Beeminder – Holding me accountable

Posted on February 20, 2012 by


I just got back from vacation and I was welcomed by this screen:

I had failed to meet my goal to write one blog post a week.  I had gone off the road.  In order to reactivate my graph and data I will need to pledge $10.  Next time I miss my goal Beeminder will receive that $10 and I will have to pledge a larger amount of money to reactivate my graph.  This continues to escalate until, in theory, the cost of failing to meet my goal is so high that I will be motivated to keep my commitment.

Why would I pay Beeminder for my failure?  Because they are providing a service.  They are helping strengthen my willpower and resolve to achieve a challenging personal goal.

I have been using Beeminder on two other goals and so far I have not gone off the road with either one:

Write 750 words a day on average

Practice guitar 35 minutes a day on average

Why did I fail on this goal?  Why didn’t I write the blog post?  Well, I have some excuses, but none of them are very good.

1) The weekly blog posts have been a real struggle and I have been writing and editing each one at the very last minute.

2) I didn’t have my computer with me on vacation.  But, I did have an Ipad, access to the internet and with a little effort access to a computer.

3) I didn’t have any money on the line so there weren’t any real repercussions for failing.

4) Did I mention that it has been really hard to write these posts every week?

Before I reset the goal and put money on the line I asked myself if this was a goal I wanted to keep and if I had structured it properly.  Was my failure to meet the goal a signal that I had chosen the wrong goal or set the bar too high? No and no.

This is a goal that I am passionate about.  It is aligned with my short and long term goals.  Every time I finish a blog post and hit publish I am proud of what I just accomplished.  I am developing my writing skills by forcing myself to publish weekly.  I am developing an archive of material that can only be built over time.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  Definitely.

In the end I decided to keep the goal in its current form and pledge $10 to reactivate my Beeminder graph.  Only time will tell if that will be enough motivation to keep me on track.