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:
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.