When to increase the difficulty of a "do more" goal

I have had two Beeminder goals running for six months now:

These have been my most longest-running and most successful use cases of Beeminder for behavior change after using it off and on for years. My exercise goal is to do 4.97 workouts per week. My goal when I started was to simply “exercise more,” and my fine print is that +1 is equal to:

  • Go to the gym and do strength-training, cardio, or HIIT
  • Go for a run, long walk, or hike
  • Do three sets of four core exercises at home

Assuming I follow through with my gym plan today, my three-week average is 5.6 workouts per week. On the other hand, my ambition/plan that I discussed with my personal trainer three weeks ago is to do 6 workouts per week: 3 sessions of only strength-training, 2 sessions of cardio followed by strength-training, and 1 session of HIIT. Where I’m not following the plan is HIIT, which I haven’t done in three months.

I’m on the fence about if/how I should alter my Beeminder goal. I see a few options:

  1. Separate out all the types of exercise into new goals. This takes away some flexibility since when I travel or get sick, I mostly get +1 from walks/hikes. On the other hand, if it pushed me to follow the plan, my exercise would be distributed the way I desire. I could make the Beeminder goals either equal to my actual goal (scary) or slightly easier like I have now.

  2. Separate out just HIIT and make a new goal of + 0.142 HIIT sessions per week. This leaves flexibility while ensuring I would do HIIT. I could possibly double count HIIT for my overall exercise goal so that I still have my graph showing all types of exercise. I could increase the exercise goal by the same amount so that I am still “doing more” overall after adding HIIT.

  3. Increase my Beeminder goal from +4.97/week up to +6/week to reflect my actual goal. See whether this results in me following the plan and adding HIIT, doing more of something else, or derailing.

Thematically, it seems like I’m asking: Once a goal has changed your behavior but you still want to “do more” of the behavior, when do you decide to make the goal harder? How specific do you make your goals when you have several behaviors that fall into one category?

Any advice is sincerely appreciated! :slight_smile:


i don’t have general advice for you, but if it were me, i’d go for option #2 because i know that’s what would be most useful to me. (it sounds like you’re doing great overall except for hiit, so having beeminder get you on the hook for hiit specifically should ensure that you’re keeping up with it the way you want.)

also the fact that your six-month-old goal could be kept as is would be a big plus for me as well.

just my two cents. :)


I started feeling the same way that option #2 would be the best. Thanks for nudge in that direction!

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I like the “double-count” strategy: that’s what I’m doing for some music and coding goals. I have a general music goal, and a lower specific piano goal (guitar, singing, or any other instrument also count for music). Makes sure I don’t over-focus on one thing, but gives me flexibility in the general case. I’ve been enjoying it a lot!


It’s great to hear you’ve had success with that! Distributing my effort properly is something I struggle with in general, so this is giving me ideas for how to Beemind “work”…


It sounds like when you travel or you’re sick, you mostly do walking and hiking. To cover that case, you could make the HIIT goal with a shallower slope, so you can easily build up some buffer.

I have a goal for “go into my office in person” and in the fine print I say that I can give myself +1 if I’m sick or on vacation on a Thursday or Friday.

In my opinion getting sick or traveling aren’t “emergencies” so it’s best to decide up front how to handle them in a way that feels honest and not weasely.


I followed through with the double count strategy by making a HITT goal and increasing the weekly rate of my exercise goal. I’ve done HIIT eighteen times since making the goal ~5 months ago, compared to zero times in the three months prior to that. I recently lowered the rate after adjusting my exercise plan with my personal trainer.

Thanks all for the double count suggestions!

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