I've followed tons of different fitness programs. Over the following few weeks I'm going to try to summarize some of the programs I've followed and what I've learned about myself following these programs. There are a few things however, that are universal to all programs. I'll go into more detail on these points later on.
1. Your diet is almost as important as your program.
2. Your program is almost as important as your diet.
3. Supplements won't fix your problems.
4. You need to know what results you want before you start a program or diet.
5. You have to follow the program!
6. You don't need a lot of equipment to get in great shape.
7. The only excuses are the ones between your ears.
8. Write down everything!
This might be the most important one. I have fitness journals going back over 10 years. I can look back at these journals and see what programming I was following, how much I weighed, what my maxes were, etc. This is extremely important for several reasons. You need to know if you are making progress. You need to be able to look for trends to see what works and what doesn't work for you. It keeps you motivated. If you aren't tracking something, anything, you will fail. I'll write a much more detailed post later on about the importance of tracking workouts. For now get a notebook of your choice and a pen and start writing things down.
9. Write down what you eat.
I wish I had figured this out and done it a long time ago. Diet can have a huge impact on your results. I didn't pick this habit up because it can be a real pain in the ass. There are lots of free sites on the internet now that make it very simple to keep track of your diet. All you need is a computer and a small scale to weigh your food. After a while you won't have to way everything because you'll have a good idea of how much you are eating just by looking at it. This will even work in restaurants when dragging a scale along in impractical. You can use measuring cups to determine how much you are eating but they don't work as well in my opinion. Not everything fits well in a measuring cup. Frozen fruit comes to mind.
10. Don't quit.