New Month's Resolutions

January/February transition report

Here’s a link back to my index post: New Month's Resolutions - #13 by clivemeister

January checkmate

January’s goal was a definite success! I was focusing on improving my chess, and am very pleased to see I went up over 120 ELO points through the month. This was a combination of working on my openings, together with lots of tactical practice, and a good number of games. Several days I wouldn’t have done the work unless Beeminder had been holding me to account, so this is a big improvement over where I would have been otherwise.

I plan to continue this goal at a lower rate through February, and hope to see further progress!

Metaminding February

This coming month I’ll be following through on another one of my goals for 2024, which is to start taking my art more seriously. I’ve several different avenues here, so I’ve set up a top-level metaminding goal for “art”, and several sub-goals (drawing, painting, calligraphy) are feeding into that. (I was delighted to find that this many-to-one metaminding goal was super-simple to set up! Kudos to the devs for building a great general-purpose tool in there!)


January Goal: practice the piano more often


This was a piano practice goal, which got +1 for any practice session >15 minutes, although many sessions were longer. It’s a bit like going to the gym where the hard part is getting started. I’ve been taking lessons again for a few months now, but the fall was a chaotic time and I had to take a few weeks off. I wanted to re-focus, now that life is a bit more normal, and this goal accomplished that. I practiced 16/31 days in January, which is a great improvement – especially if you consider the slump I had in the fall. I’m going to keep this going as long as I’m taking lessons. This rate seems to be forgiving of the days when I don’t have the time or the right mindset to get a good practice session in, but keeps me practicing frequently enough to feel prepared for my lessons.

February Goal: eat pastries less often


I love croissants. I have since I was a kid. And now I live in England, where some hypothesized that we have neared a coffee shop saturation point (Is the UK reaching coffee shop saturation point? - 2017) because it’s so easy to stumble across one. And nearly every one has a delicious, flaky pastry selection. You can even get your meal deal with a pastry! I rue the day I made that discovery. I need to impose an external limit on my pastry consumption, becuase it’s reasonable to have them as a treat once or twice a week, but I’m trying to improve my body composition, and with that in mind I should be focusing on savoring my coffee instead of buttery treats.

I’m trying a do-less goal with a limit of a pastry every 5 days, which seems reasonable. This will let me enjoy the pastry guilt-free on the days I’m allowed, and limit myself when it’s over-indulgent. We’ll see how it goes!


How about now? I just went through and clicked “make wiki” on all of them, which sounds like it might do the trick?


I’ve got an edit link now (and on other people’s as well as my own). Thanks!


ah, yes, now i have the wiki edit badge without ever having had to edit an actual beeminder wiki post :D *villainous laugh while stroking pitch black cat*

january resolution thoughts

fregstreme worked very well (only one derailment, i think), and i’ll keep it through february as well! the trouble of doubly adding the data (to this one and my new years resolution /fregs goal) hasn’t been as annoying as i’d feared. i have just upped /fregs from 1 to 2 per day; /fregstreme will stay at 3—i think chances are good that i’ll change /fregs to the current /fregstreme rate in march, but that’s a decision for in a few weeks …

february resolution

keeping the name scheme of my /whoatidyflat goal going, i’ve created whoatidyroom—my room is a big big mess and in desperate need of a once-over-cleaning-spree, which i hope i’ll be able to consistently provide this month, bit by bit, at least 15 minutes a day … fingers crossed! (it’s set to 0 days at auto-ratchet, so i can never really accumulate buffer … unless i derail, but then it’s only 2 days …)


I’m a bit late to the party due to a Beeminder break, but I’d like to join! :slight_smile:

So here goes my index post:

  1. n/a
  2. less-stuff
  3. drawing
  4. [TBD]
  5. [TBD]
  6. [TBD]
  7. [TBD]
  8. [TBD]
  9. [TBD]
  10. [TBD]
  11. [TBD]
  12. [TBD]

(I’ll also do the intro of the february goal here.)

February - less-stuff

There are a bunch of stuff in my wardrobe and storage that I don’t think I’ll ever (re)use. I’d like to choose one and place it in <a box that I know> to make sure they eventually go out the door.


January Conclusion

goal info

I’m loving this! I needed a push to get started with the project but it’s doing my mental health good to think through situations from my past rather than just have them pop up occasionally, feel traumatic and get dismissed again (these are more in the vein of “dumb things I have said” rather than actual trauma btw).
And it’s a good thing to fiddle around with on my phone that fills odd moments and then gives me stuff to think about while I’m doing boring things.

It was a rather unformed idea for a project but having written down a number of things now I have more idea about what the point of it is and am definitely carrying on with it. I’m already finding the journal interesting to peruse and am looking at entries now and thinking “I’d forgotten about that” when I literally wrote a page about it within the last month, so I like the idea of how this’ll feel in 25 years.

So apart from having put a short break in the goal so that it can have seven days buffer and reduce my urgency load I’m carrying straight on with it. I’ve kept it at the same rate for now as well but may change that.

The iOS shortcut I made to automate it didn’t work very well, it doesn’t seem to like accessing the DayOne entry count when the phone is locked, and sometimes it decides to count all entries in all my journals rather than just the one I asked for. But manual updating isn’t very onerous as the number of entries in the journal is clearly displayed in DayOne.


January Conclusion

The waterpik goal is working exactly as expected—because of the goal, I’m using the thing. I think the habit is not yet so ingrained that I wouldn’t risk losing it if I archived the goal, so I’ll keep the goal. Yeah, flossing goals aren’t so exciting, so I don’t have much to share with you all. :stuck_out_tongue:


I think I’m going to try out another evening habit goal, evening_routine. The idea here is pretty simple—I’m extremely slow in the morning, and I want to try (1) putting out clothes and (2) grinding my coffee / prepping the espresso machine the night before, when they will take roughly 1/10 the time they take my pre-coffee brain.


February’s goal is going so well I’ve decided to extend it and create an extra, complementary, one.

The eveningtidyup goal is enticing me do things through the day so that I don’t have a big pile of stuff to do in the evening. And since I’m leaving myself comments on what I’ve done each time I can see how often certain jobs get done so I can predict when they’ll need doing again. But it’s basically a goal that’s concentrated on keeping the kitchen clean.

So now I’ve got bathroomclean too with the same parameters but less focus on the evening. The idea being to keep doing cleaning jobs in the bathroom so it never gets into a filthy state, and counter to the idea that once I start I have to do everything that can possibly be done in there in order that it stays clean for the longest time (which is wishful thinking anyway).


Thanks for enabling the wiki feature. I have updated my index post and it made me happy.

I have decided to archive my goal from January because I feel like it doesn’t provide me any more insights and I am annoyed by it.

I’ve already derailed once on my freggies goal because eating freggies isn’t hard. Having freggies to eat is hard. I am currently not at home, otherwise, I would attempt some kind of goal stacking with /freggies-buy and /freggies-pack and that would probably work. Instead, I will just rely on nice people getting apples and bananas for me and hope that’s enough to not derail again till I am back at home.

Lastly, I had this insight that I am suffering from a kind of 2nd order akrasia that follows this pattern:

  1. Beeminder works and makes us do things.
  2. If we have hard goals, Beeminder makes us do hard things.
  3. Therefore, we better don’t create hard goals, because then we have to do hard things.

Obviously, the only way to solve this is a goal /hard which forces us to create a hard goal (and stick with it) once per month. Maybe that will be my New Month’s resolution for March (you know, instead of just directly creating the hard goal :D). Another problem is that /hard is itself a hard goal…


I :heart: this, very much!

It’s been previously observed many times that it’s much easier to create hard goals if you give yourself a long period of slack at the start, with zero or close to zero rate. I call this “akrasia akido” - using the whole akrasia thing in against itself, with “I hereby commit to do this difficult thing, but I’ll put it off for a while!”. Beeminder will look after things from that point on, and in due course your slope on the hard thing will ramp up, and then you’re on the hook for /hard!


I have tried this before, but usually ended up noticing the goal creeping up on me and then deleting it. Well, the fact that I was able to delete it means that the initial slack was too short. I will try this with two or three weeks of initial buffer some time.

Regarding /freggies, I declare this my most annoying goal ever. I have archived it effective tomorrow. The fact that I wasn’t at home for the full month of February hasn’t helped, but additionally, I found it super annoying to track the individual portions. The cognitive overload of remembering when I had freggies and how much was too much to handle. I could easily make this work via /freggies-chop which would be a binary goal that makes me chop freggies in the morning and bring them with me in a container. Once the freggies are available and easy to consume, I would never forget or avoid eating them.

My friend is doing his bi-yearly fasting course in March which means water and tea only for one week. Since caffeine isn’t allowed either, my resolution for March will be zero caffeine aka /caffeine-less. That’s gonna be a hard one, and I will probably cope by eating gross amounts of sugar and consuming disgusting stuff in form of videos and social media. Hopefully, my other goals will protect me.

Edit: Something that I realize over and over again when reflecting on clean eating is what a gigantic BS statement it is that more money doesn’t increase happiness beyond a certain threshold. If my yearly income was (say) $300k and I could afford a chef that comes and prepares a healthy menu every day, I would be significantly happier for at least three reasons:

  1. No cognitive overload caused by thinking about what to eat.
  2. No sugar lows because of binge eating unhealthy snacks (because they would prepare healthy snacks for me).
  3. So much saved timed preparing food, getting groceries, cleaning the kitchen.

I wonder what the yearly cost for getting a chef in the US would be. I guess it would be sufficient if they made food like twice a week and then I would just have to warm it up.

I read this book about Technical Leadership recently, and it talked about how married men are often “more successful” professionally than single men because they effectively use their wives to outsource their household chores. That makes sense to me under this lense. (The book is from the 80s, so I would hope nowadays the same holds true for married people versus single people, in general.)


March Goal


A selection of thoughts that have crossed my mind recently…

  • I’m wasting time here but that’s ok I will get to the work later on.
  • Why do I spend afternoons staring at my screen thinking I ought to work?
  • I find it easy to get stuff done in the morning when I have other commitments in the afternoon.
  • I don’t have enough time in the ‘after work’ hours to do all the things I want.
  • I have no problem stealing leisure hours for work but feel guilty stealing back the work hours.
  • I often keep going until I’ve finished something but then next time I start work I can’t remember what comes next. I might be better stopping in the middle of something instead.

The idea took hold that maybe I should experiment with shorter working hours and see if I could maintain productivity by being more productive in those hours rather than wasting them. So “done by two” is a goal to stop doing company work by 2pm.

I was experimenting with this last week before starting up a goal and it seemed a reasonably good idea. So I set the goal up today to run through the five weeks until the end of March. I was tempted to add some small print to allow myself a bit more freedom but decided to keep it as a dead simple “no work after 2pm” for a few weeks and see how difficult it was. I set it up to require 5.5 days/week, and with two days of buffer which gives me a bit of leeway without creating loopholes from the start.

Hilariously right after setting up the goal I went and fixed a bug I was sent at 1433. It took me seven minutes to locate and fix it but I had no way of knowing that when I picked it up. That’s definitely a failure and I’m going to keep track of them to see perhaps what the small print should be in future.

February recap

I introduced the goal here.

My life is 27 objects less cluttered, but I didn’t notice anything change in my house :grimacing: I mostly got rid of “hidden” stuff, books, old clothing etc.

I did place 2 things on sale and they’re both being picked up soon, hopefully.

I did not derail.

I anticipate this will become more difficult. I’m keeping the goal and the rate the same, end date extended to April 1st.

March goal

I already planned in hobbies-drawing for March.

I’d like to be a better student of Draw a Box. One of their rules is the 50% rule. It’s core: “50% study, 50% drawing for the sake of it.”

I’m far from this. So far, my tracked data says 95% study, 5% drawing. I’ve tracked this in two goals:

  • hobbies-draw-a-box, $5 commitment to 4 pomodoros/week for following the course (start: Feb 3rd)
  • hobbies-drawing, $5 commitment to 4 pomodoros/week (start: Feb 25th)

The latter is the March goal for this thread :slight_smile:

These commitments are too ambitious. It doubles my weekly time commitment and I already know March will be busy. So I’m setting both goals to 3 pomodoros/week now.


January /plank goal update:

Yep, still rolling with this goal! I felt like I wasn’t making a lot of progress with a vague plan, though, so I’ve started doing this beginner plan for a five-minute plank. It ramps up pretty fast, but I’m doing a hands-and-toes plank for 1 minute 30 seconds at the moment, so… I guess I’m doing okay. I’ll keep this goal rolling at least until I manage my five-minute plank, though in the long run I probably want to settle down to “doing a couple of 2-minute planks five days a week”, rather than the dramatic five-minute plank.

February /morningpages goal update:

I’m still going with this! I changed how it was set up by scaling it: I had it set to 3/day, three pages a day, but it’s easier to check in with it if it’s just +1, and that also lets me easily set it so that I can gain some safety buffer over time and take the occasional day off. I’ll be continuing with it for at least a while.

Usually, “morning pages” is a concept for creative folks, writers mostly, but I don’t really have that intent so it feels like I’m doing it wrong, kinda? I just end up rambling about whatever’s on my mind – thoughts about yesterday, thoughts about my plans for the day, journaling type stuff usually. That said, I have done some small pieces of writing, and I’ve done a lot of valuable thinking-through my assignments for my MSc and stuff like blog posts for work, so… I can’t say it hasn’t been creative for me!

It’s also a nice morning routine type thing. Now instead of getting up and getting straight on the PC to work, I’m doing my morning pages, then that quite naturally leads into brushing my teeth, taking my inhaler, weighing in, getting dressed, etc. So that’s a healthy thing.

It does make me think a little about my night-time routine as well. Often I write a to-do list for the next day, to get everything I’m planning out of my head and set down, so I can let go of it. Buuut then I start doing it while I wait for Lisa to be ready for bed. Maybe my April goal will be figuring out something I can grow an evening routine around – probably turning off my PC and reading before bed, even if it’s just five pages.

March /readscience goal:

Back at the start of the academic year, I intended to beemind reading more scientific papers as I went along with my courses. Since it’s an MSc, we’re supposed to be pretty aware of the wider context, even though it’s a taught MSc, so they’re looking for evidence of wide reading. I’ve been doing plenty of that for my assignments, albeit sometimes (whisper it) I mostly read the abstract and then ctrl-F for the bit I want.

So! This goal is for reading scientific papers that are interesting and new to me, not just the abstracts, and ensuring I understand what I read. I’ve set the rate to 2/week: ideally it’d be 3/week, given that I do three courses, but I don’t think that’s realistic with my current workload, and two is better than none.

The topics don’t have to be directly related to my course work, but they should involve bacterial infections, the impact of nutrition on the immune response, or endoparasites. It’s fine to be hyperspecific within those fields, e.g. something specifically on toxoplasmosis or tuberculosis or Chlamydia psittaci (did you know that people doing mouth-to-beak resuscitation on birds is a known source of chlamydial pneumonia in humans?) or whatever – it doesn’t need to be broad. I have access to many of the best scientific journals through my university, so it’s fine to go spelunking through Nature, and equally fine to just pick a species, add the term “pathogenesis” or “transmission” or “diagnosis”, search, and read the most interesting paper that pops up. For now, let’s say it’s fine if both papers in a week are about the same topic.

Let’s see how we go!


february goal thoughts

whotidyroom worked … solid-ish-ly? it’s still going, and it will keep going, definitely need more time until my room looks presentable :grimacing: putting almost all my goals on 7 days post-derail respite and 7 days autoratchet recently, definitely helped with the feeling of overwhelm i had, but also didn’t really help me stay consistent about pushing me to do things every single day …

earlier goal thoughts

fregstreme (my january goal) is also still ongoing. not sure yet if i’ll archive it, if i’ll change the rate of my fregs goal, whatever. finetuning these is not really a priority right now.

march goal

nope! (index post updated accordingly.) i have many many things on my plate these days/weeks, and i don’t want to overwhelm myself (again) with more stuff. whoatidyroom is time-consuming enough and pushing me enough to do a thing i otherwise wouldn’t and it’s useful enough, so i’ll just keep that one throughout march (and might have to keep it beyond that?), so no new monthly goal for me this time around. :)

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February review

The goal was doing more art, and it didn’t go well. I mean, it went ok on a number of days, but I derailed twice, and nearly derailed on several other days.

What did I learn: I guess that this wasn’t a goal that I could just pick up any time and do for a few minutes. It required some reasonable period of uninterrupted time, plus some amount of “oh I’m in the mood for this now”. And I just repeatedly bounced off one or the other of those barriers.

My time feels like it is just not my own, to an extent that would seem ridiculous from the outside, as in theory I have very few hard external obligations. It’s vividly clear that this is an inside problem not an outside problem. My brain just won’t let me off the hamster wheel for long enough to engage with a project like this. So maybe that’s what this year is about? Finding a way through this?

March goal

I’m going to run two goals in March, I think.

  • One will be to write down thoughts about the problems I had in February, and to work towards some possible solutions - let’s make it more specific, and say “three (more more) thoughts”.
  • The other is to do some sun salutations each day, as my back is bad at the moment, and sun salutations are a great compound move that works through most of the kinks. Again, to be specific, at least three sun salutations - since the style I prefer involves stepping back with one leg each time, that’ll be three pairs.

January Goal: practice the piano more often


I’ve mostly been able to keep up on this, besides a trip for which I forgot to calendial… then the 7 days of buffer let me slack way more than I’d like! Or just the right amount, who knows – it was an emotional, hectic week.

February Goal: eat pastries less often


This has been very helpful in resetting my pastry habits. I’m still getting to enjoy them on occassion, but I find myself choosing to save up buffer more often in situations when I previously would have gotten a pastry “just because.” I’m savoring my pastry-less coffee drinks and appreciating them more. I’m going to keep this up, and I think the rate is about right.

March Goal: meal prep more!


Doing more home cooking and meal prep would be very good for my health and for my budget. I had a bit of a think about how to structure this goal, including reading this very helpful thread! (How to cook more?)

I don’t think I want to do a “meal prep for the whole week on Sunday” with a weekly goal, but I want to encourage planning ahead. I will still make a plan for the week ahead on Sunday, but I don’t want to attach my success too closely to a single day, where if I derail it feels like the whole week is ruined. I’m thinking about setting it up so that I get a +1 for each day I eat 2+ out of 3 planned, home-prepared meals, with a rate of 5/7 days to start.

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February Conclusion

goal info

This has been through all the stages of Beeminder. Something like…

  • I hate it
  • It’s making me do stuff!
  • It’s magic, I’m a superhero and can do all the things!
  • Quick make more goals so I can be the superhero of everything.
  • Aargh, I still have to do things, I hate it.
  • Oh, things are done and it’s not so bad really.
  • Best keep going.

I’m miles ahead of the line and it’s still working. It’s basically a “do the washing up before going to bed” goal but that’s fine and ending the evening with your hands in a bowl of warm water is strangely relaxing. I left it last night by mistake and washing up this morning reinforced to me that all time is not created equal. In the evening I would have taken five more minutes to sweep the floor or clean off the hob, in the morning there’s no chance of me doing extra stuff.

So I’m definitely keeping the goal for a while yet.

The extra goal I created mid-month when I was in “superhero of everything” mode is very much a love/hate thing. I love having a clean bathroom, I hate making myself clean it. I think it’s gradually getting a bit less arduous and it’s already saved me a major panic when someone was coming to the house so that’s a good thing. I’m sticking with this extra goal too; I badly want to throw the goal out but it definitely works.

January Followup

goal conclusion

I’ve turned the rate down on my journalling goal as I was starting to turn in some garbage entries but overall I still think this is a useful goal and I’m starting to find my own momentum with journalling.


Hi all, joining in for a March goal.

March Goal: at the office at 9am
I have a flexible schedule, but I enjoy the productivity of beginning work at 9am. Unfortunately, I also have a habit of going to bed quite late… For March, I will be in the office at 9am every work day. The goal is focuseddays. (I am re-framing a previous goal to get the extra sting of having a $10 penalty.)