Recovery - bouncing back

How do people recover from derailing?

When I derail, it’s usually because I’ve drifted away from my goal and pretty much stopped doing it, then got busy, stopped checking Beeminder, 10:30 pm… fuck… I guess that’s going to happen.

I have a long mercy setting (flat after derail). But that doesn’t really work, because if I haven’t been doing it, it’s easy to keep not doing it, burn thru the mercy period, derail again, stop using Beeminder for 2 years. (Trust me, that’s very possible.)

I think what I really want is that when I derail, my rate drops to very little, but I have to get back to it, at least a bit. I haven’t figured out how to use the mercy period, adjust road rate, and ratchet to achieve this.


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I had a period somewhat recently when beeminder really stopped working for me—I had a lot of goals that I was never really checking, and would maybe skate the edge for a few weeks by frantically remembering the goal at 11:30 PM until I eventually just derailed.

My approach was to archive most of my goals, and then create a couple of simple goals that would let me rebuild the habit of frequently checking in with beeminder.

Once I am in a good place, I find it no problem at all to recover from derailing—derailing is always just that I barely failed to make the cut, but it’s not like I forgot about the goal completely.

If your problem is similar to mine, I would suggest archiving your goals and trying to make a couple small, perhaps even “silly” goals that you’ll have fun entering the data for to get back in the habit. You can then unarchive your goals one at a time—or consider just making different goals that might be more effective.

I’m curious to hear other people’s (probably very different) suggestions!


Would it be crazy to have two versions of every goal. One version is archived at all times, and has a slow slope, suitable for recovery mode. The other is the real version, and it has a longer mercy period than the Akrasia horizon… when it derails, you flatten in, archive it, and activate the backup.

Am I over-thinking this?

Well, if you want to try that, it seems like it’s unecessarily complicated—when you derail, you should just try making the slope a lot smaller. But my feeling is that if you were ignoring the goal before, you’ll just still ignore it even if you make the slope smaller.

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Right now, I’m trying something even sillier. All the goals are basically paused, and I have a new goal $0 to start using Beeminder again. That’s it. Just click a data entry every day. That’s the whole goal.