As we approach August, the realization that 2021 is more than halfway over is quite startling. Some people think the new year begins on January 1st. Others follow a July 1st fiscal calendar. And then there are those of us who use September 1st as a reset since it is the beginning of the semester. No matter which date you use to mark new beginnings, it’s always a great time to take stock in the things you need to add and subtract in your life.

This August I have decided to do a little adding and subtracting. As for additions, I am getting a bit more serious about my savings. Since we were trapped inside most of last year, I definitely got quite comfortable shopping online and treating myself to items large and small. I mean, it’s a global pandemic and I needed to surround myself with things that made me happy. However, we are now emerging back into society and I am swiftly remembering that being in the outside world is expensive. Whether spending money on transportation, food, or activities, I have quickly realized that being outdoors is a pricey endeavor.

In addition to contributing to my savings, I have decided to subtract some things as well. One of the things I am subtracting for the month of August is alcoholic beverages. I usually team up with a few friends once or twice a year to detox for a month. It’s a great way to clear the mind (and the liver) and focus a bit more deliberately on my health.

It helps to practice abstinence from alcohol with other friends. Some friends give up sweets or fast foods instead of alcoholic beverages. Whatever it is you feel will assist you in leading a better lifestyle, it’s worth removing it for just a month to see how you feel. I love practicing this with friends because whenever I feel weak and want a quick cheat day, I have friends who help to keep me accountable.

So, what do you want to add and subtract from your life this August? This month marks the end of summer, the beginning of new school years, and the emergence of a new season. It’s an ideal time to make a few changes, no matter how large or small. Whether it’s saving money, losing weight, abstaining from certain activities or foods or drinks, you name it and claim it.

As COVID has shown us, life is a precious gift that can be altered in an instant. It is up to us to be deliberate in the ways we want to move forward in the world. Reach out to friends and loved ones and make a plan for August. Let me know what you plan to add and subtract.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and also the What’s in It for Us podcast.