Celebrating the smaller wins: Merit Badges

Two things happened in the last week that resulted in a gift for you:

  1. A wise friend wrote an article this week on “How to Make the Most Uncomfortable Comfortable.” One of her tips is to celebrate small wins. I am 110% onboard with that recommendation!
  2. A virtual happy hour with friends included a discussion about how now that we have a little more time, some of us are turning to “new” hobbies that are actually more like pioneer life-skills. Think candle-making and bread-baking.

What started as a joke turned into this list of 26 merit badges – aligned with my HAPPY (health, assets, people, purpose, yourself) framework. Here they are – in list format!

What badges have you earned? What would you add to this list?



  • Acceptance: Give yourself credit for that moment when you thought “oh, man, sh!t is getting real” and handled it like a boss.
  • Groomed & Gorgeous: Boldly dye your own hair, give someone else a hair cut or groom a pet. Extra credit if using appropriate tools.
  • Nap Ninja: Sneak in a nap when you are either: working from home, supposed to be doing chores or already got 8 hours of sleep. q<strong>
  • Outdoor Explorer: Go for a walk, hike or just to sit outside for 7 consecutive days. Bonus: you’re basically a wilderness expert!
  • Recipe Roulette: Whip up a meal with ingredients and no plan (it has to be edible, not enjoyable).
  • Yogi: Search for Zen with a virtual yoga class or YouTube video. No one knows if you start your session with savasana.


  • Brave the Grocery: Mask up, make a list and stay six feet apart as you hunt and gather supplies for your family. Always look for toilet paper.
  • DIY Face Mask: Try one of the 8,348 tutorials online on how to make your own mask and wear it in public.
  • Home – Improved!: Cross something off your endless, never-gets-done list.
  • IT Wizard: Trouble-shoot your own WIFI or tech issues – without opening a ticket or rebooting your system.
  • Plant a Plant: Grow something green, from lettuce in a cup to a full-blown Victory Garden. You’re pretty much a pioneer!


  • Curbside or Delivery: Support a local small business by placing an order for curbside pickup or delivery.
  • Encourage Each Other: Get sappy and tell those you love that you miss them and tell your coworkers you appreciate them.
  • Knucklehead Locator: If you spot someone not following the rules right now, cut them some slack and walk away. Judge silently.
  • Mending Matters: Skip a trip to the store or online order by “making it work” with what you’ve got on hand. “It” could almost anything.
  • Minor Manager: Oversee ZOOM meetings, try to homeschool and provide emotional support for someone(s) under 18 years old.
  • Try Tik Tok: No idea what this is or how to do it – if you do, nice work!
  • Virtual Happy Hour: Keep that social life alive with virtual meet ups, silly backgrounds and frozen screens.


  • Find a New Hobby: Birdwatching, candle-making and sourdough starting are all making a comeback. Bonnets optional.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Master: Over 1000 pieces and you’re in. Remember to pass the puzzle along to others if you can.
  • Quiet Snacker: Stealthily enjoy a special snack without having to share it with roommates or coworkers.
  • Stay in Pajamas: Try to make it a full 24 hours in your pajamas. Pretend you’re in college again.
  • Work from Home: Set up your own workspace, yell “I’m on a call!” at someone and try to avoid cameos by your family members.
  • Zoom Bomb: Keep your cool when a family member accidentally pops up in the background of  a work video call. Costumes encouraged.


  • Unicorn Time: Everyone in your house must find 4 hours a week when they will not be interrupted or disturbed. The intention is to do something that feeds the soul, not catch up on laundry or yard work. Inspired by Eve Rodsky’s book, Fair Play.

Recommended buy-your-own merit badges:


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