At Nelson Croom we help professional bodies and their professionals complete their CPD each year. So we know a thing or two when it comes to setting your CPD goals and seeing them through.

It can't be denied that the best time to set career goals is when we are planning our New Year's Resolutions. It's the perfect opportunity to ask ourselves questions like, where do I want to be this time next year? What do I want to improve on this coming year? How am I going to get myself to where I need to be?

But don't underestimate the power of reflection and evaluation half way through the year. July puts us in the perfect position to see how the year has gone so far and understand with more clarity the steps we need to be taking next in order to achieve what we set out to by December.

Mid-year reflection can be a difficult task but it's well worth doing, especially if it makes incorporating CPD into your long-term and short-term objectives easier. CPD is an important part of achieving career goals. The clue is in the name, professional development.

So now is the time to use your CPD to push yourself further. Look at what you really need to know or learn to put you in the best position for success, using CPD as a tool to get there. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to start off the reflection process:

1. What has changed unexpectedly that I now need to focus on?
At the start of any year no one can predict what might happen. There may be things that have occurred in your career that means you have to put on hold the long term achievements and focus on new, unexpected occurrences.

2. Things aren't going to plan, how can I get them back on track?
It can be frustrating when things aren't running as smoothly as you'd hoped. If you're looking for some short term solutions, accountingcpd.net have a blog on getting your planback on track.

3. I need to take on my goal in smaller steps, what should I focus on first?
It's not news that when taking on something big it's easier to make progress in smaller steps. Understanding what's involved in these smaller steps, whether they are your first steps, next steps, or last steps and what you need to achieve at each stage will help you recognise where to focus your CPD.

When you use reflection to plan out what you need to achieve, your CPD schedule should fall into place with it. Use CPD to build on core skills you'll need to reach your professional goals.