Hi @johnrooks! I’ve been chatting with you about this via email, but I thought I’d explain the options here for anyone else who is checking out this thread.
So basically there are three ways to end a goal in Beeminder, with the third being sort of discouraged [edit to add: because it’s aaaall about thinking ahead, so if you can plan ahead, we’d prefer you to!].
If you know a date by which you wish to be done, or an end total which you want to reach, you can set that under the “commitment” tab on the goal’s page, by clicking on “change goal date and goal total”. That way, you don’t have to worry about remembering to archive the goal: once the date or end-total are reached, you won’t need to keep adding data. Sometimes I use this to set a rough target date which I later modify, which I think can be useful with things like decluttering.
The other way is archiving the goal seven days before you want it to finish. Personally, this works for me because I review my Beeminder goals every week at the same time (I have a Beeminder goal for it!), so I can tell seven days in advance that my goal is going to be finished soon and start up the archive.
We do know that there are cases where that doesn’t work, so it is totally possible for people to email email@example.com and say “hey, I actually finished this goal now, so it isn’t possible to do any more work on it – can you archive it?” And we’ll say yes, since it’d be silly to make you keep going seven days if you’ve completed the goal… and having this step of having to email us and explain all that avoids it being too easy.
If you want to be able to say “right, I’m done” when you feel you’ve reached the goal, well… that’s kind of counter to the whole point of Beeminder. You’re not supposed to be able to get out of it just like that – it’s a commitment contract, and it’s meant to be enforcing longer-term thinking than that, to avoid the phenomenon of “akrasia”, which is basically where short-term desires trump your long-term needs. The idea is that when you have to think seven days ahead, that’s detached from the day-to-day “I’d rather do x or y”, and you won’t be as tempted to ditch your goal in favour of short-term desires.
Users might have some ideas about how they handle this kind of project within the restrictions I’ve described, but I don’t think there’s a way to just get your goal archived whenever you want. If there is, it’d be interesting to hear about it… and possibly it’d be a bug we’d actually want to patch up!