Like many religious symbols, Lent can have multiple meanings. I truly look forward to Lent every year, and this year I am glad it arrives fairly early.
Many people choose to use it as a period of self punishment or forced sorrow for our human frailties and weaknesses. Others see the time as a preparation for the celebration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
I see it as a way to strengthen my life of faith, as that is what Jesus did at the beginning of His ministry, not at the end of it. We are told that He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and that was done after He was made public by His baptism in the Jordan, but before He revealed Himself in the synagogue and really started ministering to the people.
Apparently He needed to get away from people and distractions and think about things for awhile, so that is how He chose to do that. So, I see no reason why I shouldn't do something like cut back on television viewing or time on Facebook and start and end each day in prayer. It is temporary self denial, but well worth the investment.
If only more "self-help" gurus would realize this, Lent could be even ore effective for more people.