progressive goals

hi all,

has anyone implemented a goal that starts at an easy rate and automatically progresses to a higher target rate?

for instance, let’s say i’d like to work my way up to flossing once a day, but right now i’d be happy with once a week. i’m pretty sure i’ll fail if i shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that i can slowly build up to it.

currently i do this type of thing manually, by starting with a small-sloping road and gradually increasing it as time goes on, but i’d like to be able to set this up when i create the goal by just specifying “start at rate r_1 and get to rate r_2 by week T”

a constant rate of increase on the weekly rate would correspond to a parabolic road, but that seems wrong in the sense that it doesn’t have the right long term behavior, as it just keeps increasing. maybe something more like a negative exponential build up to the final target?

r(t) = (r_2 - r_1) * (1 - e^(-t/T)) + r_1

curious about any thoughts people might have on on this and whether others would be interested in such a feature.

best,
jake


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Thanks for proposing this, Jake! This could be pretty cool as long as
it’s relegated to Terrifyingly Advanced settings. It happens somewhat
often that someone will assume that that’s what “rate” in the road
dial currently refers to, which leads to all manner of confusion. So
we’d want to make sure the existence of this feature didn’t add to
that confusion.

Let me also try to talk you out of this. Is it really so onerous to
adjust your road steepness weekly? I know it’s super elegant to have
it be continuous [1] but there’s no actual value in sub-week
granularity and it makes sense to reassess the steepness of your road
weekly anyway.

Finally, your formula doesn’t seem to reach r_2 by time T. I guess I
don’t see the problem with a parabolic road, where the steepness just
increases linearly, and then abruptly stops increasing when it reaches
the target rate, r_2:

r(t) = (r_2-r_1)/T * t + r1

(Not that I’m agreeing that this feature is worth adding! Actually, if
you think it is it would be great to add it to uservoice.beeminder.com
and see if it gets upvotes. I’m delighted that you brought it up here
regardless though!)

[1] Did you know that we do have exponential roads already for things
like weight loss where the slope is a function of the current y-value,
like if you want to lose 1% of your body weight per week. You need a
custom goal for that though, which is a premium feature:
beeminder.com/premium (Let me emphasize that most people don’t need
that and it does not let you do what Jake is proposing.)

Btw, don’t actually try to lose 1% of your body weight per week unless
you want to be crazy hardcore about it and probably be hungry all the
time. 1% is what we consider the maximum healthy weight loss rate.
More like 0.3% per week is what we recommend, which should require
very minimal pain and suffering.

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 4:30 PM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

hi all,

has anyone implemented a goal that starts at an easy rate and automatically progresses to a higher target rate?

for instance, let’s say i’d like to work my way up to flossing once a day, but right now i’d be happy with once a week. i’m pretty sure i’ll fail if i shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that i can slowly build up to it.

currently i do this type of thing manually, by starting with a small-sloping road and gradually increasing it as time goes on, but i’d like to be able to set this up when i create the goal by just specifying “start at rate r_1 and get to rate r_2 by week T”

a constant rate of increase on the weekly rate would correspond to a parabolic road, but that seems wrong in the sense that it doesn’t have the right long term behavior, as it just keeps increasing. maybe something more like a negative exponential build up to the final target?

    r(t) = (r_2 - r_1) * (1 - e^(-t/T)) + r_1

curious about any thoughts people might have on on this and whether others would be interested in such a feature.

best,
jake


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http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com

I had thought about this several times as well. Ramping up to a specific
rate would be smoother, while currently you have a full week going at the
current rate without accurate feedback unless the scale/units you’re using
can be easily manipulated mentally. And then everything changes suddenly.
Of course, one shouldn’t change the rate too drastically anyway, but it
would be nice to have beeminder account for this in cases where it might be
inevitable. I definitely wouldn’t say there wouldn’t be any value in a
smoothly changing road rather than sharp inflection points.

On Monday, March 31, 2014 3:36:29 AM UTC+1, Daniel Reeves wrote:

Thanks for proposing this, Jake! This could be pretty cool as long as
it’s relegated to Terrifyingly Advanced settings. It happens somewhat
often that someone will assume that that’s what “rate” in the road
dial currently refers to, which leads to all manner of confusion. So
we’d want to make sure the existence of this feature didn’t add to
that confusion.

Let me also try to talk you out of this. Is it really so onerous to
adjust your road steepness weekly? I know it’s super elegant to have
it be continuous [1] but there’s no actual value in sub-week
granularity and it makes sense to reassess the steepness of your road
weekly anyway.

Finally, your formula doesn’t seem to reach r_2 by time T. I guess I
don’t see the problem with a parabolic road, where the steepness just
increases linearly, and then abruptly stops increasing when it reaches
the target rate, r_2:

r(t) = (r_2-r_1)/T * t + r1

(Not that I’m agreeing that this feature is worth adding! Actually, if
you think it is it would be great to add it to uservoice.beeminder.com
and see if it gets upvotes. I’m delighted that you brought it up here
regardless though!)

[1] Did you know that we do have exponential roads already for things
like weight loss where the slope is a function of the current y-value,
like if you want to lose 1% of your body weight per week. You need a
custom goal for that though, which is a premium feature:
beeminder.com/premium (Let me emphasize that most people don’t need
that and it does not let you do what Jake is proposing.)

Btw, don’t actually try to lose 1% of your body weight per week unless
you want to be crazy hardcore about it and probably be hungry all the
time. 1% is what we consider the maximum healthy weight loss rate.
More like 0.3% per week is what we recommend, which should require
very minimal pain and suffering.

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 4:30 PM, Jake Hofman <jho...@gmail.com<javascript:>>
wrote:

hi all,

has anyone implemented a goal that starts at an easy rate and
automatically progresses to a higher target rate?

for instance, let’s say i’d like to work my way up to flossing once a
day, but right now i’d be happy with once a week. i’m pretty sure i’ll fail
if i shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that i
can slowly build up to it.

currently i do this type of thing manually, by starting with a
small-sloping road and gradually increasing it as time goes on, but i’d
like to be able to set this up when i create the goal by just specifying
"start at rate r_1 and get to rate r_2 by week T"

a constant rate of increase on the weekly rate would correspond to a
parabolic road, but that seems wrong in the sense that it doesn’t have the
right long term behavior, as it just keeps increasing. maybe something more
like a negative exponential build up to the final target?

    r(t) = (r_2 - r_1) * (1 - e^(-t/T)) + r_1 

curious about any thoughts people might have on on this and whether
others would be interested in such a feature.

best,
jake


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http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


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On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 5:36 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.comwrote:

Let me also try to talk you out of this. Is it really so onerous to
adjust your road steepness weekly? I know it’s super elegant to have
it be continuous [1] but there’s no actual value in sub-week
granularity and it makes sense to reassess the steepness of your road
weekly anyway.

The obvious use case for this would be if you’re akratic about increasing
the rate. You may find that you keep procrastinating on increasing the
rate thinking you want to be “really sure” that you can handle the higher
rate (I definitely do this), but if you could set an automatic rate
increase so that afterwards the default is for the rate to increase without
you doing anything, you would do that.


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thanks all for the replies.

dan, i agree that it’s not all that much work to do this manually. that said, i still think it may be a worthwhile feature in the sense that i’d probably stick to a slowly increasing road without even realizing that i’m doing so, and in doing so get more out of my beeminding.

and waldir, i’d of course be fine with a version that’s a weekly piecewise linear approximation to some non-linear road.

as for the question of the shape of the road itself, the exponential won’t reach it, of course—i just used the engineer’s hack of getting (1-1/e) there, but that could be adjusted, of course (t -> 2t or 3t). i thought the exponential might match my anecdotal evidence that it’s easy to make big initial gains, after which progress levels off. (e.g., i see a big boost in strength after a week or two of weight training, but then things slow down.)

it could also be fun if there’s sort of a natural rate for getting to goals, as you point out for weight loss. this way a user could just come along and say “i’d like to weigh 180 pounds, eventually”, and you could suggest a never-expiring goal that will put them on track for that target with an appropriate time scale. (manual adjustments could happen after that for more advanced users, of course.)

that said, you may be right that a parabolic shape is fine. or maybe the best shape varies by the type of goal.

-j

On Mar 31, 2014, at 8:45 AM, Adam Mesha araizen@gmail.com wrote:

On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 5:36 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Let me also try to talk you out of this. Is it really so onerous to
adjust your road steepness weekly? I know it’s super elegant to have
it be continuous [1] but there’s no actual value in sub-week
granularity and it makes sense to reassess the steepness of your road
weekly anyway.

The obvious use case for this would be if you’re akratic about increasing the rate. You may find that you keep procrastinating on increasing the rate thinking you want to be “really sure” that you can handle the higher rate (I definitely do this), but if you could set an automatic rate increase so that afterwards the default is for the rate to increase without you doing anything, you would do that.


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I’m not a very mathy person myself, but it seems to me that the exponential
would be the ideal function to model such a curve, since its very
definition is continuous growth. There has to be a way to obtain the
exponential function that matches (is tangent to) the current line slope at
the moment we change the rate (t=0) and whose slope is the intended new one
at t=7 (using days as units of time here). I can intuitively see how it
should be achievable by sliding and stretching the graph of the exponential
function, but I have no idea how to obtain the parameters to tweak the
exponential formula to do that mathematically.

This also reminds me of the acko.net article “To Infinity… And Beyond!http://acko.net/blog/to-infinity-and-beyond/”;
in the section “A Tug of War Between the Gods” there’s a slideshow, which,
starting on slide 45, describes how joining line segments with plain
circular arcs creates join points that aren’t as smooth as they may seem.
Of course, the jerking effect is almost certainly imperceptible in the
context of beeminder, so the smoothing procedure suggested there would be
overkill, but it’s still a fairly interesting read, check it out if you
haven’t before!

On Monday, March 31, 2014 3:55:49 PM UTC+1, Jake Hofman wrote:

thanks all for the replies.

dan, i agree that it’s not all that much work to do this manually. that
said, i still think it may be a worthwhile feature in the sense that i’d
probably stick to a slowly increasing road without even realizing that i’m
doing so, and in doing so get more out of my beeminding.

and waldir, i’d of course be fine with a version that’s a weekly piecewise
linear approximation to some non-linear road.

as for the question of the shape of the road itself, the exponential won’t
reach it, of course—i just used the engineer’s hack of getting (1-1/e)
there, but that could be adjusted, of course (t -> 2t or 3t). i thought the
exponential might match my anecdotal evidence that it’s easy to make big
initial gains, after which progress levels off. (e.g., i see a big boost in
strength after a week or two of weight training, but then things slow
down.)

it could also be fun if there’s sort of a natural rate for getting to
goals, as you point out for weight loss. this way a user could just come
along and say “i’d like to weigh 180 pounds, eventually”, and you could
suggest a never-expiring goal that will put them on track for that target
with an appropriate time scale. (manual adjustments could happen after that
for more advanced users, of course.)

that said, you may be right that a parabolic shape is fine. or maybe the
best shape varies by the type of goal.

-j

On Mar 31, 2014, at 8:45 AM, Adam Mesha <ara...@gmail.com <javascript:>>
wrote:

On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 5:36 AM, Daniel Reeves <dre...@beeminder.com<javascript:>>
wrote:

Let me also try to talk you out of this. Is it really so onerous to
adjust your road steepness weekly? I know it’s super elegant to have
it be continuous [1] but there’s no actual value in sub-week
granularity and it makes sense to reassess the steepness of your road
weekly anyway.

The obvious use case for this would be if you’re akratic about
increasing the rate. You may find that you keep procrastinating on
increasing the rate thinking you want to be “really sure” that you can
handle the higher rate (I definitely do this), but if you could set an
automatic rate increase so that afterwards the default is for the rate to
increase without you doing anything, you would do that.


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btw, i’ve added the feature to uservoice here. please upvote if you’re interested. -j

http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/5713728-add-an-automatically-progressing-goal-feature

Add an “automatically progressing goal” feature

This feature would allow a user to create a goal that automatically and gradually increases from a lower initial rate to a higher target rate. Inputs would be the initial rate, the final rate, and a time scale. The result would be a non-linear road that hits the target rate at the specified time. Preferably the schedule for increase (e.g., constant, decreasing, increasing, etc.) would be set automagically.

For instance, let’s say I’d like to work my way up to flossing once a day, but right now I’d be happy with once a week. I’m pretty sure I’ll fail if I shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that I can slowly build up to it.

While you can do this manually, of course, this feature might help if you’re akratic about maintaining your goals. I’d probably stick to a slowly increasing goal without even realizing that I’m improving.


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I’m sure that Essy has implemented something like this for her own
purposes.

iirc, her code sets the slope to the current actual average rate achieved.
This has the effect of gradually ratcheting the road to match what you’re
able to achieve, and to continue pushing the envelope every time you build
up some safety buffer.

Philip

On 1 April 2014 20:42, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

btw, i’ve added the feature to uservoice here. please upvote if you’re
interested. -j

http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/5713728-add-an-automatically-progressing-goal-feature

Add an “automatically progressing goal” feature

This feature would allow a user to create a goal that automatically and
gradually increases from a lower initial rate to a higher target rate.
Inputs would be the initial rate, the final rate, and a time scale. The
result would be a non-linear road that hits the target rate at the
specified time. Preferably the schedule for increase (e.g., constant,
decreasing, increasing, etc.) would be set automagically.

For instance, let’s say I’d like to work my way up to flossing once a day,
but right now I’d be happy with once a week. I’m pretty sure I’ll fail if I
shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that I can
slowly build up to it.

While you can do this manually, of course, this feature might help if
you’re akratic about maintaining your goals. I’d probably stick to a slowly
increasing goal without even realizing that I’m improving.


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"Akratics Anonymous" group.
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email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.


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Wow, that sounds great. Essy, can you share?

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM, Philip Hellyer philip@hellyer.net wrote:

I’m sure that Essy has implemented something like this for her own
purposes.

iirc, her code sets the slope to the current actual average rate achieved.
This has the effect of gradually ratcheting the road to match what you’re
able to achieve, and to continue pushing the envelope every time you build
up some safety buffer.

Philip

On 1 April 2014 20:42, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

btw, i’ve added the feature to uservoice here. please upvote if you’re
interested. -j

http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/5713728-add-an-automatically-progressing-goal-feature

Add an “automatically progressing goal” feature

This feature would allow a user to create a goal that automatically and
gradually increases from a lower initial rate to a higher target rate.
Inputs would be the initial rate, the final rate, and a time scale. The
result would be a non-linear road that hits the target rate at the
specified time. Preferably the schedule for increase (e.g., constant,
decreasing, increasing, etc.) would be set automagically.

For instance, let’s say I’d like to work my way up to flossing once a
day, but right now I’d be happy with once a week. I’m pretty sure I’ll fail
if I shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that I
can slowly build up to it.

While you can do this manually, of course, this feature might help if
you’re akratic about maintaining your goals. I’d probably stick to a slowly
increasing goal without even realizing that I’m improving.


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"Akratics Anonymous" group.
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that does sound great—curious to learn more about it. -j

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM, Katherine Baxter
baxter.katherine@gmail.com wrote:

Wow, that sounds great. Essy, can you share?

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM, Philip Hellyer philip@hellyer.net wrote:

I’m sure that Essy has implemented something like this for her own
purposes.

iirc, her code sets the slope to the current actual average rate achieved.
This has the effect of gradually ratcheting the road to match what you’re
able to achieve, and to continue pushing the envelope every time you build
up some safety buffer.

Philip

On 1 April 2014 20:42, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

btw, i’ve added the feature to uservoice here. please upvote if you’re
interested. -j

http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/5713728-add-an-automatically-progressing-goal-feature

Add an “automatically progressing goal” feature

This feature would allow a user to create a goal that automatically and
gradually increases from a lower initial rate to a higher target rate.
Inputs would be the initial rate, the final rate, and a time scale. The
result would be a non-linear road that hits the target rate at the specified
time. Preferably the schedule for increase (e.g., constant, decreasing,
increasing, etc.) would be set automagically.

For instance, let’s say I’d like to work my way up to flossing once a
day, but right now I’d be happy with once a week. I’m pretty sure I’ll fail
if I shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that I can
slowly build up to it.

While you can do this manually, of course, this feature might help if
you’re akratic about maintaining your goals. I’d probably stick to a slowly
increasing goal without even realizing that I’m improving.


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"Akratics Anonymous" group.
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Hi Akratics,

I’ve been thinking about something along these lines myself, albeit less
sophisticated. Let me share my current ideas in case it is of any help, and
I’m sure you all may have great suggestions.

My long-term goal is to get back into a habit of an hour of meditation,
twice a day. For the past the few months it’s been inconsistent, just about
never more than one hour, once per week. When I first learned about
Beeminder – not more than a month or two ago – meditation was the first
thing I knew I wanted to personally use it for, b/c in my experience, when
I’m good on this, everything else follows. Lack of ‘presence’ feels like a
sort of gateway akrasia, if you will :slight_smile:

So I’ve had a Beemind “total hours sitting”. That’s sort of working. I set
it for 1 hour per week, and for the most part that’s pretty much what I’ve
been doing: one long session, spaced a week apart.

But I’d rather be more frequent & consistent, even if it’s a much smaller
magnitude.

So now I’m thinking of another way to attack this:

Again, the end goal is twice daily hour-long sessions.
Day 1 will be 1 minute of meditation. Easy.
Day 2 should be 2 minutes. Day 3? 3 minutes. And then continue to add
another minute each day. (Not yet sure how to cross the chasm from once to
twice daily…)

So I suppose this goal is “Grow Daily Meditation Practice”. I hope to input
a 1 each day. And if I need to check what amount I’m up to, the cumulative
Y-axis will track “Minutes of Daily Practice”. Effectively, this just
Beeminding the derivative of total minutes sat, such that this Beemind
follows a constant rate and yet my “true goal” if you will, is
auto-increasing.

Is that clear?

Could this same approach apply to your flossing goal, Jake? Perhaps you
could Do-Less-beemind the number of days in between flossing sessions.
Haven’t fully thought this out so perhaps it has some kinks.

On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 1:20:08 PM UTC-4, Jake Hofman wrote:

that does sound great—curious to learn more about it. -j

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM, Katherine Baxter
<baxter.k...@gmail.com <javascript:>> wrote:

Wow, that sounds great. Essy, can you share?

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM, Philip Hellyer <phi...@hellyer.net<javascript:>>
wrote:

I’m sure that Essy has implemented something like this for her own
purposes.

iirc, her code sets the slope to the current actual average rate
achieved.

This has the effect of gradually ratcheting the road to match what
you’re

able to achieve, and to continue pushing the envelope every time you
build

up some safety buffer.

Philip

On 1 April 2014 20:42, Jake Hofman <jho...@gmail.com <javascript:>>
wrote:

btw, i’ve added the feature to uservoice here. please upvote if you’re
interested. -j

http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/5713728-add-an-automatically-progressing-goal-feature

Add an “automatically progressing goal” feature

This feature would allow a user to create a goal that automatically
and

gradually increases from a lower initial rate to a higher target rate.
Inputs would be the initial rate, the final rate, and a time scale.
The

result would be a non-linear road that hits the target rate at the
specified

time. Preferably the schedule for increase (e.g., constant,
decreasing,

increasing, etc.) would be set automagically.

For instance, let’s say I’d like to work my way up to flossing once a
day, but right now I’d be happy with once a week. I’m pretty sure I’ll
fail

if I shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that
I can

slowly build up to it.

While you can do this manually, of course, this feature might help if
you’re akratic about maintaining your goals. I’d probably stick to a
slowly

increasing goal without even realizing that I’m improving.


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For meditation, the best thing I’ve found is to beemind both the frequency
and the duration in 2 separate graphs. Then I can set limits like “meditate
at least 5 sessions a week, and at least 2 hours a week total.” That
doesn’t help with increasing the amount over time, but it is a framework
that seems to work well for me.

On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 7:53 PM, David Ernst david@ernsts.us wrote:

Hi Akratics,

I’ve been thinking about something along these lines myself, albeit less
sophisticated. Let me share my current ideas in case it is of any help, and
I’m sure you all may have great suggestions.

My long-term goal is to get back into a habit of an hour of meditation,
twice a day. For the past the few months it’s been inconsistent, just about
never more than one hour, once per week. When I first learned about
Beeminder – not more than a month or two ago – meditation was the first
thing I knew I wanted to personally use it for, b/c in my experience, when
I’m good on this, everything else follows. Lack of ‘presence’ feels like a
sort of gateway akrasia, if you will :slight_smile:

So I’ve had a Beemind “total hours sitting”. That’s sort of working. I set
it for 1 hour per week, and for the most part that’s pretty much what I’ve
been doing: one long session, spaced a week apart.

But I’d rather be more frequent & consistent, even if it’s a much smaller
magnitude.

So now I’m thinking of another way to attack this:

Again, the end goal is twice daily hour-long sessions.
Day 1 will be 1 minute of meditation. Easy.
Day 2 should be 2 minutes. Day 3? 3 minutes. And then continue to add
another minute each day. (Not yet sure how to cross the chasm from once to
twice daily…)

So I suppose this goal is “Grow Daily Meditation Practice”. I hope to
input a 1 each day. And if I need to check what amount I’m up to, the
cumulative Y-axis will track “Minutes of Daily Practice”. Effectively, this
just Beeminding the derivative of total minutes sat, such that this Beemind
follows a constant rate and yet my “true goal” if you will, is
auto-increasing.

Is that clear?

Could this same approach apply to your flossing goal, Jake? Perhaps you
could Do-Less-beemind the number of days in between flossing sessions.
Haven’t fully thought this out so perhaps it has some kinks.

On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 1:20:08 PM UTC-4, Jake Hofman wrote:

that does sound great—curious to learn more about it. -j

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM, Katherine Baxter
baxter.k...@gmail.com wrote:

Wow, that sounds great. Essy, can you share?

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM, Philip Hellyer phi...@hellyer.net
wrote:

I’m sure that Essy has implemented something like this for her own
purposes.

iirc, her code sets the slope to the current actual average rate
achieved.

This has the effect of gradually ratcheting the road to match what
you’re

able to achieve, and to continue pushing the envelope every time you
build

up some safety buffer.

Philip

On 1 April 2014 20:42, Jake Hofman jho...@gmail.com wrote:

btw, i’ve added the feature to uservoice here. please upvote if
you’re

interested. -j

http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/
suggestions/5713728-add-an-automatically-progressing-goal-feature

Add an “automatically progressing goal” feature

This feature would allow a user to create a goal that automatically
and

gradually increases from a lower initial rate to a higher target
rate.

Inputs would be the initial rate, the final rate, and a time scale.
The

result would be a non-linear road that hits the target rate at the
specified

time. Preferably the schedule for increase (e.g., constant,
decreasing,

increasing, etc.) would be set automagically.

For instance, let’s say I’d like to work my way up to flossing once a
day, but right now I’d be happy with once a week. I’m pretty sure
I’ll fail

if I shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence
that I can

slowly build up to it.

While you can do this manually, of course, this feature might help if
you’re akratic about maintaining your goals. I’d probably stick to a
slowly

increasing goal without even realizing that I’m improving.


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On Apr 2, 2014, at 7:53 PM, David Ernst david@ernsts.us wrote:

So I suppose this goal is “Grow Daily Meditation Practice”. I hope to input a 1 each day. And if I need to check what amount I’m up to, the cumulative Y-axis will track “Minutes of Daily Practice”. Effectively, this just Beeminding the derivative of total minutes sat, such that this Beemind follows a constant rate and yet my “true goal” if you will, is auto-increasing.

Is that clear?

Could this same approach apply to your flossing goal, Jake? Perhaps you could Do-Less-beemind the number of days in between flossing sessions. Haven’t fully thought this out so perhaps it has some kinks.

yes—this makes sense and is right in line with what i’m thinking about.

it seems easier to slowly build up to the desired rate instead of just jumping in right away.

-j


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Jake, you’re sure you’d fail at flossing more regularly independent of
Pledge amount? I feel like a high enough Pledge could get you to make a
habit of flossing without needing the auto-grow goal tech. But of course
I’m mostly generalizing from N=1. It’s hard for me to imagine being so
averse/akratic that losing $100 or $1,000 or (5% * annual income) wouldn’t
make one floss. Maybe a severely depressed person? But I’m tangenting.

On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 9:11 PM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

On Apr 2, 2014, at 7:53 PM, David Ernst david@ernsts.us wrote:

So I suppose this goal is “Grow Daily Meditation Practice”. I hope to
input a 1 each day. And if I need to check what amount I’m up to, the
cumulative Y-axis will track “Minutes of Daily Practice”. Effectively, this
just Beeminding the derivative of total minutes sat, such that this Beemind
follows a constant rate and yet my “true goal” if you will, is
auto-increasing.

Is that clear?

Could this same approach apply to your flossing goal, Jake? Perhaps you
could Do-Less-beemind the number of days in between flossing sessions.
Haven’t fully thought this out so perhaps it has some kinks.

yes—this makes sense and is right in line with what i’m thinking about.

it seems easier to slowly build up to the desired rate instead of just
jumping in right away.

-j


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Jeff Medina

“Do you want to live forever?”
“Dunno. Ask me again in five hundred years.”
(Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett)


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hey jeff,

you’re right. a sufficiently high enough pledge would probably work.
i’m just being chicken on actually putting the money down. :slight_smile:

i also don’t quite know what my value for flossing every day is.

but in general i prefer to set reachable goals and slowly improve than
fail a lot to get to the appropriate pledge.

-j

On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 8:40 AM, Jeff Medina
analyticphilosophy@gmail.com wrote:

Jake, you’re sure you’d fail at flossing more regularly independent of
Pledge amount? I feel like a high enough Pledge could get you to make a
habit of flossing without needing the auto-grow goal tech. But of course I’m
mostly generalizing from N=1. It’s hard for me to imagine being so
averse/akratic that losing $100 or $1,000 or (5% * annual income) wouldn’t
make one floss. Maybe a severely depressed person? But I’m tangenting.

On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 9:11 PM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

On Apr 2, 2014, at 7:53 PM, David Ernst david@ernsts.us wrote:

So I suppose this goal is “Grow Daily Meditation Practice”. I hope to
input a 1 each day. And if I need to check what amount I’m up to, the
cumulative Y-axis will track “Minutes of Daily Practice”. Effectively, this
just Beeminding the derivative of total minutes sat, such that this Beemind
follows a constant rate and yet my “true goal” if you will, is
auto-increasing.

Is that clear?

Could this same approach apply to your flossing goal, Jake? Perhaps you
could Do-Less-beemind the number of days in between flossing sessions.
Haven’t fully thought this out so perhaps it has some kinks.

yes—this makes sense and is right in line with what i’m thinking about.

it seems easier to slowly build up to the desired rate instead of just
jumping in right away.

-j


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Jeff Medina

“Do you want to live forever?”
“Dunno. Ask me again in five hundred years.”
(Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett)


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Hi all,

Sorry to have not had time to respond until now.

I have my goals set up so that those that I tag with “AD” (for auto-dial)
will automatically change the rate to the average I’ve recorded so far.
This way, I can start my goal with a flat road and just record when I do
whatever it is I’m tracking. Then, I use the auto-dial either every day or
every week or whatever, depending on how keen I’m feeling, and it forces me
to keep up ~at least~ the level that I’ve done in the past. This way, I can
have a ton of goals** all set flat and improve, bit by bit, knowing that
the goal I’ve set is possible, because I’ve already done it. Plus, since it
happens from time to time that I do a little better than expected, it keeps
me improving. It makes for nice, slow progress. I think it’s especially
awesome for those really hard to change habits. The real benefit to this is
that it keeps you getting better, nice and slow, and makes regression a lot
less likely.

The goals that are binary (either you did it or you didn’t, and so are
reporting a 1 or a 0) tend to change a little more quickly, because if your
road rate get’s changed to 2.4 per week due to an average, that’s
functionally a 3 (since you will need to record a “1” on the 3rd day.) But
that hasn’t bothered me. Goals where you’re recording minutes or miles or
calories or whatever go more slowly, but every time you do a little better,
you are challenging your future self to keep up. And you never have to
match your peak, only your average. (As time goes on, this changes more
slowly, of course, but you can always add in a section of road that’s
harder and then tag your road differently for a while to make it even
harder. (Or use the “take a break” feature to do just the opposite.)

I’m going to attach my code in the next post, and I’ll also send it to the
Beeminder folks so they can tweak it and improve it if they want to. It’s
not very good code, but it works. YMMV (I should warn you that sometimes it
records the “do less” goals as having fewer days on track than they have,
which messes with the averages. I’m not sure why this is and I haven’t had
time to check if it’s a time-of-day thing or something else. This winds up
leaving too much space for the do-less goals sometimes, but I haven’t the
time to fix it right now, I’m afraid.

I hope this turns out to be useful to some of you.
Essy

(**I have 57 at the moment, but not all use this and not all are dialled
above a flat line. A couple are sort of waiting until I’m ready, and then
I’ll just add the tag to them and they’ll add themselves to the mix that way
.)

On Tuesday, April 1, 2014 4:17:57 PM UTC-4, Katherine Baxter wrote:

Wow, that sounds great. Essy, can you share?

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM, Philip Hellyer <phi...@hellyer.net<javascript:>

wrote:

I’m sure that Essy has implemented something like this for her own
purposes.

iirc, her code sets the slope to the current actual average rate
achieved. This has the effect of gradually ratcheting the road to match
what you’re able to achieve, and to continue pushing the envelope every
time you build up some safety buffer.

Philip

On 1 April 2014 20:42, Jake Hofman <jho...@gmail.com <javascript:>>wrote:

btw, i’ve added the feature to uservoice here. please upvote if you’re
interested. -j

http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/5713728-add-an-automatically-progressing-goal-feature

Add an “automatically progressing goal” feature

This feature would allow a user to create a goal that automatically and
gradually increases from a lower initial rate to a higher target rate.
Inputs would be the initial rate, the final rate, and a time scale. The
result would be a non-linear road that hits the target rate at the
specified time. Preferably the schedule for increase (e.g., constant,
decreasing, increasing, etc.) would be set automagically.

For instance, let’s say I’d like to work my way up to flossing once a
day, but right now I’d be happy with once a week. I’m pretty sure I’ll fail
if I shoot for the moon out of the gate, but have some confidence that I
can slowly build up to it.

While you can do this manually, of course, this feature might help if
you’re akratic about maintaining your goals. I’d probably stick to a slowly
increasing goal without even realizing that I’m improving.


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Okay, so, I had to do a few creative things because I don’t really know
what I’m doing. For one, there’s no tagging and I don’t think the goal
statement is accessible through the API, so I use creative goal naming to
tag my goals.

Here’s how it works:

Workout sub-goals, like particular exercises, are tagged with "(Workout)"
at the end of the goal’s title [e.g.: “Crunch (Workout)”]. The slug doesn’t
matter. These goals are all automatically added to the list of autodialed
goals that will increase in difficulty over time. Also, I store them all on
the back burner (below the line, using the minus symbol in the top right of
the goal’s chart on the goal page) to keep them from cluttering things up.
I keep them set to $0 (because there are 16 of them!). But, if they derail,
I can choose to bump them up to $5 when putting them back on track, and
then start a countdown back to $0 to ensure that I don’t fall off of them
again for the following week. (I usually don’t, though, since there’s a
meta-goal called “Strength Training” that covers those and that is attached
to a $ contract.)

Okay, now the other goals:

They are labelled things like:

Work Hours dd wk oA FY

and each goal has four pairs of letters to tag them with.


The first pair is either “dd” or "AD"
dd = don’t dial
AD = auto-dial (these are the ones that will have the roads auto-dialed to
the average so far when I click the link to do so)


The second pair is one of “am”, “wk”, “pm”, or "lt"
am = part of my morning routine
wk = part of my work routine
pm = part of my evening routine
lt = limit (such as bad habits or something that you need to track all of
the time)

The point of this is so that I can have a dashboard that shows me my goals
in order of when I tend to do the things. It only shows me the goals that
are going to derail that day or the day after, or the goals that need daily
data entered and haven’t received it yet. I try to do cardio in the
morning, so it’s tagged with “am”, but I use my “projects” goal at work, so
it’s tagged with “wk”. My “bad habit” goal has no specific time, so it’s
tagged with “lt”

The third pair is has either the first letter “o” or “D” and the second
letter of either “A” or "B"
o = occasional
D = daily
A = Above
B = Below

This tells my dashboard whether the goal needs a datapoint every day (“D”,
like for the size of an email inbox or bedtime or something – usually
connected to the kind of goals that would be well-suited to pessimistic
presumptives) or just when there happens to be one (“o” like recording a
bad habit, which you hope you won’t have to record every day)

The Above/Below distinction is to tell my dashboard whether it gets set in
one of the “set a limit” areas or not.

For example: “Work Hours dd wk oA FY” is tagged with “oA” because it
doesn’t require that I enter a datapoint every day and it’s a goal where
I’m trying to stay above the line but “Email Zero dd wk DB FY” is tagged
with "“DB” because it’s a goal for which I want to make sure I enter a
datapoint every day, and it’s a set-a-limit goal. "Bad Habit AD lt oB fn"
is a goal that represents a habit I’m trying to break. Like the email goal,
it’s tagged as “B” for below, but it might not require a datapoint every
day, so it’s “oB”. (You’ll notice that it’s also an auto-dial goal, so that
I can ease myself out of my bad habit! …theoretically)


The final pair is either “fn” or "FY"
fn = friends can’t see it
FY = friends can see it

I’ve created a special dashboard for others doing similar things and they
can see my goals there. I wanted to make sure they could only see the goals
with which I was comfortable, though, so I tag those with “FY” and the
other with “fn”. You can just put xx there, though, if you don’t want to
have to change the code to ignore it.


That all comes to a dashboard that is probably more of a “show” than "tell"
so I’m going to attach an image here. (I’m deleting some goals because
they’re private to me, but I think you’ll get the gist without them. (Oh,
speaking of pictures, each goal has a picture associated to it. It makes it
easier to find, and it provides a touch of motivation.)

Anyway, I’m sure there are better ways than this, but I stopped trying to
improve it once it mostly did what I want. If anyone wants to run with it,
go nuts!

Files next.

(PS - Sorry for the grainy picture. The max size is 2000 pixels)


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Here are the files. I put them on my server in a file with the “lib” folder
from the Api (lib contains Beeminder/Api/…).

There are definitely better ways to do this, and I look forward to
copy/pasting someone else’s corrections into my files!!


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Bonus: I have this, too. I use it to enter my strength training workouts on
my smartphone. It will only show the exercises I didn’t do in the last 24
hours (I think). It multiplies the reps by the weight and enters the total
as the datapoint and the “reps x weight” numbers as the comment.

A quirk: by the time the page has reloaded, the graph still hasn’t updated,
so the last exercise you entered will still appear unavailable.


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