beeminder Forum

How do you cope with that your derail doesn't account for the severity of the "crime"?

For example, I make a goal to make sure I don’t drink more than 3 glasses of tea a day, now if I were to drink 4 one day and derail, there’s nothing stopping me from drinking 100 for the same punishment. This is sort of silly as an example but I would like to know how you guys work with/around this? For my weightloss goals this I feel like is a big issue. I tend to come home tired on certain days and make a bad decision but I’m nearly encouraged to “get my moneys worth” if I do derail instead of just stopping/breaking a little bit and moving on.


Welcome to the forum!

For your specific example, a do-less goal might actually solve the problem, since you can decide how much buffer you want to be given when you derail. So you could set it to only give you 3 glasses buffer when you derail, so that you’d derail again if you drank more than that additional amount.

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Thank you I will try to test this out when I can

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There’s also the fact that unless you cap the pledge level pretty low there’s a very limited number of days you could say “what the hell, I’ve already derailed anyway”.


I feel like i have to have it pretty low otherwise I fear I might weasel when the time comes

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Another way to avoid the “what the hell” response is to have a secondary goal, with a higher amount of allowed teas per day, but also a much higher pledge. That way, if you derail on the “3 per day” goal, you’ll pay your $5, but if you go ahead and drink 6 that same day, your “5 per day” goal will ALSO derail, at maybe $20 (or whatever amount would really make you wince). Sort of a “bad days can only be this bad” barricade.


Sadly, without instaderailing in the moment that you cross the bright red line, the derailment doesn’t occur until the deadline, which means that the derailment buffer doesn’t apply until the next day. (Not that I’m advocating for instaderail, just doing the thought experiment!)

This is the way. Tackle the underlying goal from multiple angles and use a service like IFTTT to add a datapoint to the secondary goals whenever you add one to the primary one. (This I’m advocating for, built-in meta autodata!)

You’d also want to set a max safety buffer on the secondary goal so that it never accumulates more than, say, five cups of tea worth of buffer.