What started out as a good idea may have lost it's Lenten punch. In an effort to get people to deepen their prayer lives and reevaluate the ways they have not invested in their faith spiritually many priests and Deacons have encouraged us to add something during Lent. I believe that the idea of self denial has been diminished.
Most people I have chatted with lately have proudly told me that they are not giving anything up for Lent, they are adding things instead. So the focus has become what 'we' can do rather than what we are willing to do without.
Lent is supposed to be a time of increased prayer, alms giving and fasting. Christ went into the desert to pray and fast. Think about that for a minute. God (who in the person of the Father created the universe).... fasted. He denied Himself. He felt hunger. He was even tempted by the Devil to break this fast.
When we give things up and deny ourselves we are imitating Christ. Being uncomfortable reminds us that everything we have or enjoy comes from God. We are dependent on Him for all at all times. When we offer up our inconveniences and sufferings we are uniting ourselves to Jesus on the cross. The celebration of the resurrection at Easter will be even sweeter for it. God bless.