Maintain healthy habits with Beeminder

Beeminder allows you to track your progress toward your goals : you start with a quantifiable pledge and if you are not on the right path, they charge you actual money.

“Why would I ever put money at stake and give it to some random website ?” you may ask. With this website I ran about 200 km, read 1500 pages and finished about 10 books in the last three months. So how does it work ?

How many km I ran since mid November. If I go off track I lose 10 dollars

You can enter data manually or it can be automatically synchronized from other apps. For instance, the data collected for the number of km I run is automatically collected via an app called RunKeeper, that uses my GPS position to know how much I ran. What I really do enjoy about this goal is that I cannot escape : the only way to enter data is to make my phone move, and therefore go out and run.

The two widgets I use for my goals : run 20 km per week and read 200 pages a week

Needless to say they have great widgets for Android for each individual goal : the colors will adapt to the urgency of your goal, and it will tell you how much of your goal you must do to stay on track.

What are you trying to achieve ? For example one of my goals is to read more, hence finishing all the books-I-bought-but-never-really-read-that-have-been-on-my-shelf-for-ages.

Your goal must be quantifiable. For instance I pledged to read at least 200 pages every week. Then Beeminder gives you a nice little graph with a yellow brick road that you must not cross and a graph which gives you insight about how you are doing with your personal goal.

Number of pages read since mid December

As you may have noticed, the orange line is not that straight anymore. That means I have failed many times to enter data or to read enough pages (with this goal I need to enter date manually). I started off only pledging 5$. But every time you derail, you pay money, and you start with a new pledge, that increases exponentially. Your first pledge is 5$, then 10$, 30$, 90$, etc. This means your current pledge with always be the double of what you have already paid, and therefore be motivating. So right now, if I do not read my daily 30 pages I will lose 90$, and I really want to avoid it.

Another feature is that all changes take one week to be effective. All the changes take place after this blue line called the “Akrasia horizon” on your graph, one week after the day you are in.

So with Beeminder you cannot go back or find excuses. You must do what you ought to be doing or pay money. It is like making a bet with a friend that really wants you to fail and that you want to prove wrong. What are you waiting for ?

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