How to Create A 12 Week Weight Loss Countdown Calendar to Burn That Fat
Written By: Suzanne Hiscock
One great way to keep yourself on track when it comes to weight loss is to create a countdown calendar.
Counting down, instead of counting forward, will give you a greater sense of urgency — and the daily reminder will push you into sticking to plan. It may take a bit of time to do, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run. I’ll guide you through it step-by-step to make it as easy as possible.
Once you’re finished creating your countdown calendar, you’re going to have a solid plan to help you reach your weight loss goals!
Which Calendar to Use?
I strongly recommend using an electronic/digital calender. Sure, you can use a paper calendar, but if you make a mistake, you’ve got to start over again. Not only is it easier to fix any mistakes with a digital calendar, but you can set alarms or even re-use the calendar for your next weight loss goal.
Examples of digital calendars: the calendar feature on Outlook 2007, Google Calendar, Lightning for Thunderbird, Yahoo Calendar or Windows Calendar. Use whichever calendar you’re most comfortable with.
Most digital calendars allow you to create separate calendars. I strongly recommend creating a new calendar, called, for example, Weight Loss or 12 Week Countdown Calendar. This will keep it separate from any of your other calendars, and you can easily delete it or import it, if need be.
So, let’s get started… The screenshots down below are from Google Mail. Your own calendar will be a bit different, but the basic idea is the same for virtually all calendars.
Step 1 – Settle on Your Start Date
Figure out what day you’re doing to start your weight loss plan. A lot of people like to start on a Monday, because you can use the Sunday before to get yourself prepared. Another popular start date is, of course, January 1st.
So, let’s use January 1st, as an example — but you can make your start date any day of the year.
Step 2 – Set a Daily Recurring Event on Your Calendar
- In your calendar, create an event that starts on January 1st (or whatever your start date is).
- Give this recurring event a title, such as: 84 Days to Goal. You can vary this, but try to keep the “84 Days” as the first part of your title. (Since we’re creating a 12 week calendar, we’re using 84 days. For an 8 week calendar, use 56 days.)
- Make it a daily recurring event for 84 days. Most calendars will let you type in a number of events/appointments. (If it doesn’t, see my note down below.)
- Set a daily reminder (optional).
- Set anything you else you want to do with this event. Make it exactly as you want it because in the next step, we will be changing the title for each event — and, in some digital calendars this will create single events instead of recurring events.
- Save the event.
(NOTE: If your calendar doesn’t allow you to specify a number of events, use this calculator to figure out your end date. IMPORTANT: When you use that calculator, the date it gives will be your ZERO DAY (more on that in Step 5). So, whatever date that calculator gives you, subtract one day to get your “1 Day to Goal” date.
After you save your daily recurring event, you should see 84 identical events on your calendar. If you’re using January 1st as your start date, your last recurring event would be March 25th.
Step 3 – Change the Title of Each Event
Note: Read through this whole step before actually starting it!
You’re now going to change the title of each event (except for the first one!) to countdown from day 84. So, for the event on January 2nd, change the 84 in your title to “83″. For example, if my original title was “84 Days to Goal,” the event for January 2nd is now titled “83 Days to Goal”.
Your calendar will most likely ask you if you want to change all events or just this one instance. Select just this one instance in the series of events.
It might seem like a pain to do, but roll up your sleeves and take a few minutes to do this step — you’ll be glad you did! It won’t take long and you’ll have the beginnings of a great 12 week countdown calendar.
IMPORTANT TIP: I strongly suggest that you change the title on one event every week, so that you know you haven’t accidentally skipped a day. Imagine getting to the last day only to discover you’ve mislabeled everything!
So, let’s say your start date is on a Monday. That very first Monday is 84 Days to Goal. The following Monday will be Day 77. So, before changing all the titles, change each one event each week.
Use this chart to change one event each week.
84 Days (leave that one alone)
Change the title of each event until your events countdown from “84 Days to Goal” until “1 Day to Goal”.
Step 4 – Set Your “Prepare Yourself” Event
By now, you should have the skeleton of your 12 Week Countdown Calendar. Now, let’s make this even more useful to you!
Create a one-time event for one day before your start date. For example, if your start date is January 1st, create the “Prepare Yourself” event on December 31st. Call it whatever you want, but make sure it’s something motivating! In the description of this event, write down everything you’re going to do to prepare yourself for your weight loss start date. If you’re setting goals, you may want to weighin and measurement yourself in the morning. (More on that in Step 6.)
I strongly recommend tracking your body fat percentage, too.
On the preparation day, you’ll want to know what weight loss plan you’re following and an idea of what exercises you’ll be doing. Clean out your pantry, dust off the exercise machine, pull out your workout clothes — whatever it is you need to do to get yourself started on the right foot.
Step 5 – Add in your DAY ZERO Event
DAY ZERO is your final weigh-in and measurement day. It is the day after your 84 days. For example, if we started on January 1st and ended on March 25th, March 26th is our DAY ZERO. You would have completed a full 12 weeks of your weight loss plan and would then take your final weigh-in and measurements the next day.
Create a one-time event your calendar the day after your end date. You can call it DAY ZERO or whatever you want. But make it big and bold and exciting!
Step 6 – Weekly Weighin & Measurements
To track your progress, you need to weighin and take your measurements. I like doing this once a week. You may want to do it every two weeks. I don’t recommend daily weighins & measurements for regular weight loss because your weight can fluctuate greatly during the week.
Create a weekly recurring appointment called, for example, “Weighin & Measurements.” Set an alarm to remind you to weighin.
Tip: Weigh and measure yourself in the same way, at the same time, and under the same circumstances each week. I do it first thing in the morning before eating, before exercising. (Do not take your measurements after exercising!) If you’ll be weighing yourself on your Preparation Day, you can either add in an extra weighin/measurement reminder on your Preparation Day or move your first weighin event to your Preparation Day. (But don’t change the other weighin events!)
So, that’s how to create a basic 12 Week Weight Loss Countdown Calendar. If you want to really get into, there are a few more things you can add:
Add in your workouts — for example, I usually do weight training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and cardio on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Plan out your exercise schedule a week at a time.
Add in more preparation events – Create a weekly recurring event to prepare yourself for the following week. For example, if your start date is January 1st, your next preparation day would be January 7th (and then the 14th, etc.). On this day, you would chop up vegetables, prepare meals or meal plans, plan your exercise schedule, etc. It’s also a good time to reflect on what’s working for you and what’s not.
Phew! I hope I’ve explained things well enough. It might seem a bit daunting, but I’m telling you, creating a weight loss countdown calender will really get you motivated to lose that weight! Be sure to plan a big reward for DAY ZERO. You can even give yourself weekly and monthly rewards. But plan something motivating for DAY ZERO.
I’ve got lots of articles, tools and calculators on the site. I’ll give you a few links below, but feel free to explore the site.
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