Before one enters the gym or puts their feet to the pavement, goals must be defined. There must be a way to measure one's progress or else you risk falling into a non-workout rut and losing all of your hard earned progress.
Once goals have been defined, the next step is blocking out specific time each week/day to focus on your exercise program. The biggest failure of an exercise program is not dedicating the appropriate amount of time for the program. Generally, for any workout day, setting aside a good hour is sufficient for most people. Those with more serious fitness goals will need a more intense workout plan, which in turn will require that they dedicate much more time to working out. It is also good to have make-up days built into your workout plan in case an emergency comes up and you must break your routine. This way the workout is not lost, just pushed back a day.
When defining an exercise program, it is best to work opposite muscle groups on the same day meaning--at least to start out. For instance, if you are working out the chest, work the back the same day. If you do biceps one day, do triceps that same day. Legs and abs can be worked out every other day, or even every day depending on the intensity and variation in exercises chosen.
If you are not already a member of a gym, selecting one can be a daunting process. Convenience is one of the most important aspects to selecting a gym as having a gym near your home or daily travel route will help you stay consistent with your exercise program.
Above all else, you need to feel comfortable at the gym. You should never feel intimidated or uneasy about going. Learn more about the gym.