How long should I commit to swimming for and how to beemind that?

I’ve decided to start doing more exercise. Because I’ve previously injured myself (in a minor way) doing exercise, I’m keen to try swimming, which I haven’t done since school. On the other hand, my memories of swimming aren’t pleasurable. Too long ago to know why really.

I’m sure it’ll take a while for the initial discomfort / aching / panic / terror to wear off.

So, how long should I give it to say I’ve given it a decent try out, and can one beemind that? If so, how? Not sure there’s a way to tie yourself in for more than a week?

Other tricks not strictly beeminder very welcome also!


I do not have good answers for a lot of these questions, but one of the tricks I do sometimes is to start a goal with like… 3 weeks initial safety buffer. This gives me lots of time to do the activity, enter the data, get used to it all before I’m on the real hook for anything.


You could try scheduling periodic breaks in a new goal to give you opportunities to archive it.

Alternatively, you could cap your pledge very low to allow you to decide to call it quits without the charge being too painful.

Of course, if you’re ok with the idea of sticking it out for a week after you’ve decided its not for you, Beeminder’s got you covered by default.

It might be a good idea to just beemind getting into the pool instead of time swimming, as that may allow you to warm up to the new routine without pushing yourself so hard you give up too soon. You could add a time goal later on when you have a better idea of what you’re ready for.


Thanks for the answers. I’m not sure either of those address the question of how to commit to doing it for at least x weeks/months. I think I just need to beemind some number of 45 minute sessions a week, and also decide up front how many weeks/months I think I should give it for a “proper try”, but how to stick to the second part?

I guess the general beeminding question here is “how to not cry uncle too soon”. A one week akrasia horizon here seems too short. Maybe that’s the solution: up the horizon to a month or more for this goal? Don’t know if that’s configurable in beeminder, or whether there’s some other way to approach that.

It would be nice to think up some other ideas to stick to what I decide about how many weeks to try it for, I’ll think about that…

Re swimming: I reckon a proper try is going to be a few months rather than a few weeks. Maybe exactly how long is is more a question for swimmers than beeminders but I’d love to hear opinions from any swimmers here. As for how many times a week, maybe I’ll start at one a week and work up to three. Turns out my local swimming pool is helping me here: if you sign up for a course they insist on you paying for 2 months of swimming, and the course is no extra cost on top of that (this is, a non profit co-operative that runs government-built pools etc. here in the UK).

1 Like

Interesting – this is to make it more likely that you won’t archive it, right?

I can see something like that might be appropriate for this goal.

Actually this is a subject I’ve been meaning to discuss here: I’ve been starting every goal with 0 safety buffer. Mostly that’s just by accident, but actually I do currently feel that that has the advantage of stopping me starting too many goals at once – I know I have to get up to 7 days buffer before I can add more goals, or I’ll risk ending up with too many to get started at once, or just plain overcommitted (apart from easy goals that take little time – I just add those anyway). As a relative newcomer with the zeal of a convert, I think that’s a good thing for me.

1 Like

Hmm, that’s super interesting. I’m not aware of an option to configure the akrasia horizon.

I wonder if you could work with support (@shanaqui) to set up some stricter fine print for the goal that they’d help you enforce? Like, “Don’t let me archive this goal before [date]”

1 Like

I’m sure they know but just to be clear so as not to waste support’s time: I’m an impostor here in that I’m using my own software – I just try to keep the discussion focused in terms of beeminder proper since that’s more likely to be of interest to people here.

So I’m really interested to see how this is/could be done in beeminder proper, but I don’t actually plan to do it there myself.

(If I get to implementing that this week, I’ll try it out with a longer horizon for this goal and report back how it goes)