I can see at least three ways friends can support forming good habits right away. Probably, there are more.
1. Role Model.
Human beings are mimicking machines. We mimic without thinking, unconsciously. So, if your friend has some good habits you are in a much better position to adopt similar habits.
This is the one real hack when it comes to developing habits: spend more time with people who already have those habits. You will absorb their behaviors in a background mode, no conscious effort required. Putting some purposefulness into following your friends’ habits will accelerate the process, but it’s not necessary.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn
This “function” of friends with regard to developing habits is highly overlooked. We understand that others can teach us something, give us tips, observe us and correct; but we don’t even think we are becoming like them simply by being around them.
Most people are not naturally good at celebrating their own wins. BJ Fogg, the expert in behavior design from Stanford University, considers a celebration of your habits the most important aspect of swift and solid progress:
“I would train you in celebrations before teaching you about the Fogg Behavior Model, or the power of simplicity, or Anchors, or recipes for Tiny Habits.”
In other words, he would train you in celebrations before anything else. That’s how crucial it is.
So, the next best thing a friend can do for you to form good habits is reminding you about the celebration.
“Have you done your exercises today? Man, that’s awesome! I’m so proud of you!”
A good friend should be looking for your right behaviors like a hawk and catch you “doing good.”
3. Accountability Partner.
I personally trained over 100 people in developing habits. About 80 of them barely needed my advice. They just needed someone to watch them and keep them on track.
There are different statistics about this phenomenon, but one thing is sure- you have MUCH higher chances for success if you report your progress to an accountability partner (the range was easy from 20% to 80% more chance for success).
Just the awareness that you need to tell somebody if you did your new habit or not makes you many times more likely to follow with the new behavior.
And this is what forming habits is about – consistent repetition.
Be a good friend. Instill habits that you would like your friends to follow. Encourage them like crazy. Keep your friends accountable for their progress.