I feel that your first priority should be fun and enjoyment in whatever you do. Don’t take it too seriously! Get back into it with a few favorite workouts or activities, while formulating a plan of action. Remember it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach; commit to working out 2-3 times per week and once you have kept that commitment for a few weeks, increase from there. On days you’re not working out, formulate a mindset of how you can increase your daily activity without a strict and structured routine.
Those are all great answers! There seems to be an agreement on finding something that you enjoy, plan your exercise schedule or regiment, and take the first step!
It seems too often in my experience that people tend to ease into their goals rather than completely submerge themselves into the necessary steps. I challenge everyone who has started and stopped workout programs in the past to realize that it has become a habit, a bad one at that. It is imperative that you begin forming good habits that will eventually replace the bad habits you are currently subject to!
Try the following:
1. Join a gym or other facility that will allow you to perform exercise (Commitment #1/ The first step)
2. Treat your exercise schedule like you do your workout schedule. If you work Monday through Friday then you should workout Monday through Friday! Too many people have failed because they start out once a week, twice a week, or three times a week and then allow life to form road blocks and thus eventually not attending at all. There are 168 hours in a week please set aside at least five hours for your health and quality of life! (Commitment #2/ Habit Forming)
3. Realize that exercising only is not enough. You must understand that Exercising (primarily resistance training) must be combined with proper cardiovascular training and healthy nutrition. Every time you go to pick up something to eat ask yourself, “Is this going to help me reach my goals?” (Commitment #3/ Creating a healthy lifestyle)
4. Seek proper guidance. Most people are unaware of how they should begin or what they should be doing to prevent injury, training plateaus, or experience results. You must either learn the principles and techniques yourself or look for professional guidance from a personal trainer, dietician, or qualified physician. (Commitment #4/ Acquiring the tools to succeed)
These are merely observations that I have witnessed in the past and have yet to meet an individual who truly wanted to make a change and followed these guidelines who has failed. My advice is to take the first step, form healthy habits, commit to living a healthy lifestyle, and seek guidance from knowledgeable sources!
Thank you to all the personal trainers/ coaches and fitness enthusiasts who commented on this question. You are the reason why so many people have a chance to truly live a healthier lifestyle!
Some people (yours truly included) do really well with daily to-do lists because there is something very gratifying about putting a check mark against an item. It is important, though, to start in a way that it is easy to accomplish and enjoyable to do until a habit is beginning to form.
I agree with LaRue that it should be SOMETHING daily initially, and I would even stretch the definition of exercise as long as all parts of the body are moving for a little while.
I also would suggest a self-reward for having stuck with an exercise program for a period of time.