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Uploaded on Dec 30, 2011
Howdy. I'm Bethany, co-founder of Beeminder, here to show you how Beeminder works!
Beeminder tracks your progress toward goals -- anything you can put a number on.
Weight loss, pushups, number of cigarettes, how long it takes you to bike to work, ...
After you sign up, click the big red New Goal button. Then choose your type of goal. Let's pick Weight Loss, since it's a common Beeminder goal. Beeminder needs to know your starting weight. You also need to give your goal a title, and pick your URL. I'm going to enter 'weight', so my graph will show up at beeminder.com/bethany/weight.
We recommend leaving your actual goal date & goal value blank at first. That means initially all you have to do is keep your weight from going up.
Bam. Now you see your graph with a flat Yellow Brick Road.
By default the Beeminder bot will bug you daily to report your weight -- you just reply to the email as instructed. You can customize when and how often Beeminder bugs you by clicking "SETTINGS" on your graph page. You can also get text message reminders and text your weight to Beeminder, or enter your weight directly under your graph, following the example given there.
If you want to turn off reminders altogether those settings are also here on the graph's SETTINGS tab.
At some point you'll want to actually commit to losing weight. You do that with what we call the Road Dial underneath your graph. Let's say you want to lose half a pound per week. Enter -.5 and click MAKEITSO.
If you forget the negative sign the road will start sloping up instead of down -- no harm done. In fact it's by design that Beeminder allows that. Y'know, in case you're going on an all-you-can-eat-buffet-hopping vacation or something.
Let's assume you've got the road sloping down, enforcing a steady rate of weight loss. Your job now is to report a weight every day (or as often as possible) and do whatever is necessary to keep all your data points on or below that yellow brick road. The road will automatically widen to account for the day-to-day random fluctuations in your graph so don't let those oscillations faze you. As long as your black dot is on the yellow brick road, you're on track to meeting your goal.
But what if you go off track and drift off your yellow brick road?
That's when it gets interesting. Beeminder is a harsh mistress. If you find yourself above the road your data point will show up red and you have till midnight to weigh in again with a lower weight. If you end the day still off the road, that's it, your graph freezes. If you want Beeminder to always be free then don't let that happen!
But let's say it did. Now a reset button appears and you can try again but this time you have to pledge to stay on track. And by pledge we mean actual money. You put in your credit card and agree to get charged $10 if you go off track again. Now the whole process repeats, but this time you have some skin in the game. Note that, despite having put in a credit card at this point, if you toe the line from this point on, you'll never pay a penny.
Now you might be worried about what you're getting yourself into. After all, weight loss is easy at first but what's a realistic loss rate over the long haul?
This is where Beeminder really shines over something like StickK.com: As you drive along your yellow brick road you can actually adjust the steepness *at any time*. That seems like it defeats the point of a commitment contract but there's a clever catch: Any changes you make -- including ending the goal altogether -- have a one week delay before they take effect. So all the usual ways you'd weasel out ("there were donuts at work!") or delude yourself ("i'll serious again tomorrow!") are out the window.
If you're down with this crazy concept of commitment devices to incentivize yourself, you'll find this insanely powerful. The quotes on our testimonials page with people gushing about how life-changing it is are for real.
Good luck! And happy beeminding!
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