It's a common misconception that Lent is about self-improvement. Somehow a half-remembered custom of giving things up has been mixed in with our society's obsession with self-help and self-improvement, so that we've blurred the true meaning of the fast into a rather individualistic concept, more like a New Year Resolution to detox or de-clutter.
Lent is not about giving up luxuries, not about losing weight or gaining other benefits, not about food per se, not about de-cluttering or Feng Shui or about ay other kind of feel-good, de-toxifying exercise. In the end, it's about denying yourself some of the essentials of everday life in order to focus on the reality that we depend upon God for life itself; about re-aligning ourselves with God and his purposes in our world; about reminding ourselves that all we have is a gift from God in any case.
And neither is Lent about achievement. We cannot earn God's love, nor save ourselves. If our Lenten Fast is understood well, it will relieve us of the need to try harder, achieve more, feel worthy. It will ground us in the firm and unshakeable knowledge that we are human - we are but dust, and to dust we shall return - but that to be human is enough, under the loving gaze of God.