This is an experiment to see how making a single thread where I talk about my various Beeminder goals and other productivity aids. Publicly committing to things should help me stay on track, and I like reading other posts where people talk about their Beeminder goals so hopefully people will find my thoughts as I tweak things useful and I get some advice and encouragement out of it along the way.
To start with, there’s one big goal and the reason I tried Beeminder in the first place. I switched jobs in late 2013, and the 2nd half of 2014 turned out to be really stressful for me. There was something of a death march project, and I tend to get fixated on things on general so I was putting a lot of energy into work and had stopped exercising and eating well. One day I decided I was going to schedule some time where I wasn’t going to be interrupted and stressed out, so I scheduled an appointment to donate blood and come to work later. They rejected me when they took my blood pressure and it was 192/112, which is about the level where you should be going to the emergency room.
So I saw my doctor, started taking blood pressure medication, exercising again, eating better and working on reducing stress and pretty quickly got out of the insane range. At that point it was clear to me that I wasn’t young anymore and couldn’t afford to let myself go without serious health consequences so I made a commitment to myself that I would lose one pound every two weeks or quit and find another job after taking some time off.
That worked pretty well, but vacations are always tough for me. I came back from one such vacation in the middle of 2015 and I’d read about Beeminder so decided to give it a try then and it’s worked pretty well for me so far. I had something of a derailment issue at the end of last year, so early this year I did a reset of everything with fewer goals this time.
I have 3 goals related to losing weight. My current weight loss related goals are a typical weight loss at 1 pound per two weeks which is pretty conservative. I can lose more without trying to hard so it’s easy to build up a large buffer there, but it’s also good because that’s a line in the sand. Then there’s a do more binary goal to exercise 6 days a week. This is going to the gym 3 times a week, or doing either pushups or chin ups at home the other days, but really anything counts. The final one used to be a do more goal of days where I eat well, but that had the failure mode of as soon as I broke it I would behave poorly the rest of the day because that was my chance for any temptation I had been considering without any extra cost. So I’ve switched it to a do less goal to have fewer cheat meals, at 3 times a week now.
I don’t use Beeminder in quite the typical way. Since one of my primary goals is to reduce stress in my life I don’t want daily deadlines hanging over my head. I start with the 7 day buffer and try to set my goals so that I will gain one day a week if I follow them like I want to, building up to 14 days where I level it off. Since I reset about 6 weeks ago some goals are just starting to get to that point.
That’s enough background for now I think.