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« Bethany explains it all | Main | Monitoring all your work - follow up »
Thursday
Feb022012

Beeminder Goals Report

The more I use Beeminder the more I like it - though of course it’s early days yet.

So how am I getting on with the two goals I set myself originally now that I have five days worth of data?

First the walking goal is going very nicely. I am slightly on the wrong side of the “yellow brick road”, but this will solve itself the next time I do a long walk. Having the goal has certainly encouraged me to keep walking and has also encouraged me to do a good length every day. I took a day off yesterday. Days off are necessary but sometimes it’s difficult to get going again the next day. Because I needed a good result for Beeminder, I didn’t have any trouble at all.

The actual data points are the unjoined dots, while all the other lines and lanes are various types of average. As long as I stay in the broad yellow path I’m all right.

The weight goal is even better. I have lost 3.5 lbs already! Actually quick loss of this type is not uncommon when one starts a weight loss program. The real battle comes further down the line when the initial rate of gain slows down.

Because this type of goal gives a week’s level start to get acclimatized I am well ahead of the game.

It remains to be seen whether the slice of delicious chocolate cake I had in Dorking to reward myself after my walk this afternoon will effect my weight tomorrow morning.

Reader Comments (11)

I see you left the incriminating evidence on this time Mark! Well done on your progress and thanks for the update as I'm sure it helps us all (using Beeminder) to learn about it. An *occasional* slice of delicious chocolate cake surely cannot do any harm!
February 2, 2012 at 19:34 | Registered Commenterleon
<< incriminating evidence >>

Oops! That was a mistake. Oh, well, too late now.
February 2, 2012 at 20:06 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Trying to understand the beeminder: On track but in the wrong lane of the yellow brick road and in danger of losing tomorrow. I fail to see from the graph why you are in danger.

Also, if you take a day off, 0 is *well* outside the yellow brick road, and does that mean you "lose", or what?

A few years ago I set a goal of becoming fit to join my sister on a week-long hike through Washington, where the pace was 25 miles per day. I generally followed a plan of steady increase in distance. When I arrived I quickly learned that altitude drastically affects performance, but I survived the week.
February 2, 2012 at 22:24 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan:

As I understand it the yellow brick road consists of three parts: 1) the dotted red line which represents the direct path to the goal. 2) the "right lane" which is on the good side of the red line 3) the "wrong lane" which is on the bad side of the red line.

If you are in the right lane, you have a guarantee that you cannot fail tomorrow. If your score results in your going off the yellow brick road, then it will widen so your score is within it. If you are in the wrong lane, then you don't have that guarantee - if you go off the yellow you've lost pure and simple.

If you miss a day, don't put any result in. The program then assumes that you are at the same level as the day before. This is perfectly legit.

Fortunately the area in France in which I intend to use my 24 miles in a day is very similar to England and at the same altitude. So I shouldn't have your problem.
February 2, 2012 at 23:40 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
day success: 4 tasks.

Tomorrow: One task will be allocated to doing an S. Covey Weekly Planning Session (Roles, Goals, Sharpen the Saw, etc). Haven't done one of these since 2003. Miss 'em.
February 3, 2012 at 4:28 | Unregistered CommenterAvrum
I need to go look at that site and dredge up my (-old-) ancient SPC (Statistical Process Control) notes. If the yellow road is 3 sigma, then 7 in a row on one side means something is probably wrong. 5 in an increasing or decreasing series is also a problem. If the system is on track, those trends won't happen. Well, they might happen -- just like it's possible but rare for a coin to be heads 10 times in a row.
February 3, 2012 at 13:31 | Registered CommenterCricket
The yellow road appears generally to be a straight line from start to goal. Maybe the width is 3 sigma something, but there's nothing inhibiting a lot of right-side results.
February 3, 2012 at 14:36 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Cricket:

I'm not at all following you here. The centre of the yellow brick road is the dotted red line, which is a straight line from the start to the finish of the goal (allowing for a flat week at the start of some goals). The width of the yellow brick road only changes if you go off the road on the wrong side the day after being on the right side. I think it then narrows again once you get back on the right side.

Apart from the above, the yellow brick road is not affected at all by results on the right side of the centre line, regardless of whether they are on or off the actual yellow area. In other words the yellow brick road is NOT a trend line. The width is only intended to accommodate the randomness of results. The green/purple swathe, the continuous pink line and the very thin purple line ARE various types of trend. Refer to the Beeminder site for what they mean at http://www.beeminder.com/about .
February 3, 2012 at 19:20 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, you're probably right. I got caught-up in how I'd design the system, not how BeeMinder did it.

BeeMinder's math says that if you stay on the good side of the line, you'll always have a day of grace. It also widens the path if needed if your numbers are irregular.

SPC is more to see if a process is consistent. That can include a consistent change -- you look at the difference between today's target and the real number. The width of the "road" is based on how widely the numbers fluctuate. The goal is to keep the road centred on the specs, and to keep the road narrow. It also gives patterns to watch for -- number of points in a row in certain regions -- which indicate the process has changed, even though it's still in spec. (Enough math for one day?)
February 5, 2012 at 20:00 | Registered CommenterCricket
Cricket:

As I understand it, SPC is basically designed for monitoring industrial processes. Wikipedia gives as an example how variations over time in the number of pieces of cereal in a cornflake box can be used to monitor the amount of wear in the machinery. No doubt it can also be used for such things as financial controls or the analysis of sales figures.

These are all situations in which the motivation of the individual user is not part of the question.

Beeminder on the other hand is designed to be a motivational tool for the individual. Something quite different!
February 6, 2012 at 14:39 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hmm... it seems you strayed off the yellow brick road, Mark :). Time to pledge money! :P
March 2, 2012 at 12:29 | Unregistered CommenterTijl

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