In another thread, @mary talked about the importance of having clear boundaries for your goals: what counts as satisfying the goal? what counts as derailing? what counts as a legit or non-legit derailment?
I’ve realized I don’t have very clear boundaries for a lot of my goals, and I didn’t write out anything or plan the setup very well. I was just like “I want to do X, so I’ll make a goal called X” without specifying more of the details for what counts or what to do in difficult situations.
So, here is a template or checklist for some things I would like to have pinned down for my goals. Maybe the beeminder interface should ask you these things specifically when making a goal, as a form of helpful friction.
I would like to know people’s thoughts on this checklist - how I should answer these, what items I should add or remove, and so forth. @phi @mary @narthur @adamwolf @dreev @shanaqui @halfplane @apolyton or anyone else who has some thoughts on this.
Deadlines and Reminders
- What is the deadline? How do I want to be reminded of it?
- Can I snooze this goal? Under what circumstances?
- How late can I snooze it?
- What happens if I break my snoozing rules?
- What do I actually have to do by the deadline in order to enter data? Just start it?
- What counts as starting?
- What happens if I start but don’t do the rest of the task?
- Can I do a “pre-check” for this goal (that is, enter data right as the deadline is coming up, and then do it after)?
- If so, how much time do I have to do it?
- What happens if I don’t? How will I make sure my data stays accurate?
- What do I actually have to do for this goal (and how much do I have to do) to be able to enter a “1”?
- What are the “implied disjunctives” for this task - that is, what situations or conditions would qualify as completing this task other than that?
- What counts as non-legit?
- Have I considered what happens if any of the following prevents me from completing the task: illness? lack of sleep? work obligations? social obligations? technical difficulties? supply issues? financial issues? preplanned travel? someone else gets in the way? purpose of goal is defeated?
- How will I decide whether or not a derailment is non-legit?
[Goodhart’s law says that you get what you measure and optimize for, not what you actually want - Beeminder tends to be very susceptible to it]
- What is the real purpose of this goal?
- How might my setup of this goal conflict with the real purpose? What are some situations where the purpose is better served by not doing the task?
- What will I do in case of such a conflict?
[because there’s a reason part of you doesn’t want to do the task - better look at that reason rather than just cover it up with Beeminder]
- Why am I having trouble getting this task done? What part of me doesn’t want to do it?
- If I imagine that suddenly I have no aversion to doing this, what issues come up for me? How does it benefit me to not to it?