Somehow, Beeminder should have a reward system

I suppose this has been discussed before, but I’ve been thinking about it and put down some words.
So you’re charged if you derail, but what if you succeed? As is, i fear Beeminder seems like a punishment system to newbies, whereas it has been quite positive for me in the last 18 months (and I guess most long-time users).

Two examples of reward systems from other apps. They are based on financial gain, but perhaps there are some other concepts out there to be explored

  1. Pact: you commit to a weekly goal and either you are charged if you failed (depending on how many days you failed your goal) or get a couple $ if you succeed. The amounts you earn are insignificant (I’m “earning” about 3-3.5$ per week) but overall the app has helped me walk some more in many occassions and also establish my calorie counting habit on Myfitnesspal
  2. Dietbet/Stepbet: you enter a game which has a “betting” pool. You’re charged up front a participation fee, so you’re a bit more eager to get the money back. Winners split the pool (minus 15-20% to the app).

The main point is that some positive re-inforcement should part of the Beeminder process. Thoughts?

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Non-monetary rewards; the stick and the carrot shouldn’t be directly comparable.

We could be so much better at celebrating when you get to the end of a goal, or reach a certain level, or have been consistently doing it for a while, etc.

Something related came up elsewhere:


Idea for non monetary awards: badges (see this forum software for examples) and achievements (archive of successful goals with specific targets)


Absolutely! It might be bad form to keep quoting myself, but this came up elsewhere:

This might be a good thread to collect all those thoughts that we’ve discussed over the years.


Parsephrasing myself from an earlier comment:

Beeminder is for adults. Adults choose their own goals, and they presumably choose these goals because they want whatever the goal is, whether is it to have a certain weight, pay of the credit card debt, speak German, lift heavy weights, save enough to buy a car or a house, or whatever.

A child needs a reward when it reaches a goal, because the goal is chosen for the child by somebody else and so even achieving it may not be motivating for the child. Coming home with straight 'A’s may not interest the child, pizza night and ice cream probably will. An adult doesn’t, because the adult is, or should be, motivated by the achieving the goal.

Also this assumes that goals have an end date. This is not true for most goals: I intend to die with my goal of reading x pages a week still active.


[quote=“tomjen, post:5, topic:2297”]
Beeminder is for adults. Adults choose their own goals, and they presumably choose these goals because they want whatever the goal is [/quote]
If adults where that deliberate about their thoughts and actions, they would not need Beeminder in the first place.


There is no harm done in supporting an expanded array of use cases. Quite the contrary.

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I’ve mentioned it before somewhere on the forum, but when I succeed I would like to get a chance to pay a tip to Beeminder for enabling the awesomeness of having succeeded. So I feel like I should be paying in that case, instead of being the one being payed.

Also, I’d be careful with monetary incentives. There is some research suggesting that under certain conditions they can backfire and demotivate people, especially if the monetary incentive is small.


I would like to have a reward system that just reminds me and motivates me to do my tasks for 10 days in a row and then 20 days in a row etc. For example, I would like to set on my morningprayertime and my pushups goals an initial goal of 10 days in a row with 1 morningprayertimes or at least 1 pushup per day. Beeminder would display how many days I have left to reach 10 days in a row. Once I reach 10 days in a row, I would reward myself. I keep my own list of rewards like “take a trip to the mountains”. I have not fully thought about what should happen if I do not complete the 10 days in a row. I suppose it would just reset and I would be back to 0 days in a row and I would have to start working toward 10 again. What do you all think of this idea?

The issue is that Beeminder is built on the opposite concept. It’s not about doing things every day (e.g. like Seinfeld’s calendar) but rather holding an average of activity over a period of time. So it wont matter if you miss a day as long as you step up to cover it the following days.


Personally I feel like Beeminder’s approach is more sustainable and overall better, but I was really surprised at how motivating I found Stepbet (Diet bet / Step bet).

I think Beeminder could have the best of both worlds if there was some kind of “milestone” or “challenge” feature that was layered on top of the regular goal tracking system.


Rewards, or at least the option of them, would make me happy. Different people are motivated by different things. Some need the carrot, some need the stick, some would prefer some combination of both.

Personally I like working toward something, not just working to keep something bad from happening. Its a difference of attitude. Its the difference between doing just enough to get by and being motivated to really work hard on a goal anytime you can. What I do is set monetary rewards for completing a goal with different amounts of safety buffer. For example, one dollar per day of safety buffer with bonuses over say 5, 10, 15 days. Then I transfer that money to a savings account and when I have enough I go out to dinner or buy that unnecessary thing I wanted. This makes me focus on getting ahead, not just getting by. Really, it just makes working on goals more fun.

I would love to have something built in where this is an option. I like Habitca’s system where you get rewards to level your character up, or you can define your own rewards e.g. 10 gold = an hour of video games. I like that because of the flexibility.

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Beeminder can’t be all the things, and feature creep is an excellent way to torch a previously good product.


It’s like the recent Team Black vs Team Yellow post:

Black Team: Pledged Commitment Contract Warriors. Harness the threat of penalties as their source of power. Their raiment is black, showing their fearlessness and relentlessness.

Yellow Team: Elite Tracking Quantifiers. Wizards of planning and goal construction, they can engineer tracking and accountability schemes to surmount obstacles. Yellow is the color of their order, symbolizing the bright light of their ambitions and devotion to constant learning and improvement.

Different people are motivated by different things, different people use beeminder with different emphasis on different functions - quantification vs. accountability. Personally, I think it is better to provide flexibility to accommodate more use cases, especially when your asking people to pay for a subscription.

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Wow! It is so awesome that you all responded! I have never posted on this forum before and this is so cool!

I mostly want to agree with the title of the post: “Somehow, Beeminder should have a reward system”.

I have started tracking my push ups on a paper system where I give myself a star for each day I do at least one push up. By time I get down on the floor to do one, I will always do at least 10. It has helped bring my pushups goal out of a holding pattern and on track to become a habit.

I like the idea of tracking all my motivations in one place. For me it works best to have both the carrot motivation (reward) and the stick motivation (punishment). While I very much agree with grayson that, “Beeminder can’t be all the things, and feature creep is an excellent way to torch a previously good product,” I also hope that, “There is no harm done in supporting an expanded array of use cases,” as apolyton said.

I like non-monetary rewards because they motivate me more and rewarding people with money can get complicated. The simplicty of Beeminder’s current money system is definitely a plus. GymPact was too complictated (in my opinion) because they paid people money and so they had to track people more closely.

I hope that it might be really easy for Beeminder to have the best of both worlds.

That would be so cool!


I think this is referring to intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards. Human psychology is funny. I’ll try to find the research to back this up, but what they found is that too large of a financial reward can actually flip an intrinsic reward into an extrinsic reward. The focus becomes on the financial return for time, rather than the enjoyment of the activity. Draw your own conclusions regarding how this relates to day-jobs :laughing:

The opposite is also true - paying a ridiculously small amount of money can flip something from being extrinsically rewarding to intrinsically. Essentially the brain figures “I’d never do all this work for so little reward, so I must like it more than I thought”. None of this is conscious - it happens below the surface.

In behavioural economics and social psychology, we sometimes talk about ‘homo economicous’ - how a human would behave completely in their (our) own best interest vs and how rarely we really do. Something we know, which is why we’re here forcing ourselves to meet out goals, right? :nerd_face:


I agree. There needs to be a reward system.

I understand that people will game it. It can be limited.

From Beeminder’s perspective, it will make Beeminder addictive. Like a cards game or a casino. The house can still always win. But if Beeminder gives us dopamine rushes every now and then, people will use it more.

I am looking at other products that give rewards. If I don’t a find good one, I’ll make one. It needs to happen.


I just started a Beeminder-themed StepBet for folks who want motivation + rewards for exercising. @dreev started a private message group for interested folks (and has also signed up for the game and is offering a free year of premium as a bonus prize). No pressure to join if it’s not your thing, but I’ll add you so you can follow the discussion and see how it goes.

It’s a fun 6-week game where we’ll motivate each other to stay active and win some cash in the process. To join, download the StepBet app from your App Store and type in game code BEEMIND on the Find Games page or follow this link:

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Some people integrate their Beeminder goals to Habitica.

It didn’t click for me. I didn’t like the game that much so it didn’t feel like I was getting any reward.


Agreed. I haven’t tried integrating the two, but Habitica wasn’t super-motivating for me personally. That said, I can totally see the appeal. If I was going to play any RPG style game on my phone/PC, why not the one that helps me improve IRL, right?