What is Beeminder?

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 one of the dozens of services (like Fitbit or RescueTime) that we integrate with to report automatically. We plot your progress with a Bright Red Line to your goal. Keep all your datapoints on the good side of your red line or (literally) pay the price.

How is Beeminder different?

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: cross a Bright Red Line to your goal and we take your money. The combination is powerful. We call it flexible self-control.

Who is Beeminder for?

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!

How Beeminder works

Set a (graphable) goal.
Your contract commits you to pay if you go off track (but the first time is typically free).
Answer with your number when Beeminder asks — or connect a device that reports to us automatically.
If you derail, the bright red line resets at your current value and you get a week's respite before being back on the hook at a higher pledge amount.

Goals that people have been beeminding

Being able to do 50 pushups by September 22
Biking 50 miles per week leading up to the NYC Century
Doing 45 minutes of biking resistance training per week
Biking 10 miles in 24 minutes
Biking 1956 miles this year (until odometer hits 5000)
(Gradually) quit smoking by June.
Decrease money spent on alcohol and bars by $100 each month.
Lower cholesterol by 50 points over the next year.
Floss 3 times per week.
Lose 10 pounds over the next 10 weeks.
Reduce time spent on Facebook to 30 minutes per day.
Increase Pivotal Tracker velocity to 15 over the next 3 months.
Cross 3 things off my to-do list every day before lunch.
Write for 30 minutes every night before bed.
Increase number of pomodoros by one each week for eight weeks.
Save $5,000 for a vacation to Laos in a year.
Limit money spent on alcohol and bars to $50 each month.
Save $10,000 for a trip to Europe in 2 years.
Limit money spent on Starbucks to $10/week.
Reduce ATM withdrawals to $200/month.
Learn to cook one new meal every month in 2012.
Learn French by committing to 20 points/day on Duolingo.
Read two articles from the Economist every week.
Ask an expert to answer a question every day.
Learn a new programming language for 30 minutes each day.

Beeminding your weight

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 other features. 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 purple 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 red line.

Bright Red Line

The most important feature of a Beeminder graph is the bright red line. It shows you where you're going. Keep your dots on the good side of that bright line and Beeminder won't charge you.