The Three Bees of Beginning Beeminding

Dall-E, prompt used - A meditating woman being orbited by three bees, fanciful.

(Wrote up this post about my experiences with Beeminder, hopefully this will be useful to someone else.)

I first started using Beeminder when I was in college, after Habitica - which had been my goto for years - stopped providing the motivation I needed to acomplish the goals I had set for myself. After researching and using competitors, like StickK, I eventually found Beeminder. A couple of years on from first using Beeminder, and having gone through many contextual changes for how I use Beeminder, I’ve run into enough pitfalls and traps to think that there are three essential Bees to Beginning a [Successful] Beeminder habit.

The Bee of Accurate Data

As mentioned in previous Beeminder Blog Posts, I’ll reiterate it again here - having accurate data is amazing, and committing to providing accurate data is a superpower!

How so? Well, think about the basic utility of the Beeminder application - you set goals with monetary consequences for failure to complete those goals so that you can motivate yourself to accomplish the things in your life that really matter. To progress towards those goals, you enter data showing your progress towards those goals so you can avoid the monetary consequences of derailing.

So, in summary,

Enter Data to → Avoid Losing Money through Beeminder to → Progress on Goals

But you can simplify this to

Enter data to → Progress on Goals

- if you really trust beeminder to help you do the things that are important to you in life!

Remember, the point of entering data is not to avoid derailing, the point of entering data is to progress your goals. As important to remember is that not entering a datapoint (when accurate) and derailing is also a datapoint that progresses your goals.

When you derail, you lose money, yes, but it’s also a reminder that based upon the data you have entered (or not entered) regarding your goals, whether you are on track towards the things that you have decided really matter in your life. Taking the above equation a step furthermore, if you are more motivated to avoid losing money than entering correct data, you are not using Beeminder to progress your goals.

Enter incorrect data to → Avoid Losing Money → Stop Progressing on your Goals through beeminder?

One of my favorite things about Beeminder is that it takes away the (no pun intended) sting of breaking a very long streak, because, well, stuff just happens! Sometimes you’re just too exhausted to do something every day, and the grandularity to do something 5 days a week is really valueable.

But one important streak to keep up with the Bee of Accurate Data is to, well, enter accurate data, as much as you possibly can. Remember, entering correct data, including a correct lack of data that leads to derailment, keeps you progressing towards your goals.

The Bee of [Basic] Financial Resources

The biggest enemy for inputting accurate data for me has been not having the financial resources to take it when you lose as little as $5. Avoidance of monetary loss is one of the strongest tools Beeminder has, but sometimes it can become Avoidance of Monetary Loss at all costs, when $5 will completely break the bank when you’ve just graduated college and are paying too much on an apartment!

So, remember. Accurate data is Progressing Your Goals. If you cannot provide accurate data, (because that monetary sting of even a basic derailment would be too much) maybe Beeminder is not right for you at this stage of your life. Do come back later, though, as I’m sure it may be a great tool for getting your life on the right track.

The Bee of Forward Thinking, with Calendialing!

One of the most important things for keeping your Beeminder goals on track in the long term is regularly adjusting them so that when you’re about to work 20 hours of overtime in the next week, or will have a particularly unsteady sleeping schedule that’ll sap your motivation, you’ll have a much flatter graph that’ll mean you won’t derail while your ability to progress your goals is compromised by the degree to which you won’t be able to work.

Of course, this is something everyone who uses Beeminder already does to some degree or another, but having a Beeminder goal that asks you to set breaks and dial in rates for all of the rest of your goals on a weekly basis will supercharge your Beeminding and make it so that you’re not derailing unnecessarily, and feel further inclined to enter accurate data - and return back to working on those awesome goals of yours. :wink: