Just do better

In the past, I’ve tended to over-commit to goals and to fail to take a number of different factors into account. (Then I fail, feel supremely irritated with myself, and so on.) In the spirit of Nick Winter’s “success spiral” idea (which I’ll admit I was told about by a friend, and haven’t read about myself, so I might be getting it wrong–sorry, Nick), I’m trying a completely different approach. Last month I reset all of my goals, and added a few new ones, so that they would start again at 0 today, with a 0 rate.

From there, I’ll be using my autodialer script to enforce keeping up with the same rate or improving, but to disallow losing ground. Nearly all of my 79 goals (yes, you read that right), change from “do x, do y, do z” to just “do better”. (Some of these will also use “max safe days”, on and off, to speed up the rate at which improvement is required.)

(Sorry, most of them are set on private at the moment, while I use the API to clean the roads up so they don’t look like a complete mess, but I’ll report here from time to time on how this ends up going. (And I’ll probably improve the script a bit so that it includes things like maximums and minimums, and then I’ll share it again.)

If you’re using averaging or any other way to gradually improve something, let me/us know below! (So that we can steal your ideas for our own goals!!)


Won’t this just lead to the same situation again where everything builds up to overwhelm in x months when you approach your physical limits?

For most of my goals I have it set to a conservative base rate that is easy to stay above.
I try to keep the challenging ones to a minimum.
That said, I am gradually improving my pushups goal by increasing the road by one every time I have 4 days safety buffer, but even that is an easy increase.


I hope not!

Theoretically, it shouldn’t… so long as I take off the max safe days once
things get rolling. It’ll only ever ask me to do as much as I’ve done in
the recent past, cause it sets the rate to the average for the last X days
(currently 14, will change to 28 later).

There’s the possibility that things will get really busy in one area and
that I’ll need to cut back on others, or that a really busy period at work
will cause my average to be inflated and will push my rate up to an
unsustainable number, but I can still use the take-a-break feature when I
see those crunch periods coming, and I’ll have some maximums set up for
most of the goals eventually, as well.

The idea is to set limits on the “max effort required” side, but not on the
min., so that I’m easing into it slowly, keeping up with what I’m capable,
and, generally speaking, not losing ground.

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i read 79 goals and immediately came down here to say “learning from past mistakes, right?” :smile:

definitely interested to see how this approach works out!


Ha, yeah… I’m hoping the 0 slope + slow build will make it work, in the
end. But you have my full permission to email me a chain of "told you so"s
on a daily basis for a few weeks when it crashes and burns.


I’m super excited to follow this! You are a legend, @mary!

If you’re not up for reading the whole book, at least read his guest blog post.


Added to Instapaper.

I’ve added maximums and minimums to various goals, so that they never end up dialling above what I (currently think of as their reasonable upper limits. Hopefully that will help. (I’ll eventually add that bit to the github file too, if it turns out people are using it. (Even then, it might take me a few weeks to have the time, I’m afraid.))