Tackle Life Together

A blog by Sally Waters

sally [at] homescrum .co.uk

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Beeminder is a website where you can make promises to yourself that come with real stakes. You track your success or progress with a certain goal, and if you fall off the wagon, you will get ‘stung’. This punishment can involve losing a fixed amount of your real, actual money, which can also be linked up to be given to an ‘anti-charity’: a cause you can’t stand, like a political party you don’t support.

So, this uses negative reinforcement rather than positive to motivate people, and it can work. However, I have since stopped using it because it caused me quite a lot of stress, and I would urge users to be very careful to not be too harsh on themselves: set only one goal, make it a very easy one, and don’t tie yourself to the worst types of punishment available. If you have doubts about how you would feel about using it, steer clear.

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