It's reminders with a sting! Or, goal-tracking with teeth. Mind anything you can graph — weight, pushups, to-do tasks completed — by replying with data when Beeminder prompts you. Or connect with a service (like Fitbit or RescueTime) to report automatically. We plot your progress on a Yellow Brick Road to your goal. Keep all your datapoints on the road and Beeminder will always be free. Go off the road and you (literally) pay the price.
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, Beeminder, and Pact are the big three). 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.
Here's the way to find out if Beeminder could be useful for you: Is there anything you know you should do, you really do want to do, you know for certain you can do, yet that historically you don't do? (Also, are you a nerdy, lifehacking data freak?) If yes, you should try it!
The most popular Beeminder goal is weight loss. We're proud of how well it works and have put a lot of thought into the data smoothing and the mechanics of the yellow brick road. The problem with beeminding something that has random fluctuation is that it's discouraging and/or nerve-racking to see the numbers bounce around day-to-day, which is why weight-loss programs typically only ask for weekly weigh-ins. But if you have a random up day on a weekly weigh-in day, that's really discouraging. Better to get more data and let Beeminder show you the true trend. And you get daily instead of weekly feedback. That's key. And that's where the different parts of the graph come in, such as the turquoise swath which you can think of as a very thick line charting your progress or an aura around your actual data. It gives you a sense of your true trend.
This person's graph illustrates this nicely:
They bounce around a lot but it's clear that their true trend is twice as steep as their road.
The most important feature of a Beeminder graph is the yellow brick road. It shows you where you're going. Keep your dots on the road and Beeminder will remain free. The true ideal road is actually the dotted orange centerline but the road is calculated to be wide enough so that as long as your dots are on the road then your deviation from the ideal centerline is probably random. It's quite generous about this so being off the road means you're definitely in arrears.