IT’S around this bit of January that our New Year resolve for self improvement starts to wane.

Whether it’s exercising, giving up booze or eating healthily, it soon gets pretty boring. Of course it’s commendable, and often advisable, to adopt a healthier lifestyle - but at this time of year can feel a bit forced.

These are some of the ideas for bettering yourself in 2018 that I came across recently - and none of them involve losing the will to live in an aqua-aerobics class, or pretending to enjoy kale.

1) Join a book club. This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages. I’m a keen reader, and I like the idea of discussing a novel once I’ve finished it. And it would encourage me to read books I’d not normally consider.

2) Learn a language. Something else I keep telling myself I’m going to do. My multi-lingual skills haven’t progressed much since French oral at school, and I’d love to have a conversation in another language. There are language apps to download or, even better, why not book a trip to the country you’re learning the language of? A good incentive to brush up on vocab before you get there.

3) Start sitting up straight. As I’m typing this, I’’m perched on the edge of a chair, slouched over my desk in an awkward sideways position. It’s not comfortable, it’s just a bad habit. I need to work on my posture. Not only does good posture make you look like you’ve got your life together, it also takes care of joints, ligaments and muscles, and makes you feel more confident. Maybe I should set reminders on my phone to sit up straight, and soon it will be second nature.

4) Play more board games. What’s this? A resolution that’s actually fun? Board games are great for getting friends and family together for a laugh, and they can test your brain in different ways, from logic to strategy and general knowledge. And with board games appearing in hip pubs and cafes all over the place, it’s easier than ever to start playing.

5) Cut yourself some slack. New Year’s resolutions are hard. They tend to be about aesthetics, which can be tough to handle in these hyper-superficial times. So if you’re going to make resolutions, make one of them another cliche (but a more positive one) - be kinder to yourself. Next time you miss that boot camp session (I don’t really know what boot camp is, but it sounds horrendous) or call at the chippie on the way home, when you know full well there’s a crisp salad in the fridge for tea, don’t beat yourself up too much. Good posture covers a multitude of sins.

* THE other day I was walking through Bradford city centre when I noticed something stuck to the bottom of my shoe. What looked like a piece of grey card flapped around as I lifted my foot, but it was stuck. I quickly realised it was chewing gum, and it wasn’t budging. After flailing around a bit, I managed to pull most of it off, using my other foot. Then I noticed other clumps of gum - loads of them - stuck to the pavement. It turned my stomach.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen flattened chewing gum on the ground, but it’s so commonplace we get used to it. We shouldn’t. It’s a nasty, sickening habit that makes our city centre walkways look like grubby backstreets.

Last week the T&A featured images of Bradford in the 1960s and I was struck by how clean the streets looked. Doorsteps scrubbed, paths swept, foliage trimmed, and not a trace of litter on pavements.

If the city’s litter wardens are so ‘vigilant’ they can fine a mother whose young child is feeding a bit of pasty to a pigeon, can’t they clamp down on people spitting gum all over our pavements?

* JOANNA Lumley will be a breath of fresh air at this year’s Bafta ceremony, and not just because she’s the first woman to single-handedly host the awards for over 20 years.

No doubt some winners' speeches will refer to the industry's sexual harassment scandal, and female nominees may again wear black, as they did at this week’s Golden Globes, in support of the #TimesUp protest. I'd have more respect for this rather po-faced approach if just for once they opted not to wear designer bling worth so much it could fund a struggling women's refuge.

Refreshingly, Lumley declared: "You're free to...wear what you want." And, keeping it in perspective, she added: "I want to keep in our minds that the whole thing is the celebration of film." Quite.

* NEW year, new series of The Voice. Yawn. Isn’t it time this tired old carthorse was put to rest?

The Voice UK has been going since 2012. Can anyone name a winner? Me neither. This show is way more about the judges than contestants’ voices. It’s the ever-shifting judging panel, which this year includes Olly Murs, that gets the coverage. Why not call it The Judge?

As for the return of Dancing on Ice... There’s a reason it ended four years ago: it’s dull. And the presenters' lame innuendos don't sit well on a Sunday teatime family show.