My Tonsillectomy Led to a Better Beeminder Goal Creation System

I recently had a tonsillectomy, which has been fun (NOT)! During my recovery, I have had a lot of time to think and become acquainted with a liquid diet. One of the main things I have been thinking about is my Beeminder goals and how often I tend to create a goal only to delete it later when I realize that it has one of the following issues:

  1. I made the goal way too big.
    I do this with a lot of things. Time is finite, but sometimes I forget this. So, I will create a goal with huge ambitions to change my life, only for it to end up with a situation where I am trying to fit a 20-foot couch in a 10-foot space. I end up torching the goal within the first week or suffer many derails until I eventually delete the goal.
  2. The goal does not have an endgame in mind or purpose.
    These goals tend to take time from other goals that matter. When you have a lot of these, it causes issues.

After over a week of thinking, I think I have come up with a solution. It has three parts.

  1. Every goal must align with one or more pillars.
    A pillar is something I want to work towards. My pillars were as follows:

    • Health Hero: This pillar focuses on improving mental and physical well-being. Goals under this pillar may include exercise routines, mindfulness practices, or healthy eating habits.
    • Organizing Oracle: This pillar emphasizes the importance of being organized and efficient. Goals under this pillar may involve creating and maintaining schedules, decluttering and organizing spaces, or developing productive habits.
    • Social Sentinel: This pillar encourages us to strengthen our relationships and connections with others. Goals under this pillar may include spending quality time with loved ones, engaging in social activities, or building new friendships.
    • Learning Luminary: This pillar promotes continuous learning and personal growth. Goals under this pillar may involve reading books, taking online courses, or developing new skills. There is only so much time, so make sure it is something you want to learn.
    • Helping Turtle: This pillar encourages goals to help others.
    • Working Beaver: This pillar encourages me to improve my job. It could be a metric to meet or specific tasks that improve my job performance.
  2. All goals must have an end goal.
    In other words, what am I trying to accomplish with this goal?

  3. I must calculate a Want-Can-Will score for every goal.
    I got this idea from the following blog post:
    To calculate this, I rate 1-10 for each of the following:

    • How much do I want to do this?
    • How practical is it that I can do it?
    • How likely is it that I will do it if I use beeminder?

    Add up all the numbers, and you get your Want-Can-Will score. The higher it is, the easier and more likely I will complete it. If a score is below 15, I need to re-evaluate the goal and either change it or scrape it.

The above is a lot to keep track of. However, I recently started using Notion, which has made it a breeze. I have attached some images of the table I created with my current goals that I will keep. This was one of the good things that came out of my tonsillectomy. As honestly I took a lot of thinking before I came up with this system.

What are your thoughts on this system? Any changes that I should make?


  1. I used Grammarly for spelling and grammar checking.
  2. I used Notion AI to help come up with 4 of the six pillars. I told Notion AI the things I cared about the most and told it to make pillars with unique names.
  3. I used ChatGPT 4 to format the post into Markdown. I did not use it to create any content.

Basically I think that small “project-like” goals that can be finished are much better than long running “get good” goals. So yeah.

For long running goals without a clear idea how to fix them – I keep track of whether there’s been any progress (in Notion / WOC / BF threads), but I don’t try to force anything. I’m happy with this system.

Assigning goals to larger goals (pillars) is good although not 100% required. Sometimes unexpected things come out of random achievements.

Want-Can-Will score seems a bit suspicious because it would incentivise me to lie to myself if I really want to do something… but maybe I’m wrong.

If I had to give one suggestion, I’d say “don’t try to have one system for literally everything”. You can have several competing systems. In my experience this has been a good approach.


The main purpose is for me to think my goals through fully. As a lot of my issue is I tend to be impulsive and create a goal spur of the moment. All the steps above helps me weed out goals that seemed good but were actually bad.

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