How to cook more?

Hi all, this is my first post here :slight_smile:
I am wondering how to add a goal that would encourage me to cook more? Do you have any insights ? What would the quantifiable part be? Did i cook yes/no? Did i plan for the week and bought missing ingredients? How many things i cook? But there are things that require more effort…

Often, i end up eating cereals or toast and i think it is time to change that.

Moreover, how do i choose a reasonable non stressing but still motivating goal per week?

I am looking forward to hearing any advice you may have!


Hmm, good question. I think if I were in your shoes I would be looking for the smallest behavior that would have the biggest impact and beemind that. Which is likely to be different for each person. And then I would create a Beeminder goal with a low starting rate, and then either slowly ramp up the rate manually or use my autodialer to automatically increase the rate over time.

Can you describe your status quo? How much cooking do you currently do? What do you find being the biggest pain points or obstacles to doing it more regularly?


Well whats your actual reason for wanting to cook? To eat more nutrients? Maybe you could make a goal of eating at least one vegetable a day. And even if you cook broccoli one day and eat it as leftovers the next day I’d still count the second day as eating a vegetable. And I think it doesn’t have to be “cooking.” Could be making a smoothie or salad too which is nice in summer.


This post has some good rules of thumb about when to use Beeminder: The Want-Can-Will Test for Akrasia | Beeminder Blog
In my experience, Beeminder works great for goals that I procrastinate but also want to do.
When I don’t want to do something and try to use Beeminder to force myself to do it, I generally end up derailing and eventually abandoning the goal.

For me, stress is more related to the rate than it is to the action.
Example: for me, reading 5 pages per day is too easy, reading 50 pages per day is too hard.

My advice is to start yourself with a nice gentle slope of once or twice a week of… something.

Some ideas:

  • use the stove/oven
  • cook any recipe. (Minimum number of ingredients?)

Another piece of advice (at least for the beginning) is to give yourself max one point per day.
This creates a more relaxed atmosphere. Whatever you decide to measure, after you do it once you are done for the day.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!


Hi, thanks for your questions/comments!

I want to cook more to eat healthier, and to have a nice home-made meal at lunch and dinner – at least some of them :slight_smile: .
I sometimes order takeaway – which may have lots of salt, oil, etc., and sometimes, I just snack from the refrigerator.
I sometimes have bursts of cooking, e.g. rice, fish, salads, etc… but most often, I’m so tired at night that I don’t have the energy to prepare anything. I think there is some procrastination going on, since I tell myself: “I have to think what to prepare” “I then have to clean the dishes again”, etc.
Once I make it a habit, these phrases won’t be in my head – hopefully.

I loved the idea of the autodialer! Thanks @narthur! I already put it to use in two of my goals, let’s see how it goes.
I will most probably use it here as well. I’m now trying a “how many things I cook in a week”, where every different thing counts, e.g. a salad, a protein, etc. (like @mattj256 said, “cook any recipe”)

Usually, during the day I’m busy, so I have to cook late at night to have food ready.


Let me just add that one small thing that helps me is making a plan at the beginning of the week of what I am going to cook each night.


Going along with what @poisson said, you might like
(I am not paid by them!)
That website has some good structures related to grocery buying and meal planning, but no accountability.

I myself also hardly ever cook. Do what I say, not what I do…


I third planning it out ahead of time. I was pretty much the same as you: when I’m tired at the end of the day, I don’t have the energy to figure out what I’m making, let alone do all the work associated with cooking. I’ll share what I did to solve the same problem you’re having, and hopefully it will be helpful.

Disclaimer: I was pretty inconsistent about this until I created a beeminder goal for cooking.

On Saturdays, I would figure out my menu for the week and go shopping. On Sundays, I would cook for the whole week (tbf, this is easy for me because I’ll eat the same dinner every day). If you don’t want to cook so much ahead of time, consider what prep and organization you can do. Chopping, mixing up marinades, pre-measuring spices, etc. The idea is the more you do ahead of time, the less you have to do day-of. And the less you have to do day-of, the easier it will be for you to get started.

I created a once-a-week beeminder goal that comes due on Sundays for cooking, and since I generally keep my goals so “done” makes them blue, this means on Saturday “cook” comes onto my radar (by turning orange) so I’m never surprised on Sunday that it’s time to cook again. I’m still regularly shocked when I see my data and see how consistent I’ve been for how long. NOT doing it every week has become a vague memory.

Although I don’t have a goal created for it, I’ve recently discovered that it’s incredibly practical to fill those minutes when you’re not actively doing something (like the chicken is cooking or the pasta is resting and you’re just waiting for it to be done) with washing a few dishes. This means after dinner, I usually only have to wash the plate I used and maybe 1 pot. So in my mind, “washing up after cooking” doesn’t seem like a big ordeal because the actual work of it has mixed in with the work of cooking, so it’s no longer really preventing me from Doing The Thing.

This has worked so well for me, I actually started spending a whole Saturday once a month cooking several meals and freezing them in portions, then when it’s dinnertime, I just pull out a bag of food and heat it up.


I have beeminded the opposite before… eating out less with a do less goal… that worked well. Esp combined with a fasting goal so I only have to think about one meal… and forces me to plan my meals if I want to eat out with friends with the weekend…

now I simply use Hello Fresh for a lot of my meals… makes it easy to get rid of the planning and shopping time… and learning to cook better and expand my options and skills… and get excited about cooking

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