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Start out by focusing on listening. Just get used to the sounds. You should read whatever you are listening to, but do so using a phonetic writing system, such as Pinyin, in order to get a better sense of what you are hearing. You will have to learn the characters eventually but you can leave the characters out at first, and instead, try to get a little momentum in the language.
It’s too difficult to start learning characters when you don’t have any sense of the words, what they sound like, or how they work together. A new language can sound like undifferentiated noise at the beginning. The first step is to become accustomed to the individual sounds of the language, to learn to differentiate words from each other, and even to have a few words and phrases reverberating in your brain.