Is there a beeminder without the punishment?

post by warrenjordan · 2021-09-14T02:51:19.111Z · LW · GW · 9 comments

This is a question post.

I used Beeminder for a few months and found it extremely effective. However, a huge pain point of mine was forgetting to manually log the datapoints since a lot of my goals couldn't be logged automatically. This involved having to message their support e-mail each time. Eventually, this became such a huge friction point that I quit Beeminder.

Since then, I noticed that I haven't maintained my goals as much as I did on Beeminder. I believe that recording that I did X goal made Beeminder so effective for me, rather than the avoiding the punishment that comes when you don't do X goal. It was satisfying that I did X goal and seeing the graph change.

That being said, I want to find another solution like Beeminder without the punishment. Any ideas?

Answers

answer by mad · 2021-09-14T03:44:23.152Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why don't you just use beeminder, but set your goal to be flat? So say you're brushing your teeth, you can tell it you want to brush 0 times a week, when really you want to brush every day, and you end up with a normal-looking graph with no problem if you forget to log (because you can just backdate the data!)

Also has the advantage of letting you use it the "traditional way" (with a slope and a pledge) for a goal that can be done automatically (e.g. duolingo, word count on a writing project, whatever). 

answer by scarcegreengrass · 2021-09-14T03:26:49.920Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have similar needs. I use a spreadsheet, populated via a Google Form accessible via a shortcut from my phone's main menu. I find it rewarding to make the spreadsheet display secondary metrics & graphs too.

Other popular alternatives include Habitica & habitdaily.app (iPhone only). I'm still looking for a perfect solution, but my current tools are pretty good for my needs.

answer by maia · 2021-09-14T14:57:24.817Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Beeminder has a mode that lets you have a goal with no punishment. You have to pay for their highest-tier monthly subscription, though ($24/mo IIRC).

comment by Tetraspace Grouping (tetraspace-grouping) · 2021-09-14T17:59:57.675Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Beemium (the subscription tier that allows pledgeless goals) is $40/mo currently, increased in January 2021 from $32/mo and in 2014 from the original $25/mo.

answer by Dr. Birdbrain · 2021-09-17T02:27:38.102Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I like Habitica.

answer by dreeves · 2021-09-14T20:49:59.109Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good question and good answers! Someone mentioned that the fancy/expensive Beemium plan lets you cap pledges at $0. On the non-premium plan you can cap pledges at $5, so another conceivable solution is to combine that + a conservative slope on your graph + setting alarms or something? + chalking up occasional failures, if rare enough, as effectively the cost of the service.

Or like another person said, you can make the slope zero (no commitment at all), but that may defeat the point, with the graph offering no guidance on how much you'd like to be doing.

answer by Duncan Lock · 2021-09-14T15:44:01.586Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There are endless "habit tracking" apps which do this: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=habit%20tracker&c=apps

answer by oh54321 · 2021-09-15T03:02:58.590Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This might not directly answer your question, but I've read a blog post that advocated for using a similar system but if you didn't complete your goals you would instead donate the money to charity as a "punishment", which might be a solution if you're altruistic. Although you would still need to track your goals yourself; I don't think there's currently an app for this. 

comment by Pattern · 2021-09-19T18:19:35.269Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What was the blog post?

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