Altruistic Motivation for Behaviour Change

Altruistic motivation can play a crucial role in achieving your weight loss goals.

Your desire to help others can be used to motivate you to change your behaviour.

In this guide, we explore the concept of altruistic motivation, its benefits, how to effectively implement it, and practical tips for incorporating altruistic motivation into your daily routine.

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What is altruistic motivation?

Altruistic motivation is the drive to engage in behaviours that benefit others, often without direct personal gain. It is rooted in empathy and your desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others. When applied to health and weight loss, altruistic motivation can provide a meaningful and fulfilling reason to pursue and maintain healthy behaviours.

The importance of altruistic motivation

Altruistic motivation is crucial for several reasons:

  • Increase your commitment. Knowing that your actions can benefit others can enhance your commitment to healthy behaviours.
  • Improve your wellbeing. Helping others has been shown to improve mental wellbeing, reduce stress, and increase your happiness.
  • Sustain your motivation. Altruistic goals provide a sense of purpose that can sustain your motivation even when personal gains are not immediately apparent.
  • Make a positive social impact. Altruistic behaviours contribute to the wellbeing of your community and can inspire others to adopt healthier habits.

How to implement altruistic motivation

Choose a cause

Start by selecting a cause or charity that you care deeply about. This could be related to health, the environment, animal welfare, or any other area that resonates with you.

Example: Choose a charity that supports underprivileged children, environmental conservation, or mental health awareness.

Set altruistic goals

Define specific, measurable goals that link your healthy behaviours to supporting your chosen cause. These goals should be realistic and aligned with your overall weight loss goals.

Example: Donate a certain amount of money for every mile you walk or healthy meal you eat.

Create a points system

Develop a points system to track your progress and contributions. Assign points to specific healthy behaviours and convert these points into donations or volunteer hours.

Example: Earn 10 points for every workout session, 5 points for each healthy meal, and 2 points for every glass of water you drink. Each point could represent a small donation amount.

Organise fundraising events

Organise or participate in fundraising events that align with your health goals. This could include charity runs, walks, or fitness challenges.

Example: Participate in a charity 5K run or organise a fitness challenge with friends and family to raise funds for your chosen cause.

Track and celebrate contributions

Keep a record of your contributions and celebrate the positive impact you are making. Sharing your progress with others can also inspire them to join you in supporting the cause.

Example: Maintain a journal or use an app to track your donations and volunteer hours, and celebrate milestones with small rewards or recognition.

Examples of altruistic motivation in weight loss

Here are some examples of how you can use altruistic motivation to achieve your health and weight loss goals:


  • Points system. Earn points for each workout session and convert these points into donations for your chosen charity.
  • Fundraising events. Participate in charity runs or walks and encourage friends and family to sponsor your efforts.

Healthy eating

  • Points system. Assign points for eating balanced meals and convert these points into donations for your chosen charity.
  • Volunteer work. Volunteer at a local food bank or community garden to improve access to healthy food for those in need.


  • Points system. Earn points for each glass of water you drink and donate a small amount to a charity that provides clean water to communities in need.
  • Awareness campaigns. Participate in awareness campaigns about the importance of clean water and hydration.

Stress management

  • Points system. Assign points for practising stress-relief activities like meditation or yoga and donate to a mental health charity.
  • Support groups. Start or join a support group focused on stress management and mental health awareness.

Altruistic motivation challenges and how to overcome them

While altruistic motivation can be highly effective, it may also present challenges. Here are some common obstacles and how to overcome them:

  • Challenge: Lack of motivation
    • Solution: Choose a cause that genuinely resonates with you and aligns with your personal values. Personalise your altruistic goals to make them meaningful and motivating.
  • Challenge: Inconsistent effort
    • Solution: Set specific, achievable goals and create a consistent schedule for your activities. Track your progress regularly to stay accountable.
  • Challenge: Overwhelming complexity
    • Solution: Start with simple tasks and gradually increase the complexity. Break down large goals into smaller, more manageable steps.
  • Challenge: Loss of interest
    • Solution: Introduce variety and new challenges to keep the experience fresh and exciting. Regularly update your goals and rewards to maintain your interest.

Final thoughts

Altruistic motivation is a powerful tool for achieving and maintaining your weight loss goals.

By linking your healthy behaviours to a greater cause, altruistic motivation increases your commitment, enhances your wellbeing, and sustains your motivation.

Start by choosing a cause that resonates with you, setting specific altruistic goals, and tracking your progress. Incorporate these practices into your daily routine and seek support from friends and family.

With the right approach, you can successfully use altruistic motivation to make a positive impact on your health and the world around you. Begin your altruistic journey today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.

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