(Strip Number 7263, Original Publication Date, 1 January 1989)
Panel 1: We begin today's strip with the last appearance of the Lizzie version of Elizabeth as she tells Farley how lucky he is. In two weeks' time, she starts yapping about how everyone hates her because her nose is stoopid and ugly and not because she lets an enraged scowl be her umbrella and thus becomes "Liz."
Panel 2: She tells a confused dog that he gets her very first hug of the New Year.
Panel 3: The strip proper begins with John reminding the others that now that it's a new year and all, it's time to make resolutions.
Panel 4: We begin the annual tradition of the Pattersons ringing in the New Year by making promises that they cannot and will not keep by Elly resolving to not criticize, nag less and bake more often. This meets with everyone's approval because they're smart enough not to make invidious comments about airborne swine.
Panel 5: John craps out his own pile of bullshit by resolving not to lose his temper over piddly-crap and to actually fix things without being nagged.
Panel 6: When Lizzie resolves to brush Farley, keep her room clean and not fight with Mike, John says "Good" instead of an honest "Yeah, RIGHT!!!"
Panel 7: Mike horrifies everyone by promising to play road hockey, hang out with friends and watch television. This is because that's what he does now and it's not a goal that he'll abandon in frustration after the first sign of difficulty.
Panel 8: Elly registers her displeasure by telling him to wait a minute to think about what he's done; this is because she and the others made real promises (that they cannot and will not keep ever) while his are worthless (because he actually can keep them and won't blame some bogeyman if he cannot).
Panel 9: When Mike tells her "I know...but at least mine will be kept", Elly and the others are all gobsmacked. This is probably because they're forgotten that she took less than a minute to fail of her resolve to not nag and criticize people.
Summary: This, I should think, is the "bad attitude" John is at pains to correct. He's not supposed to know the people around him well enough to know when their mouths write cheques their arses cannot cash but is instead supposed to believe that Elly is loving, fair, firm and kind and that Liz is a go-getter and that John is a straight-shooter.