The first thing that came to mind when I read this question was, “READ!” Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Then I re-read the question and thought about it again. I thought of what advice I needed when I was first starting out lifting. I would go through splits that went something like 5 days on 2 months of, 1 month on, 3 months off. I see this problem in so many friends and family members when it comes to exercise that I felt it needed to be addressed.
When I went to college last year, I made hordes of new friends. Inevitably, when I mentioned going to the gym one of them would remark, "Tell me when you go to the gym next time, I have to get back into it." Every time I called someone to go to the gym with me I would hear a new excuse. They didn’t get it. The reason they wanted to "get back into it" was for the wrong reason. It is the same reason I started to lift: other people.
Now, almost 2 years after I began, I understand things more clearly. The gym is one place in my life where everything is black and white. There is no room for doing anything half assed. This isn’t school, where you can squeak by without doing your homework. This isn’t your job, where you can show up 15 minutes late and no one will notice. You are in a room full of iron, and the only one who will notice your weakness is you. There is no lying or deceit in this room. The weight does not lie to you. Three hundred pounds is three hundred pounds. It is up to you to decide to lift it. There is nothing wrong with failing in this room. Failure will only result in future strength; the only thing you stand to harm is your ego. It is a room where strength and weakness are tangible things, and you would be hard pressed to find another place like it anywhere in the world.
When you walk into the gym, ask yourself why you are there. If you’re wearing a wife beater and staring at yourself in the mirror, odds are it's the wrong reason. If you want to be strong, be strong for yourself. If you want to be big, be big for yourself. If you allow other people determine your needs you will lose sight of your goals. Lifting will teach you many lessons. The only way to learn, however, is to go into the gym wanting to learn. If you goal is to show off, then you are wasting everyone's time, and you will learn nothing. If your goal is to improve yourself, then each time you leave, you will be a stronger person, in every way.
Keep these things in mind next time you go lift. I have no doubt that you will gain a new respect for the iron, the sport, and yourself.