I worked with a trainer for about 5 weeks to get started so I would know what to do. That helped me a lot. Now I set up a routine for myself with a regular schedule and then stick to that. I have one main activity for each day and an alternate activity in case I don't want to do the other one. Sounds crazy but works for me! I update my schedule every month so if I see something new I want to try I can. My body is so much more toned and now I know the secrets to getting in shape. Loosing weight is harder since it requires way more effort than I am putting in now. But I do love it!
I understand what you mean about lifting weights. Funny thing is, most people are imitating things they have seen other people do. Try starting out on machines, which usually have pictures and directions on them telling you how to work them. Your gym may even offer a free orientation on some of their machines...good luck!