We are all motivated by different desires. No matter what they may be, Mars plays a large role in how, when, and why we pursue those desires, whether it's fast and furious or slow and steady, whether we are pursuing happiness, security, or success.
Mars stationed retrograde at 23 degrees and 5 minute of Virgo on January 23rd.
A good way to begin to understand the meaning of any planet going retrograde is to run the gamut of re words. For instance, when Mercury retrogrades we're asked to reconsider. When Venus retrogrades, we are often given the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with someone. During this Mars retrograde period, we're asked to regroup and while it's in Virgo, reorganize.
Virgo is a sign of discrimination and elimination. It shaves away that which is not needed to get to the essential and pares down that which has become bloated and overdone. As Mars retrogrades through this sign until April 14th, sift through your life with an eye on what's useful, necessary, and functional and discard what unnecessarily complicates. Keep it simple.
Virgo may like efficiency, but keeping it simple doesn't always work, especially if Virgo loses sight on what's essential. It is a sign that likes simplicity, but also control. Not only is Mars retrograde, which tends to channel energy inward (see redirect) but it's also in Virgo, which has a hard time letting the energy flow outward without trying to control the flow so much that it risks clenching too hard, stopping the energy flow altogether (see restrict). Over the next couple of months, watch for warning signs of impending implosion due to control issues, excessive anxiety/worry, or stuck energy building up the tension level, like water pressure behind a dam.
Because Mars represents our drive, will, and to a certain extent our power, by extension it also represents our energy, especially physical energy, so keep a watch over your health during this period as well. When we're emotionally clogged, it's easier to get physically backed up as well (Virgo rules the digestive system–guard against anxiety and tummy upset). While it also depends on the disposition of Mars and other energies in your own chart, steady exercise and mindful eating is favored over pushing yourself beyond your limits or an excess of anything during this retrograde period. Plan and direct your exercise and nutrition, but don't deprive: deprivation carries the energy of restriction and self-punishment, a shadow of Virgo. Take your vitamins and wash your hands and all that, too, of course.
Like organizing your closet, organizing your life in a literal and metaphorical way can help you use your resources wisely and be more efficient over this retrograde period. Part of a wise strategy may also be being honest with yourself about what is and isn't in your control, and letting go of the things you aren't really in charge of anyway.
Just like you can't stop communicating for three weeks during Mercury retrograde periods, likewise you can't stop moving forward on anything at all for the nearly three months that Mars is retrograde. However, slow and steady, with probably some periodic readjusting, may be the best pace for now.