I just read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life by Donald Miller and was so inspired by his story that I had to share some main takeaways with you. I highly recommend reading this book for yourself though, because of course, you’ll discover different takeaways that apply to you and where you are in your life right now.

In the book Don writes about how he began living his life with purpose while he was working with movie producers, writing a script for a movie based on his biography he had recently published. The producers suggested that Don rewrite his character story to make it more interesting to viewers. This process allowed Don to reflect on his real life, and he realized he was living comfortably—he wasn’t living life to its fullest potential.

Just like a story, our lives have a beginning, middle, and an end. We’re born, we live, and we die. We don’t like to think about the dying part—but it’s part of the life cycle. As we age, we learn, we grow, we experience, and we transform. Don discovered he didn’t have any real passion or purpose in life—he was merely putting random words on a page, with random scenes. He wasn’t creating a story, with a beginning, middle, and an end—so he started writing a better life story.


When Don started writing a new a story for himself, he realized “the desire to live a better story was not enough.” Don discovered he needed motivation. “People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain…Humans are designed to seek comfort and order, and so if they have comfort and order, they tend to plant themselves, even if their comfort isn’t all that comfortable. And even if they secretly want for something better.”

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to start running, but keep putting it off. To get motivated: sign up for a half marathon, give yourself deadlines, and tell someone what your plans are so you’re held accountable.


When you know what you want, it’s easier to get there. ”Music obeys form and structure. There are scales and harmonics; there are principles a musician adheres to, in order to make music. If he doesn’t, it’s just noise. It’s the same with story. If you don’t obey certain principles, the story doesn’t make sense. Without story, experiences are just random…Elements that make a story meaningful are the same that make a life meaningful.”

Now that you’ve signed up for that half marathon, you have a clear, specific goal in site, and you have a deadline. Now break down this large goal into small doable bits. Let’s say you have six months to train. That’s 24 weeks. What do you have to do each week? What do you have to do each day? Write it down.


Life happens. You’re going to run into conflicts along the journey toward your goal. Do the hard work to find a way to keep going. When you push yourself, you discover that you’re not going to break. You’ll discover a stronger you. You’ll discover that you can keep pushing yourself harder to achieve even greater things—whatever those things are for you.

“Joy is what you feel when the conflict is over. But it’s conflict that changes a person,” Robert McKee.

**I used running as an example in this post, however, these tips can be used for whatever goal you set for yourself—find a motivator, get focused, and overcome conflict.

How could you make your life story better? Do you have a goal you’ve been putting off? How can you get started? And how can you stay motivated? Take action and write it in the comments below.