Mind the bee
Achieving long-term non-mandatory goals I set with myself is hard as hell.
Changing behavior and building new habits isn’t easy either.
in order to achieve either one I need to:
1 – Plan
2 – Hold myself accountable to my plan and execute it
Planning is easy and pleasing (and it feels like I’m already making progress)
Holding myself accountable and diligently executing the proposed actions is the hardest part.
And I’m certain that 99% of the people that’ll ever read this article will also identify with my pain. You’re not alone, bro/sis.
This is not the first time I try to solve this (more on this on a coming post) but I wish it’ll be the last.
I’m not aiming at perfectionism, like achieving 100% of what I plan.
I’m aiming at having a system that I know that works for myself.
What I’m doing different this time:
1 – Public commitment
AKA this very post and public links.
2 – Setting a clear start and end date to experiment with a new system
Even if it sucks it’ll still serve a purpose of holding myself accountable to it for 30 days.
Besides learning what doesn’t work, I’ll be flexing my self discipline (RIP Kumon) and self esteem muscles.
3 – Removing friction and temptation
Data entry is necessary to make sure I’m sticking to the plan. 2/3 of it will be entered automatically via APIs.
The less I need to do it manually, the easier and less tempting it is for me to cheat on myself.
4 – Real consequences (negative reinforcement)
If this then thatIf I derail on my goals, I’ll pay an amount of money for it. If I derail again on that goal the consequences will be tripled. And so on and so forth.
5 – Sweet prize at the end (positive reinforcement)
If I stick to the system for 1 month, I’ll indulge myself with a new comfortable chair or stand desk.
(Sticking to the system means not archiving my goals nor cheating. Being stung by Beeminder and paying the price for derailment is a punishment but does not mean failure)
THE SYSTEM – Beeminder
Beeminder is Quantified Self plus Commitment contracts. If you just want self-tracking you have a lot of choices and if you just want commitment devices you have more and more options as well (StickK is our biggest competitor). Beeminder combines self-tracking and commitment contracts: keep all your datapoints on a Yellow Brick Road to your goal or we take your money. The combination is powerful. We call it flexible self-control.
Sleeping well is as important as eating healthy. And I’m not happy with my current sleeping habits.
I’m going to bed much later than I wish. 100% of the time it’s because I’m on the computer or phone doing all sorts of things.
How: If I tinker with my computer or pick up my phone after 12am, I programmed RescueTime to send and alert to Zapier and Zapier will send this to Beeminder. That will sting me.
Weekends are days off.
Meditation is a great habit I’ve started to build at a point in my life but completely derailed.
How: Headspace, Breathe and HRV Elite are all apps used for meditation and they send data to Apple Health labeled as Mindful Minutes. Beeminder sucks this data daily and updates my meditation goal.
My goal is to meditate a minimum of 35mins per week. If this is too easy for me I might bump it up in a couple weeks.
At the beginning of each day I’ll set my priorities for the day on Notion and attribute points to each priority.
At the end of the day I need to accomplish 80% of the proposed points.
Some of the priorities will be activities that don’t depend solely on me. I need to do my best to influence them towards completion (afterall, I’m directly interested), when setting the points this shall be taken into consideration and I’m aiming at 80% to leave room for some misjudgments and unforeseen events.
How: print screen in the beginning of the day, print screen at the end of the day, manual data entry.
(I wish I could automate the data entry part with BaaS but I’m still waiting to be accepted. Let’s see!)
This is no silver bullet nor does it aim at achieving outrageously audacious goals.
I wish it’ll work well for these 30 days and I’ll iterate on the system for the next 60 days.
LMK if you’ve had similar experiences or if you want to copy my systems/automations. I’m happy to go over the details if you are willing to commit for 30 days too 🙂