· Beeminder goal habit

How to Become a Flossing Superhero

I went to the dentist earlier this month. After the cleaning, she went fishing to see if I was flossing regularly. “How many times per week? Four? Five?”

“None. Never.” I interrupted her and it caught her off guard. She laughed and said I was honest.

The truth of the matter is I fully admit I should’ve been flossing more. So right there in the dentist’s chair, I committed to something I’d actual been considering for a while: a simple plan to floss every day.

She was dubious. She’s heard it before. I mean, here’s a guy who doesn’t floss on a regular basis and he’s saying he’ll floss every day? Isn’t that like trying to scale the CN Tower with suction cups?

It is. But I have a superhero secret weapon: Beeminder.

What is Beeminder?

Beeminder is a website that helps you achieve your goals. It doesn’t allow you to put off until tomorrow what you said you would do today. Or if you do delay, it costs you. Money.

In case you don’t know, I’m cheap. Money is definitely a motivating factor–which is probably why this works for me! I’d rather floss my teeth than spend $5 (my current penalty) to not floss. As long as I stay on the yellow brick road, I won’t get stung.

I get fancy graphs (even in her dubiousness, the dentist seemed to be impressed with the fact there would be a graph at the end) and reminders. The reminders prompt me to do something and pester me about it if I’m close to failing.

And it’s working! It’s been just over three weeks and I’ve flossed every day. Flossing is becoming a habit. Here’s my current progress:

Beeminder’s slogan could be “What matters more: not doing something or not being charged to not do it,” but that’s slightly long and confusing.

Maybe something simpler like “Giving you superhero powers” is better.