As of last week, our esteemed competitor, Pact, is officially shut down. We’re genuinely sad about that but were very touched that they endorsed us in their announcement to their users. Which is why many of you are reading this now, so…
Welcome Pact users! The title of this post isn’t exactly true but we want to quickly scare away the people who were just using Pact for the free money. We don’t like to say Beeminder is all stick and no carrot (ok, we say that all the time) but Beeminder’s carrots are all non-monetary: Fancy graphs of your progress, an elaborately escalating reminder system, delicious data, and our charming community of over-achievers. And of course getting in shape or getting that book written or whatnot. 
So now that all the free money seekers have fled, let’s dive in with what the Pact diaspora needs to know!
How Beeminder Works
Beeminder is different from Pact in the way we structure penalties and goals. In Beeminder, everything centers on the graph. You need to make sure that each day your datapoint is in the safe zone, and not red. If you end the day with a red datapoint, that’s when you’ll pay money.
The most important things to understand are:
- Beeminder never lets you play catch-up. If you set up a goal to go the gym 3 times a week, starting on Monday, you can’t put it off and go to the gym three times on Sunday.
- Beeminder does let you get ahead and bank your visits for the future. So if you know you’re leaving for a tour of wine country on Thursday, it’s fine to do your workouts Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
- If you fall below the yellow brick road, then Beeminder will charge you your pledged amount, and increase the pledge (until you reach your pledge cap). But we don’t make you catch up from there.
If you’re wanting to move your goals over from Pact into Beeminder, but feeling overwhelmed, we set up a page of Beeminder Fitness Recipes to help you get started. We integrate with Fitbit, Misfit, Jawbone Up, and Garmin wearables, as well as Runkeeper, so you have lots of options for automatic tracking of your fitness goals!
And actually, you can do a lot more than just fitness with Beeminder. Some of our most popular goals are productivity related. People have written books and defended PhD dissertations that they swear wouldn’t ever have seen completion without Beeminder’s help. So if you’ve found success with your exercise goals in Pact, check out these bonus ideas on productivity goals you could set.
Bonus productivity recipes
Or dive into our forum to see what our users are up to.
We totally understand the sentiment we’ve heard from plenty of Pact users. Namely, what’s the point of this if you can only lose money and never win it? It’s like making a bet against yourself at infinitely bad odds! Which, yes, for a perfectly rational person makes no sense. And the answer is that Beeminder is not for perfectly rational people. Beeminder is for sufferers of akrasia. That’s the fancy philosophical term, going back to Aristotle, for acting against one’s own interest. We love nerding out about the philosophy and behavioral economics of all this here on the blog and in the user forum and we hope you’ll join us!
 Advanced carrotiness: If you get really into this and opt for one of our fancier premium plans (which is by no means required) then you can direct half your money to charity, or reject Beeminder’s stick altogether and cap what you’re risking at $0. We should also say explicitly that, those exceptions aside, Beeminder simply keeps the money that you cough up when you go off track on your goals. We’ve written extensively about why that isn’t as perverse as it sounds.