Per, CH's recommendation, here's a stand-alone post for this discussion. It's religion, so please, tread lightly.
Today being Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent, I find myself with some genuine questions for non-believers. For myself as a Catholic, Lent is a time to grow. By giving things up, I develop more will power. By taking time to reflect on my failings, I find paths to address them. By recognizing and working on my weaknesses, I grow into a stronger person. By going without, I ensure others don't have to. Etc.
For me, this is both recommended by my religion and a point of personal growth. Having a time set aside each year for this type of thing has a lot of appeal to me. It makes sure I'm actually doing the "hard work" of becoming a better person, not just subscribing to a vague notion of self-improvement (not that I mean to imply that for others; I just know myself, and that I tend to not do what I intend to do towards self-improvement a lot of the the time).
So I'm curious what non-religious people do in this regard? Are there specific sacrifices you make? At certain times? Do you set try to focus on this type of thing, or do you go about it differently?
I look forward to learning more, if you're willing to share. Thanks!