Many years ago while at EFS, someone asked me, "What's the best way to get lean?" (or something similar). To this day I stand by my answer, "Never get fat in the first place." While I did follow that up with some very basic advice there is still a lot of truth to it. I see it every day I coach young kids. The kids who grow up with poor diet/exercise habits are in a constant stage of trying to dig themselves out of a hole that is damn near impossible to get out of. And it can consume them for the rest of their lives. We've seen the consequences of being unhealthy this past year - don't be a statistic and a victim.
Similarly, the best way to get into shape is never get out of shape. So let's address the question, "What is "in-shape"? Of course, that will mean different things to different people. A sprinter will be different than a "normal guy" will be different than a football player will be different than a ultra-marathoner. But for the sake of sanity, let's define "in-shape" as the ability to do WHATEVER you want/asked/have to do without much effort/strain AND remain healthy. For the football player, this means being able to get through practice, kick ass in your skill work and finish practice better than you were yesterday. For the "average person" this means working, training, hobbies and whatever else and being able to function normally and kick ass.
Obviously, even the "average person" (most of us here) will have different definitions. But at no time will being "in-shape" be a detriment. So define what is in-shape for yourself; personally I have some conditioning goals that are almost all consistency based. Many years ago, I'd have a particular conditioning test. Keep in mind your definition can be multi-faceted; including strength and/or mobility. Or even agility, power, calisthenics.
If you have trouble coming up with your own ideas, let's be honest, you're hoping to use ignorance as your excuse. Depending on your current fitness level, schedule, and willingness, you could start by walking a mile a day for the first month. If you have the proper base you could go after the 5/3/1 Beach Body (Performance Based Challenge) or the Boring But Big 3 Month Challenge; something in between would be the Prowler Challenge. Define what being in shape means to you and make it happen. The world needs better, stronger people.
If you have a clear definition of what in shape means to you or a challenge you'd like to add to this post, email your standards, action plan/test with the subject "In Shape" to email@example.com.