There's an old management adage that we use a lot in the fitness world:
"You can't manage what you don't measure."
What's it mean? Simply that if you don't start with a baseline you won't know if you're improving, staying the same or losing ground
When you get fit the right way, changes in the way you feel and look appear immediately but gradually.
Any when anything happens gradually, it's easy to forget just how far you've come—unless you measured and recorded your starting point.
This is why I start all my personal training clients with a brief (and painless) fitness appraisal. What I measure is different for each client and is always based on the goals we've set.
If you don't have access to a fitness professional (and even if you do), here's an interesting, quick and fun online alternative.
Norwegian rock-star-cardio-researcher Ulrik Wisløff has created a simple assessment, based on a huge and growing data sample, that lets you easily estimate your fitness level by answering a few basic questions.
Use his 3-minute questionnaire-style assessment to benchmark where you are today. Then get moving with a regular exercise program and revisit the questionnaire in three to four weeks to check your progress.