This blog post is part two of our step-by-step guide on how to use Beeminder to motivate yourself to become an early riser. In case you missed the first one, go here. Once you have read it, come back here and proceed with the steps.
Step #5: Name your goal.
Usually I write something like “wakeupearly”. So now you have a unique URL for your goal. It’s Beeminder.com/username/goal name. If you want you can also add a description of your goal like “Waking up early at least 25 days per month” or “My goal is to wake up at 6:30 am for 5 days per week.” Whatever you wanna add here.
Then you are asked to choose your initial pledge. Initial pledge is the amount of money Beeminder will charge you the first time you fail or as Beeminder calls it “derail” from your goal. For your initial pledge you can choose zero dollars. That means the first time you derail you won’t be charged anything but the initial pledge will increase from zero to $5. So the second time you derail you will be charged $5. And if you want it to stay at $5 then put the maximum here to $5. This is called the pledge cap. It is the maximum amount of money Beeminder can charge you when you derail. So if you want it to increase even more then you can put in like $270 if you want. So the next time you derail you will be charged $10, then $30,and so on until it reaches $270. And then each derail from there is always $270.
Or you can choose $5 as your initial pledge. You choose your pledge cap – the maximum amount of money Beeminder can charge you. So let’s say set $90 as your maximum. So the first time you derail, Beeminder will charge you $5. The second time you derail, they will charge you $10. And then the 3rd time $30. And the fourth time $90. And then the fifth time and every other time you will be charged $90 again because you set that as your pledge cap. Basically the only difference between a zero dollar pledge and a $5 pledge is those $5.
So how much should you pledge? I would definitely recommend starting with $5. You signed up to Beeminder to be financially accountable, there is no point in choosing the zero dollar option. And since this is your first goal in Beeminder I would uncheck this option here. This way you will be charged only $5 each time you derail. I believe it would be better for you to first get the feeling of how Beeminder works and how you respond to financial accountability. And then once you get that feeling you can increase your pledge cap.
Once you have chosen your initial pledge, click “finish”. Beeminder will save your goal, and from this moment on Beeminder is going to hold you accountable to your goal. That is until you decide to stop it or pause it. But keep in mind, any changes you make to your goal, it will take 7 days until they take effect.
I know from experience that Beeminder can seem really confusing when you’re just starting out. That’s why I have decided to answer some of the questions that might be bothering you.
- Is Beeminder’s free plan enough or do I need to get premium?
It depends on how many goals/habits you plan to track. If you plan to track up to 3 goals/habits like waking up early and two more, then the free plan is enough. If you plan to track more than 3 goals/habits, then I recommend getting one of their premium plans. The cheapest one starts at $8 per month.
- How much money should you pledge?
One of the co-founders of Beeminder once said that according to their statistic most people pledge $90 as their cap. It seems that for the majority of people losing $90 seems scary enough and will motivate them to do anything to avoid that. The key is to find as Beeminder calls it a motivating point which is the amount of money that is large enough to motivate you to stay on track for a long time. You need to figure out an amount that motivates you but not so scary that you’d rather quit Beeminder than have that amount at risk. Try to imagine how would you feel if you lost $10 tomorrow because you didn’t want to get up early and do your morning routine. If you are still not sure, try placing $90 as this seems to be the most popular option and experiment with that.
- How can I make sure I don’t derail? How can I make sure I really get up early every day?
Beeminder includes a „no mercy“ option and „weaselproof“ option. When you derail Beeminder gives you 7 days of safety buffer to get back on track with your goal. If you don`t get back on track within those 7 days, you derail once again and Beeminder will charge you again. The no mercy option decreased that safety buffer from 7 days to 2 days. So if you check this option you will have 2 days to get back on track with your goal of waking up early before Beeminder charges you again. Checking the no mercy option is entirely up to you however I do recommend it. It’s a good way to hold yourself even more accountable. The weaselproof option is a nuclear option. If you check this, Beeminder is on you like a hawk. So when you derail, you can`t send them an email saying “I was busy” or “I was sick”. I mean you can but they will say “you checked the weaselproof option so tough luck”. They will only do this for this goal, not your other goals if you have them. Also, when you check the weaselproof option, you cannot uncheck it.