Beeminder Forum

What's your Beeminder origin story?


#1

How did you first find Beeminder? What made it click for you?

I was writing my Master’s thesis and was super frustrated with myself for procrastinating so often. I came across a Lifehacker article by Whitson Gordon that talked about Beeminder, and (especially given how frustrated I was) the idea of ensuring my future self would do what I planned this time resonated. I wasn’t all that optimistic about it before trying it, since I’d tried all kinds of things before, but optimistic enough to set up a goal. So I gave it a try and was like, “SWEET MERCIFUL ZEUS! This is magic!”

How about you? What circumstances led you to come across Beeminder?


#2

Years ago I was on HabitRPG, then read about their beeminder integration, was attracted by the pun, checked it out and thought “that sounds intense and like it would actually work” but also “intimidating” and “I can / want to do this without something that crazy”.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m doing my Master’s Project, heavily procrastinating, extended the deadline by one semester multiple times. It was bad. Until in October 2018 I told myself: That’s it. I need to put on the thumb screws (as we say in German). That day I signed up for beeminder. No ragrets ever since.


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#3

I have a pretty good Beeminder origin story! :slight_smile: Let me plagiarize myself a bit since I’ve told this many times around the internet over the years…

In 2005 when I was scrambling to get my PhD thesis written and @bee, who I had recently met and, obviously, fallen head-over-heels for, concocted what she dubbed the Voluntary Harassment Program to keep me churning out chapters. That was a smashing success and we continued to experiment on ourselves with crazy incentive schemes and productivity hacks until 2008 when we started getting friends and family in on the fun, with what we called Kibotzer — the kibitzing robot — which was an early incarnation of Beeminder…

That’s from an old blog post from the first year after launching Beeminder (“Quantified Self Talk: Beeminding Beeminder”).


#4

I found Beeminder in 2016 through Thomas Frank’s channel on youtube while finding ways to ‘not procrastinate’ . I liked the idea but found it too intimidating and hardcore. I was also a student at that time, so couldn’t afford the money to pledge. (I also decided to do it offline for a while. I gave my friend some amount of money every time I didn’t do something I wanted to. But couldn’t keep up)

Fast forward around 2 years. I am watching Thomas Frank’s channel again. He mentions Beeminder again. I was already sick and tired of me procrastinating and having zero self-discipline in general. I had tried everything under the sun to keep myself disciplined but nothing worked. I decided to sign up for beeminder and no regrets! It’s been only a few weeks(and I have already paid $10 lol) but I can already see the difference! There’s no way I would have done what I am doing without Beeminder! Because of this, I now also have the confidence that I can do whatever I aim to, in future. Just need to set up a goal on beeminder haha!

This has been a life changer! Wish I had discovered it sooner lol! Thank you so much Beeminder!


#5

I started out when the integration with Habitica was announced, and kept it up until a brief patch of being both totally broke and so anxious I wasn’t leaving the house (so my step goal kept derailing over and over). I more or less quit after that, with maybe a low-level goal or two going on, until I started actually modding for Habitica (and being friends with @alys), and then working for Beeminder (so I had money and also motivation to be using both sites). Then it, um, ballooned. A lot. So I would honestly say I have two origin stories: the first, with limited success, and then a reboot which has so far been pretty successful.

(I want to compare myself to a comic but not sure who had initial mild success and then a boom after a reboot. Maybe Young Avengers? Nah, they’ve pretty much split up and gone to different established teams now after the brief run with Gillen/McKelvie… Anyway.)


#6

I found Beeminder through Mark Forster, when he discovered us back in 2012. Might have been this article: How to use Beeminder to monitor all your work, though I didn’t join until March.

Back then, every time you derailed on a goal, it froze and needed to be manually resumed. After experiencing this a few times, along with the psychological friction that led me to delay the restarting, I wrote this email to the founders in April 2012:

FYI. To avoid procrastination in resetting my road if I fall off the wagon, I’ve added this to the fine print of my most important beeminded goals:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the off-the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away for $100.

The numbers aren’t very big, but it was surprisingly difficult for even my lucid self to type. Hence the caveats and zero-cost path, etc. I don’t like obligation, even to myself, even when I could so easily cheat (again, on myself). Oh, the games we play.

Thanks for providing your fine service.

Seems that it struck a chord with @dreev, because he replied:

this is so many shades of awesome i’m cc’ing our internal list.

This led to the new normal state, that your goal automatically continues, which we called “precommit to recommit”. And to my first blog post, Getting Back on the Wagon. And to my continuing happy involvement with Beeminder. And to a heck of a lot more getting done than I would’ve done without us.


#7

Oddly, I seem to have discovered Beeminder much later than I thought. I looked back at my archived goals as well as my old instapaper and pinboard articles and see that BM first pops up in around late Spring of 2012. In particular, this article appears to be the first article that I read referencing the service.

My first goal (unless I deleted it) seems to have been a language study goal for Urdu that tracked the number of minutes I was studying. I seem to have added various other goals quite quickly after that, including one for meditation and another for my PhD writeup (I had roughly 40K words remaining to be written in first-draft form and BM got me over the line):

That initial success was very much my gateway drug into Beeminder. Now I mind all the things!


#8

I found Beeminder via the Slate Star Codex sidebar ad in December of 2015. That fall had been particularly intense at work and I was turning into a grumpy mess with my family. I binge-read Messy Matters and the Beeminder blog on Christmas, then dove in head-first with Beeminder goals to build some stability and balance back into my life.

After a few weeks with goals for running, meditation, drinking less, and tracking grumps, I was feeling much more like myself. I also set myself a blogging goal and pulled off a year of near-weekly posts to my blog, which was a much higher frequency of writing than I’d ever managed previously.


#9

I do not remember how I was pointed at Beeminder, but I started in late 2014, early 2015. My first goal was weight loss, which had a frenchfries helper goal to only eat french fries a certain number of days a week. (The idea that I would need a goal for that is now so foreign to me I can barely believe it.)

Both of those goals were ridiculously effective. I lost 45 pounds that first year, another 10 the following, and kept it off the next two years.

Now I usually float between 50 and 75 goals.


#10

Much like others in this thread, I found out about Beeminder when HabitRPG announced its integration back in what was it, 2014? I remember immediately dismissing Beeminder after reading its unique selling point, and wondering who the heck would ever sign up for such a site. Giving real money? No thanks!

Then, towards the beginning of 2017, as I was struggling to cope with university and life in general, your name somehow came back to mind, and I’ve been beeminding happily for over a year now.


#11

You can’t see any evidence of it on my current account, but I actually started Beeminding originally at the beginning of 2015. I had been Googling “best productivity apps” or something like that and Beeminder was listed in one of the articles I read. I was thinking about new year’s resolutions and decided to give it a go. I was on here all of that year but then my depression flared up and I started derailing on everything, repeatedly, in early 2016, and gave up. In December 2017 I somehow remembered that Beeminder existed suddenly (probably because of new year’s resolutions again) and decided to come back. I was unable to log in to my old account however, and had to create this new one. I don’t have any archived goals to show what I worked on in 2018, because generally I was derailing a lot and when that happens, I don’t just archive goals, I completely delete them, too, because I get embarrassed. I also really wanted to reuse the same urls for new attempts at some of those goals. I did have one goal, though, that I kept up with all through 2018 and have recommitted to for 2019. The past month or so I was thinking about new year’s resolutions and started working on two goals in time to get them added to the survivor challenge. I’m still thinking about what I want to accomplish this year and where and how I should be using Beeminder to get there. Although I have very little data remaining to show what I’ve used Beeminder to accomplish, even just looking at my no pop goal, and how I quit drinking pop nearly 9 months ago now, makes me incredibly grateful that this service exists and that I’m a part of it.


#12

I think I first heard of beeminder from Less Wrong.

I beecrastinated for years before I actually used it. I had the app on my phone, I got regular emails, I made an account, but couldn’t get myself to use it.

But then I got the notice that prices would be going up soon, which finally got me to subscribe to lock in the low price - and then of course once I paid I had to start using it.

Some sneaky beehavioral economics there!

I remember immediately dismissing Beeminder after reading its unique selling point, and wondering who the heck would ever sign up for such a site. Giving real money? No thanks!

The most common reaction I get when I tell people about beeminder is “I could never do that - I’d lose so much money.”


#13

I was working in a startup where heads would roll at regular intervals, whenever the bank remembered that we didn’t make any money and probably wouldn’t make any ever. A couple of us figured that our best hope to not get fired ourselves was to become indispensably useful. So every morning we committed to the tasks we wanted to complete by the end of the day, and when we went home for the night we reported on how it went (so no one could sandbag). I also started tracking my time with Toggl — and I still do — because even though I was salaried I still wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time.

And it worked! Sort of. The company never did make money, but it was a great few years, and those of us who committed to productivity made it through to the acquisition.

I enjoyed Toggl, but it was a pretty simple tool, and it seemed like a lagging indicator (at least how I was using it). I googled around and came up with Stikk and Beeminder as fun things to try, and used a fitness commitment as a test.

Stikk didn’t work for me. There was nothing about signing a contract that made me do the thing. And by that point I’d read the Beeminder blog post on akrasia and rapidly progressed from end-user to proselytizer. Enough freebees got me hooked enough to sign up for premium, and life has been blissful with intermittent stings ever since.


#14

Today is my 4th forum anniversary (it was kind enough to remind me) but I have no recollection how i got here :smiley: