A more outwardly focused motivation occurred to me last week - solidarity. Take fasting, for example. Instead of focusing only on self-denial as the reason for fasting, consider also that millions around the world are going without food through no choice of their own. Regard your relatively insignificant suffering as a joining in with the genuine suffering of the world's hungry. When you are stricken with hunger pangs, pray for those who endure that pain daily:
God of the hungry, so many are hungry.Yet remember the warning of James 2:15-16. Don't just pray. Find some way to feed the hungry yourself.
Rescue your hungry children,
fill their stomachs with food
and their hearts with gladness.
Send your Spirit to the hungry and to the unhungry,
until all feast with Jesus in the new age.
(Adapted from this pdf.)
Solidarity gives an outward focus to Lenten discipline. Lent is, after all, preparation for Holy Week and Easter, the time in which Jesus put aside his own comfort for the sake of others.