The word "karma" is Sanskrit. Its verb root is kri, which means action. Action creates action (or reaction, if you prefer), so the word "action" implies the law of cause and effect.
The "good" and the "bad" aspects of karma have to do with two things: (1) whether you like the effect or not, and (2) the degree to which an action is harmonious with divine law or not (notice that this is not an all black-or-white situation).
So if you're going to act, act according to divine law and with consideration of what might come your way as a result. If you want to get out of this bind entirely, seek to become enlightened or saved, depending on your spiritual or religious orientation.