Beeminder Forum

Mary's Beeminder Experiments Journal

A thread where I track how my experiments are going, so that I don’t clutter up discussion in the other threads about them.

Here’s the first experiment I’m trying out. (Well, trying again, since I’ve done a version of this before):

Experiment: Using Beeminder for the sting, but not as the cue
TL;DR: I’m going to try using Beeminder for the accountability part only, using other things to remind me to do the things I’m committing to.


Exercise goals

Cardio Hours

  • Beeminder Goal: Upping it to 2 hrs / week (20 minutes 6 times a week).
  • Trigger(s): For the first 2 weeks (which I’ll extend if I’m not in the rhythm by then), I’ve put a recurring event in my calendar for every morning, around when my first work session ends, so that I don’t forget. I can move it if I need to but, for me, it gets harder and harder to find time to do it later in the day. I’ve also created a reminder the day after that 2 weeks is up to remind myself to consider whether I need to extend those calendar entries or if it mostly feels like part of my routine already. (I expect I’ll need to extend the reminders.)
  • Beeminder Reminder: At 2:00 PM, by which time I’m usually done, in case I forgot to enter the data when I did it.

Cardio Mini-habit

This is a mini-habit goal. To satisfy it, I only have to change into my gym clothes and do one minute of cardio. This is to reinforce consistency even on days when I’ve satisfied my cardio graph or am not feeling great, etc. (More about mini-habits: The book & a YouTube summary)

  • Beeminder Goal: +1 per day for 100 days in a row
  • Trigger(s): This gets triggered by the same cue as the mary/cardio cue. (i.e., the calendar entries and, eventually, a regular habit of moving from my first work block to my workout)
  • Beeminder Reminder: In case something’s gone wrong with the data entry, since it’s automatically entered from the other goal, I’ve got my Beeminder reminder starting at 8:00 PM (which I’ve aimed to make my “wrapping up life admin” time).

Beat Ring Fit (Nintendo Switch)

This goal is on pause for a couple of weeks because I’ve hurt my wrist and you can’t really ring fit without using your wrists.

  • Beeminder Goal: Play at least 1-1/2 hours per week (and at least once a week) until I beat the game (which I’d like to do before self-isolation and shielding end). The goal has a “max safe days” (i.e. max number of days off) of 6 days, so that I have to play it at least once a week.
  • Trigger(s): My cardio will be RingFit by default until the goal’s done, so remembering to do cardio will cue this. When I don’t feel like doing it, I can check the goal to see if I have the room to do a different kind of cardio that day. I’ve got a reminder in my calendar in a week to see if I can start using it again or need to extend the time off (doing other cardio stuff until I can).
  • Beeminder Reminder: At 2:00 PM with the mary/cardio goal’s data-entry reminder.

Strength Training

  • Beeminder Goal: 1 hour per week and at least every 4 days.
  • Trigger(s): I’ll go straight into strength training from cardio. (I know most people like to do the opposite, but the barrier to start is higher for me on cardio than on strength training, so for now I’ll start with the one I like less rather than having to start it when I’ve already tired myself out a bit.)
  • Beeminder Reminder: At 8:00 PM, in case something’s gone wrong with the data (this goal is automatically tracked through Strava).

Strength Mini-habit

  • Beeminder Goal: Mini habit tied to mary/strength. +1 per day for 100 days in a row
  • Trigger(s): Triggered by the cue for mary/strength.
  • Beeminder Reminder: 8:00 PM, in case the data didn’t get automatically entered somehow.

Yoga (for Flexibility)

  • Beeminder Goal: At least 15 minutes a week (to start) and at least every other week.
  • Trigger(s): I plan on doing this on Saturdays when I would normally start work if it were a weekday so I’ve created a recurring calendar event at that time for the next 8 weeks, presuming by then I’ll be more or less used to that being my Saturday routine and that I can move it to being a reminder instead of a calendar event. (I’ve made it 8 weeks instead of 2 or 4 cause I think a weekly habit’ll take longer to get used to.)
  • Beeminder Data-entry Reminder: At 8:00 PM

Pilates (for Core Strength)

  • Beeminder Goal: At least 15 minutes a week (to start) and at least every other week.
  • Trigger(s): I plan on doing this on Sundays when, like the yoga goal, I would normally start work if it were a weekday so I’ve created a recurring calendar event at that time, also for the next 8 weeks and with everything else like the yoga goal.
  • Beeminder Data-entry Reminder: At 8:00 PM

An early lesson

Yesterday I went through my routine, having forgotten that I’d upped my cardio from just a mini-habit of doing however much I want (as long as it was at least one minute) to a minimum of 2 hours a week. I went through a little cardio and then some strength training, showered, got back to work, and much later realized that I still owed some cardio! I ended up having to do that in the evening. I bet I won’t forget my new rate twice, though.

I also forgot that I’d had a rate change yesterday on a do-less goal (that hasn’t been listed here yet) and proceeded along under the assumption of the old rate and had to ask support to help me with it. Again, I doubt I’ll do that twice!

Learned: When I change my rate on a goal, I need to put a reminder of my new rate somewhere I’ll notice it at the right time to remind myself of the rate change!!

In this case, I’ve added the rate for both cardio and strength to the calendar entry that reminds me to start cardio after my first work block. I’ve also added a note to the alarm that goes off to remind me about something related to my do less so that I’ll remember the new rate. I’m also going to add an entry in my reminder app for the date my rate will change whenever I change the rate on a goal from now on. (This wouldn’t work well with my auto-dialled goals, since the rates would always be in flux, but I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.)

Goals Related to Longer Overnight Fasts

(This is something my body happens to do well with and that I’ve played around with for a long time to better learn how it responds, when I should pause, what lengths feel good for me personally, and so on. I’ve also talked to a doctor about it. I’m very much not claiming that this is a kind of goal everyone should try; just breaking down how I plan to trigger the habits.)

Eat My Last Meal or Snack Earlier

  • Beeminder Goal: Work my way back down to not eating after 7:30 PM on most days
  • Trigger(s): An alarm on my phone goes off at 7:00 to remind me to eat dinner so it doesn’t sneak up on me. (I’ll change it to just a daily reminder, instead of an alarm, once I’ve gotten it down to 7:30 on my graph and am finding myself thinking of it before the alarm on most days.)
  • Beeminder Data-entry Reminder: Goes off at 7:35 PM to remind me, in case I haven’t entered the data yet.

Record Breakfast Start Time

  • Beeminder Goal: This is a tracking-only goal. It’s linked to a different goal that tracks total fasting time.
  • Trigger(s): I’m more or less in the habit of noticing my breakfast time, so I don’t need an IRL trigger for this one anymore. (I also have a way of getting an accurate start time if I do happen to forget until later in the day, so I can be a little more flippant about the reminder on this one.)
  • Beeminder Data-entry Reminder: Set to start at 11:30 AM.

Length of Overnight Fast

  • Beeminder Goal: This goal adds the number of hours before midnight that I stopped eating in the evening (from mary/startfast) and the number of hours after midnight in the morning that I had breakfast (from mary/breakfast) for the total number of overnight fasting hours. (That happens automatically when I enter the data for the other goals.) In the morning, the “total” it tells me I need is my earliest breakfast time if I want to hit my target fasting hours that day.) For now, it’s ramping up very slowly. I’ll turn my attention to it more when the mary/startfast goal is steady at the maintenance time. At the moment, it’s increasing at 7-1/2 minutes a day until it reaches 14 hours.
  • Trigger(s): I’ve got a post-it on the fridge door, near where I grab the handle, and another at eye-level on the back wall of the cupboard where the breakfast foods are.
  • Beeminder Data-entry Reminder: Starts at 11:30 AM. (Like the breakfast one since they’re connected.)

Record an Overnight Fast X Days Per Week

  • Beeminder Goal: This is to set how often in the week I record fasting information, so that I don’t have to do it 7 days per week every week or if there’s any reason I later want to pull back, but not completely. It gets its info automatically, when I enter the info for the other goals.
  • Trigger(s): The triggers tied to the other goals remind me of this one. I just assume I’m fasting daily and then check this goal to see if I have a buffer if I want to skip it for a day or plan a day I’ll want to skip).
  • Beeminder Data-entry Reminder: Set at 8:00 PM, in case something weird has happened that I need to check, but this should never usually be going off since the data’s all auto-entered.

Milestone Goal: Record My Overnight Fast for 100 Days In a Row

  • Beeminder Goal: This is like mary/recordfast, but will only last 100 days and does require that I record every day during those 100 days. It’s a medium-term challenge that I decided to set up as a distinct goal instead of ramping up mary/recordfast and keeping it ramped for 100 days. There’s no real reason to do that other than that I wanted it to show up as a distinct challenge and it’s autodata anyway, so there’s no real friction to just having it. If I fall off during the 100 days, I’ll pay the pledge and archive the goal and continue with mary/recordfast only.
  • Trigger(s): Also doesn’t need additional triggers, since the ones for the other goals cover this one.
  • Beeminder Data-entry Reminder: Starts at 11:30 AM, like mary/fasting, and will only go off if something’s gone wrong with the data (or if I’m doing to derail, but I’ll already know that, presumably).