New Year's Traditions from Around the World You Can and Should Steal

      Laure Redmond, self-esteem coach and author of Feel Good Naked, joined us to share a new way to start 2012. If you're resolved to trying something new this year, swap out the dreaded diet for one of these new traditions:

      1. 19 Days is Doable ~ In Persia, New Year's Day marks the end of a 19-day fasting period devoted to personal recuperation. Think of it as a chance to give up dessert, caffeine, alcohol, meat, gambling, impulse shopping but for ONLY 19 days, not an entire year.

      2. Part Ways With the Past ~ The Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah is a sacred time to let go of emotional baggage by "casting off" the errors of the previous year. This involves visiting a flowing body of water where you symbolically throw in the mistakes and sins of the previous year.

      3. Light a Candle - or Several ~ In India, the New Year kicks off in earnest with the lighting of candles during the entire month of January. This ritual represents daily hustle being replaced with mindful relaxation and serves as a reminder that ~ joy can be more powerful than anxiety.

      4. Watch Something Bloom ~ In Ethiopia, New Year's Day is celebrated with children handing out flowers in the street as a reminder of rebirth and renewal. Treating yourself or a friend to fresh flowers can serve as a reminder that spring will come again.

      5. Visit Your Grandmother ~ The Thai New Year's festival is most famous for the younger generations visiting older relatives and signaling respect by sprinkling their hands with a few drops of cooling water. If you want to make sure your elderly relatives and friends know you're thinking of them, offer to pick up groceries, send treats or simply give them a call. Want a conversation starter? Ask them to describe the wildest New Year's Eve party they ever went toand prepare to see them in a whole new light.

      6. Make Cake ~ In France, the end of the holiday season called the "pulling of the kings" includes making a traditional kings cake which comes in different varieties and includes one or two fava beans or a figurine or small knickknack buried inside the cake. The person who eats the special slice has good luck for an entire year.