Lent is a time of reflection upon ones own sin. The way I see it giving up something for lent stems from the idea that it helps one recognize what Jesus did for us through his sacrifice. Too often it seems that giving something up has either turned into a chore. People seem to do it because they think they have to and if not they are doing something wrong. These people will also complain about the fact that what they are giving up they really want. I think the whole point of this tradition is missed. Of course there is no real merit in giving up anything anyways it is meant as a way to help people prepare for Easter not as some contest for God.
Two examples I have seen in the past few days from either side.
One friend is giving something up but won't tell anyone. He seems to not feel it is important for anyone else to know what he is giving up. It is between him and God and he is using this to reflect not for glory.
Another person says they are giving up soda and fast food. Then goes on to mention that they will have nothing to eat now and what not in a very complaining matter.
First guy seems to be doing it for the right reason. It does not seem to be beneficial for the second person to give anything up. Will I be giving anything up probably not it is not really effective for me but I will be preparing nevertheless.