When I was at school it was always a big discussion every February: What are you giving up for Lent? The most common things were chocolate, sweets, ice cream etc. (interestingly almost always food, except for the person every year who would announce their intention of giving up school - needless to say this one failed!). It all seemed like a big game, and it was a challenge to get to the end of the 40 days without slipping up - telling anyone who would listen that you couldn't eat that, you had given it up for Lent.
However as time has gone on, my views towards the season of Lent have undergone a shift. I now see it more as about changing something in my life to benefit myself and others, and as a time to recognise that while I am one of God's children and loved by Him, so is everyone around me.
It's no longer a 'challenge' to get to the end of Lent 'successfully'; there is no 'good' or 'bad', but it is a chance to learn more about myself and my life and how I relate to the world around me. For example, if I had given up chocolate for Lent and I went round to a friend's for dinner who didn't know but who, knowing I liked chocolate, had baked a chocolate dessert, it would seem a greater lesson to accept the dessert and the love that had gone into it gratefully than to turn it down, announcing loudly that I had given up chocolate for Lent.
It's not about getting to Easter having not eaten chocolate for 40 days, it's about getting to Easter with a greater awareness of your life, of those around you, and of your relationship with God.
When you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, so that others cannot know that you are fasting, only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.