Imperfect Beeminding, or just choose some metric dammit.

For quite a while I wanted to add a fitness goal to beeminder, but I also wanted it to fit me. Previously I tried a “just reach your fitbit step goal” x number a week, but I had to dial it down because it rarely fit into my day and then it became too easy.

So I ended that goal and did the worst possible thing: nothing.

At work I have access to a free gym, a couple of my coworkers who would be happy to design a workout plan for me and help me get started - but that is just not happening.

Yeah I could go running, bb (before Beeminder) I needed to lose a bunch of weight and as part of that I followed the C25k plan. So yeah I could go running. Or bicycling - I live in Denmark and there are plenty of places I could go near me. I just need to put some air into the tires and go.

But it is currently snowing. I don’t mind the rain, but snow and freezing temperatures is one wrong step and two months with a leg in a cast.

So what is a bee to do? Wait until spring?

Well that was my original solution, but that is a bad one. After mulling it over I realized the obvious alternative to doing nothing was to do something, anything, so I set up a bundle goal with a running option, a reach-your-step-goal option and an alternative that could be done at home and was focused entirely on bodyweight.

That setup is far from perfect, but I did do 20 pushups and 20 squads today that I wouldn’t have done otherwise - and if I get an idea for a better metric I can always update the goal.

If I do find the perfect metric, great. If I don’t, at least I got something done and that is better than nothing.

My hope with this post is to make you think about which goals you have put of because you just couldn’t come up with a good way to track them and strongly encourage you to choose some metric right now and just do it.

If nothing else, please post the goal you are thinking about as a reply, perhaps I can come up with some imperfect metric for you. Or maybe I can steal the goal from you.


I’ve found just making a binary do more goal where you enter 1 if you did something to be a very good start in cases like that. Forcing yourself to do something is half the battle, and if you find that you are consistently skirting that in some way you can tweak from there.


I do the same as erickthered, inspired by something I read on the Beeminder blog long ago I think - a goal called “Daily sweat”. Not that it is daily, I have at 4 per week. I’ve specified what I consider to be a daily sweat in the small print.


I did have a goal that I had no idea how to Beemind and started typing up a post about it, but it was unfocused so I wound up deleting it. After sleeping on it I decided to take my own advice.

I’ve found myself occasionally getting way too upset over small things; the most recent time was when the overhead compartments were full and I had to gate check luggage. I used to have a much more even disposition, and I’d like to get that back. It’s pretty rare, and doesn’t last that long, but it would be strictly better if I realized that I was frustrated at something I had no control over, accepted it, and moved on.

How do you Beemind something that is just what you are thinking? Well I decided to try making a simple do more goal called “Happy” that I get to count days where I don’t do that. Maybe it will help break my mind out of the negative loop the next time this comes up. Who knows how well this will actually work?


I have a ridiculously complicated exercise goal. But it’s evolved slowly to be that way, each part of the complexity serves a purpose and it makes sense to me. And doesn’t actually feel very complicated from the inside – unless I think about how it would look to someone else. .

Here’s are my rules. It won’t all make sense of course, but the gist should be clear. I welcome optimisation.


Medium term goal: 40 awesome points per week. 

Awesome points: 
All points * 0.5 if more than 2 days since yoga >=10 (or YC, yoga class, in which case I can estimate points for the class), and more than 1 day since either a swim or a 14 point day. (0.1 bonus for a 14 point day, to facilitate clear marking.) 
Yoga: 1 per group of asanas 
Swim: 4 for getting in. 0.5 for each swimming burst. 
5-minute workout: 2. 
A set of squats, pushups etc: 0.1 
M7: 1.5 per round 
Running: 1 for starting & 2 per 4 min actually running, or 2 for running to station in 7 min. 3 for running to station in 6 min 
Walking or dancing: 1 per 30 min (up to max 4 per day). 

Pyramid: time score plus 2 points.

Although I’ve tweaked the rules, I haven’t adjusted where I wrote the “Medium term goal”. Forgot about that. I’ve long since passed 40, and am now at 77 points per week.


@erickthered, I have a similar goal I call “grumps”. I call a grump when I am frustrated and snap at someone or say something snarky. It has been an overwhelming success so far.


hey now, that description sounds familiar… cough the entirety of the beeminder web interface cough


Nice! I’m not sure I’m ready to give up snarky comments. Actually I’m much better when there are people around to talk to. It’s when I’m alone that my thoughts spiral in a negative direction more.

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@adamwolf I sometimes get snippy with people or as @erickthered mentioned I get overly frustrated/upset about things I can’t control. So I would like to know how you set up the goal.

My grumps goal was just marking 1 on a goal when I did something because I
was grumpy, and then I wrote down what happened in one sentence.

I suspect that simply logging and writing them down is where I got all of
the value–I was never in danger of derailing–but I use Beeminder so much
that I tend to use it for anything I can massage it to do.


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my imperfect exercise goal is: exercise once a day.

it started with “pushups”, now its more like pushups, situps, stretches, running, pull ups and some back exercises (because computer time is not healthy…)

you could also do: go all out of a 20 minute exercise thing everyday. As long as you do those 20 minutes will full attention, it counts.

Also the point in the day on when you do it counts. Some people advocate mornings, others evenings. Others just never exercise :wink:

starting, accelerating, fine tuning, decreasing, whatever works for you, beeminding is kinda personal :smiley: